Playing with Natural Dyeing

Staff member Anne had a wonderful play with natural dyes last year and here are some photos. She has done some more since but this is a taste of what she has done.

“Dyeing silk and cotton with the natural dyes and extracts from Hands can easily be done at home with some basic equipment.

The fabrics need to be washed and mordanted first with alum, which enables the dye to attach to the fabric. A large dyepot and a few measuring spoons, containers, gloves, etc are all that is needed. The dyes generally need to be extracted first by gentle heating then the fabric can be added to the dyepot.

Safflower was the most interesting as the petals give yellow and pink colours. I put the petals into a muslin bag and extracted the yellow colour first. After rinsing the yellow dye out, the petals turn a bright pink.

To extract the pink colour the pH needs to be changed to alkali then back to acid, the silk is added and a bright pink colour bonds to the silk. It was amazing!

Dyeing my own fabric with natural dyes although time-consuming, is very satisfying

– Anne Groufsky@Hands

Anne would love to chat with anyone that would like to share their experiences with natural dyeing. As well as playing with many of the dyes available on the Hands website, she has played with indigo, walnuts, lichen and loves the potential with onion skins :)

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