Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Mini Tutorial - natural dyes in the kitchen!


It seems like I haven't messed about with things like this since I finished my textile course a couple of years ago but as I was about to throw away a box of herbal teabags (date 2008), I thought they might dye some fabric I'm currently working with.


I'm starting work on a piece of textile art which will be in an exhibition at Sledmere in April and I need some delicate colours of cotton. 
The kitchen is a great starting point for some simple, fun dyeing. As my fabric dyeing is only going on a piece of artwork it does not need to be colour fixed.

I started out with some old fruit teabags and food colourings by diluting them slightly in hot water.


Next I popped in my bits of cotton fabric, you can either leave the teabags in for a stronger effect or remove them. I pre-wetted the fabric which I used for the food colouring and just splatted it about and splashed more water on to get a mottled effect.


I happened to have a fresh beetroot hanging around so I salvaged the leaves and the top and again diluted that with boiling water and dunked some cotton in.
Onion skins are also good, both red and normal ones for a yellow colour.


I left the bits of fabric submerged for a few hours then wrung them out and they were left to air dry and here are the pieces ready to use after a quick iron. 
The normal tea gives a lovely sepia, old parchment effect, you can also achieve that with coffee, the light pink is peach tea, the darker pinks are blackberry & beetroot. Green & orange were the food colourings.
Just have a rummage through your kitchen and you'll find all sorts to try out.


I decided to use some of this fabric for making delicate little flowers on a mini embroidery (the end result being a Mothers Day card).


Small circles were cut and folded into quarters and then stitched onto some fabric. I then embroidered stalks and leaves.


Here is the finished card that I've made for my mum. This card was an experiment before I start my artwork for the exhibition.


Just remember that the dye methods I've used here have not been fixed properly but as my items will hopefully not be coming into contact with water I should be ok.

5 comments:

Rustic Vintage Country said...

Wow, that's amazing! I was fascinated before I got down to the card then I was gobsmacked, it's really really nice. Suzy x

greenrabbitdesigns said...

Brilliant Sally, doesn't the beetroot make a lovely colour! :)
The card is lovely, your mum will be pleased!
V x

BeckyWise. said...

What a fantastic idea, I would of never thought of it! I'd known about using beetroot to dye but not anything else, you are so creative! I definetly have to try this! This is really good as if you don't have a certain coloured fabric which normally happens to me you could hand dye some fabric and then make lovely things out of them! I love your card it's so cute and lovely!
- Becky x

grace said...

oh what fun! your card is gorgeous, I feel inspired...

patty said...

thanks folks for all the positive comments, it's sometimes the simple things which turn out well and I'm sure my mum will love the card.
Go get your old, out of date food colourings diluted and make some pretty fabric!