Hello! I’ve been meaning to share this project for a few weeks now. This is one of those projects I’ve had on my to-do wish-list for quite a while. Many bloggers have dabbled in dip-dye projects, using various dipping agents such as acrylic paints or fabric dyes, but I couldn’t shake the idea of testing out nature with this project. The idea of using nature as my dipping agent, such as fruits and vegetables, or even spices, appealed to me much more than artificial dyes. I really wanted to dip-dye something in smashed blackberries, for example, to get a sad greyish purple color which would be too difficult to replicate using artificial dyes.
Let me show you the process we went through for this natural dip-dye par-tay!
Gather your supplies! Here’s what we used:
- 1 yard 100% organic cotton
- Big soup pot
- Bowls for dipping (not pictured)
- Raw, or “real” salt
- Vinegar (not pictured)
- Dried hibiscus flowers
- Yellow & red onions
- blue berries, raspberries, blackberries
You want to use 100% cotton, any other cotton blend will not accept the stain/dye. First, we boiled the cotton fabric in heavily salted water for an hour. Be liberal with the amount of salt you add to the pot of water. You want it to taste like the sea!
Next, begin mixing your fruits and veggies. We made 3 dyes by keeping like-colors together. The FIRST dye was hibiscus flowers, vinegar, and water which we boiled for an hour. For the SECOND dye we mixed yellow onions and turmeric, also boiled for an hour. The THIRD dye we mixed all the berries together with salt and water. I smashed the berries together with a potato smasher to make a jam-like paste, then I added the salt and water, then we put the purple potion on the stove for a couple minutes, vs. boiling like the other mixtures.
The hibiscus and vinegar potion is above, and the turmeric soup looking muck is below. Sorry, we didn’t take a picture of the berry mixture!
From what I’ve read about dip-dying, you need at least an “overnight” period to let the fabric soak up all the colorful goodness. We set up a dipping station for the hibiscus and berry dyes, on top of a tarp in my spare bedroom. I cut the yard of fabric in half, making two skinny pieces of fabric each measuring 1-yard in length. The first piece we put one end in the hibiscus dye, and the other in the berry dye, with the middle of the fabric soaking in a bowl filled with tap water. The water helps pull the dye from the pots to the center of the fabric. The second piece of fabric we decided to dip only one end in the berry dye. The other end sat in a bowl filled with tap water.
Our fabric looked like this after 24 hours, but I wanted more, so I shimmy-shaked things up, added more water and salt to the berry potion and submerged more of the fabric in each of the dyes to help the dye spread further up each end of the fabric.
The purply-blue color from the berries came out perfect! And wow, the hibiscus flowers yielded such a vibrant pink! Nature has such a bountiful color palette to chose from, it makes me think of all the things you could use to dye fabric, like paprika or black cherries!
I took the fabric out of the dyes after about 48 hours, rinsed them off in the sink, and hung them to dry.
And now they’re ready to be used as table runners! If you could, what natural elements would you use to dip-dye a table runner?