Natural Dyes

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Since I am looking at wild flowers and preserving the environment in my project I wanted to experiment with eco friendly dyes. I scoured the internet for recipes for producing dyes from berries , plants and nuts and came across a really simple one on the Natural History Museum website ( Natural History Natural Dye Process ). Click the link if you want to explore the same experiments.
The materials I am using in this post is a 100% Linen cloth and a Crushed Velvet.
Firstly I tried beetroot , following the recipe online to the ratios suggested. I left in for over an hour and the colour was very muddy/orange not the bright purple I was expecting. You have to be careful no to over boil or this tarnishing can happen so I think I had my dye to hot.
Next I experiment with Red Wine and Tea this too came out rather muddy/orange however the colour was richer and had a very small tinge of deep red. This was also left for an hour.
I then went on to use blackberries ( as suggested in the natural history recipe ) and yes I finally got a brilliant result. The colour is a vivd crimson pink and took to the crushed velvet straight away. The linen took a little longer but the end product was a beautiful muted crimson with a hint of violet . I was so pleased with the result I went on to dye one of my large fabric pieces for a large scale sample.
Note that if you are using blackberries make sure you strain the mixture or you will get a speckled effect where the seeds stick to the fabric.
Next I used pomegranate seeds mashed up . This produced a weaker tone of colour but the shade was similar to that of the blackberries. I only used one pomegranate because they are rather expensive so maybe if I used more I would of got a stronger result.
Lastly, I used red cabbage chopped up which I was also extremely pleased with creating a gluey/violet shade . I went on to produce another large scale piece to be worked into at a later date.

I will be posting the results properly when they are all washed and dry so I can photograph them properly.

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