This week Kim Hall, a teacher here at the Etsy Labs and an Etsy seller (nottene), came by to show us her technique for dying natural fabric with organic ingredients. Kim has worked with many different dying and printing methods, and we’re honored to have her as an instructor! If you’ve always wanted to dye your own fabrics or yarn, this is a great video to get you started. If you try out this technique, make sure you take some pics and post them in our Show and Tell Flickr Pool.
Here is the basic recipe for this method:
1 tablespoon Turmeric OR the crispy skins from 5 yellow onions OR 1/2 red cabbage
4 cups water
2 tablespoons salt
Boil 1 of the dyestuffs with the water and salt for 15-30 minutes (15 for tumeric; 30 for cabbage; and until the water is reddish for the onion skins, it’s variable depending on your onions).
Meanwhile, presoak a few small pieces (6"x6") of natural fabric or a small skein of natural fiber yarn in warm water to remove starch/detergent/soiling.
Strain the vegetable matter out of the dye and return the dye to the pot. Add the presoaked material and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes. Your material is finished when it is one or two shades darker than you think it should be. Cool, rinse thoroughly, and dry the fabric or yarn!
Natural dyeing tips:
- Chop up your dyestuffs smaller for a stronger dye.
- When you prepare the yarn for presoaking and then dying, unwind it from the skein and loop it around your thumb and elbow to form loops and tie off in at least 3 or 4 places to keep it from tangling in the dye bath. Make sure the ties are not too tight or you will have tie-dyed yarn!
- After you’ve boiled and strained the dye, try adding some cold water to reduce the temperature before you add your presoaked fabric or yarn. This lower temperature can help the pickup of the dye into the fabric.
- Cotton and silk can be boiled thoroughly when dying, but wool should be gently simmered to prevent felting.
- When your dye time is finished, you can leave the material to cool in the pot for stronger color. Remember the material will dry one or two shades lighter than what you see at the end of the dye time.
There are so many organic ingredients that you can use to dye, have fun and experiment! Perhaps you have another recipe to share? Go ahead and post it in the comments below!