Once you discover the simplicity of eco-dyeing, you will never look at your backyard or vegie patch the same way again. You will be surprised what can create natural colour!
Eco-dyes can be sourced from food, plants or flowers. They can include random sources such as avocado, cabbage and nut shells. Even your kitchen can produce natural dyes.
Indigenous cultures around the world have always used natural materials for dyeing. Indigo blue was once the rarest natural colour. Cochineal, a red colour, is sourced from insects that live off the paddle cactus!
Today, the $7 billion textile market is undergoing a major change as technology enables colouring without water and natural dyes become more viable. Brands such as Sustainability and Tentree are rocking the natural hues.
Whether your dyes come from your backyard or your fruit bowl, the process of eco-dyeing is a wonderful adventure. You can choose just about any natural ingredient and experiment with the length of time, mordants (also known as colour fixers) and style of dyeing.
Try eco-printing, a technique to imprint natural plant designs on fabric - it is a definite statement!
Best eco-dye starter projects:
- old t-shirts
- journal covers
- Furoshiki wrapping cloths
- wall hangings
Top colour sources:
- blue – blueberries, black beans, and purple cabbage
- red – hibiscus, beetroot and red berries
- yellow – saffron, tumeric and tea leaves
- green – nettle and spinach leaves, tea tree flowers and larkspur.
Find more natural colour sources
Most successful eco-dye materials:
- untreated paper
Different eco-dye mordants – try colour fixers such as ironing, vinegar and salt. Learn more about mordants.
Repurposing and eco-dyeing eBooks:
- Batik and tie dye techniques by Nancy Belfer
- How to print fabric: kitchen-table techniques for over 20 hand-printed home accessories by Zeena Shah
- Mixed-media master class with Sherrill Kahn: 50+ surface-design techniques for fabric and paper by Sherrill Kahn
- Wear, Repair, Repurpose: A Maker's Guide to Mending and Upcycling Clothes by Lily Fulop.
To get started download the ePlatform by Wheelers and Libby apps. Select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your member number and passwords.
- Frankie Magazine
- Gardening Australia
- Good Organic Gardening
- PIP Permaculture.
To get started using free eMagazines download the Libby app, select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your member number and password.
Check out more info on the web:
- Introduction to eco dyeing | Frankie
- Best fabrics for natural dyeing | DIY Natural
- Harvesting colour | ABC Gardening Australia
- An introduction to natural dyeing | Seamwork.
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