Eco Dying with Plants Tutorial

October 28, 2016

Im kind of slightly…ok…significantly obsessed with the plant world and what I can do with what Mother Nature is providing right outside our door steps.  A month or so ago, I attended a girls night where we did just this…dyed hankies with plants.  From that second on I was fascinated with this.  I have them framed proudly, like works of art, on my mantle from that night.  I think they are so genuine, raw, and beautiful!  I had some left over hankies from where we did this again at friends house with our kids (told you I loved it) so I decided to use them up at home and get crafty and make some more!  One cant have too many nature dyed hankies can they?  No. I didnt think so.

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To get started with this method (note there are MANY ways you can dye fabric naturally)  you will need some kind of 100% cotton or hemp fabric.  I honestly picked up these 100% cotton hankies at the Dollar General.  No need to be too fancy here.  You need white vinegar, a stick, some twine or yarn, a ziplok bag, and of course your plant material.

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First step is to wash your fabric and then fix the fabric by letting it boil in a large pot of 4 parts water and 2 part white vinegar.

After this step is complete and the fabric is cooled off (it can still be wet). You will lay the fabric out and start layering on your plant material.  Keeping in mind that you are going to have to fold and roll the the fabric so dont get to attached to any pretty designs you or your kids make.  Just go with it!

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Once you have your plants in your desired design, fold the fabric, roll it on a stick and wrap it with the string.  Then put the fabric in a ziploc bag to naturally steam for 2-3 days.

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When it is done, unroll it and hang to dry!

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Plants that are great to dye with:

Poke berry – (cautious as parts of the plant are poisonous and do not use this plant if you are planning to wash the fabric and get it wet.  No matter if you “fix” the fabric before hand to hold the dye, poke berry will wash out, but it is very beautiful if you are just using it for decoration)

Goldenrod

Cosmos

Zinnas

Marigolds

Sumac berries

and many other flowers that have strong pigments! These are just the ones I have had success with using!

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I cant wait to do this again in the summer when we have a better variety of flowers to choose from!  Ill be sure to report back with more hankies…the summer edition. Enjoy!

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