The ba­sic steps to nat­u­ral dye­ing

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Home Grown Hand-Made -

The best fab­ric to dye is a light, nat­u­ral one like cot­ton, linen, silk and wool (prefer­ably white).

Roughly chop up your cho­sen plant ma­te­rial. Place in a pot on the stove, then add wa­ter (about dou­ble the amount of plant ma­te­rial). Bring to the boil, sim­mer for 60 min­utes, then al­low the dye bath to cool to room tem­per­a­ture (this takes about 45 min­utes). Strain into an­other pot, or use the same one.

The fab­ric needs to be pre-treated with a mor­dant so that the colour will set in the fab­ric, oth­er­wise it will wash out.

Add the fab­ric for dye­ing to the pot, bring to the boil again, then sim­mer for 60 min­utes. Re­move from the heat and leave the fab­ric in the dye bath un­til it at­tains the de­sired colour.

You will need a large pot to hold the dye and fab­ric. The fab­ric soaks in the dye for a time to get the right hue; the longer the soak­ing, the stronger the colour. The fi­nal colour will be lighter once the fab­ric is dry.

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