In about three weeks, I'll be participating in the Mini Maker Faire in Westport, CT with all the Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Venturing units in town. Each unit is going to have some sort of booth activity with a Scouting theme. I'm going to host a booth with the Textile Merit Badge theme. But since the overall theme of the Mini Maker Faire is "Things that Roll" I'm going to add a twist by having the kids make small felted balls out of wool and then dye them. So after I was done dyeing the Easter Eggs yesterday, I saved the homemade natural dye for six different types of fabric. Here are my results:
Match the photo with the following homemade dyes
- Cochineal Beetles
- Red Onion
- Yellow Onion
- Red Cabbage
Red cabbage will dye your fabric different shades of violet, lavender or even blue!
I only used three beets so my dye was very pale and weak. It's still a nice color, but had I used a dozen beets, I feel I would have created a more brilliant dye.
The hand knit swatch in the lower lefthand corner is made out of 100% wool. It really soaks up the coffee dye giving a nice deep rich color. The large fabric swatch above it is a cotton/polyester blend which is why it barely takes any dye. The polyester simply doesn't soak up the natural dye.
The red onion provides a broad range of colors from golden eggs to a very light tan to a deep rusty brown.
The yellow onion makes a nice rusty tan. It's not quite as intense as the red onion. Both onion dyes are quick and easy to do. You simply save the onion skins in a dry open container. Add salt and a bunch of onion skins to a quart of water. Boil. The dye fixes very quickly to the eggs and fabric. It's a surefire way to create a natural dye.
Hello Yellow! Wow! Who knew that a simple spice could really brighten things up. I get a bright yellow to a lovely gold - all with a teaspoon of spice. This is another very quick and easy spice. It fixes immediately to the fabric and eggs.
And my favorite of all is the lovely crimson created by the cochineal beetles. Once again that wool hand knit sample soaked up the dye like a man dying of thirst. The other items took in varying amounts of dye. I love this dye so much that I absolutely hate wasting any of it. I went into my stash and found some cotton skeins and dyed them both. They didn't take the dye as well, so I got a lovely pink color. It's drying now. I'll knit it up into something and will share it soon.
There you have it - six natural dyes from the kitchen. Here is a great video about dyeing fabrics at home. My one caveat is that I highly recommend having a dedicated pan that you use exclusively for dyeing. I bought a pan at Goodwill and marked it FOR DYEING USE ONLY. NOT FOR FOOD. Because sometimes I dye with chemical dyes, too.
Now go to it. Prepare to dye.