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Dying textiles and clothes naturally sounds like a very complicated activity. Again, it can be a creative and enjoyable activity. Dare to experiment and dye your own home textiles and fabrics at home. And in a completely natural way, just like your grandmother did. So today we will answer the question "How to dye textiles?". Read on to learn how to color refresh your old clothes…

How to dye fabrics, clothes and textiles in a nature-friendly way

After lots of research and a few tests, we found that natural fabric dyeing is actually quite easy if you know and follow the right steps.

Dye fabrics and textiles using fresh food

There are two things to note before you start coloring. Firstly, natural dyes adhere best to natural fabrics. Cotton, linen, wool and silk fall into this category, but not so much polyester. Second, don't expect to get the exact color you're going for. Everything from the pH of the water to the source of the food can contribute to the resulting color. Especially when you are dyeing fabric for the first time, it is somehow impossible for you to guess exactly what shade of color you will achieve. It can be more gray than blue, or even green! That's just part of it…

How intense should the color be?

Which fabrics can be dyed naturally

All light (preferably white) natural fibers can be dyed with natural dyes. T-shirts or cotton dresses are some suitable examples, but you don't have to limit yourself to just that. You can of course dye all kinds of clothing, textiles such as towels, sheets, even paper.

You can create a saturated yellow with turmeric

A gradient is also possible

What can you do as Use natural dye?

The best thing about natural dyes is that most of them can be found right in your own backyard! Roots, nuts, and flowers are just some of the common natural ways to get numerous colors. Or just visit the grocery store around the corner and you have endless options at your fingertips.

You only need fresh groceries from the garden or from the supermarket

What color does which food produce?

In the list below you will find some foods that you can use to dye your clothes and textiles.

Natural Dyes:

Orange: carrots, golden lichen, onion skins

Brown: Dandelion Roots, Oak Bark, Walnut Shells, Tea, Coffee, Acorns

Pink: Berries, cherries, red and pink roses, avocado skins and seeds

Blue: Indigo, Red Cabbage, Elderberries, Red Mulberries, Blueberries, Purple Grapes, Dogwood Bark, Black Beans

Onion skins are responsible for these orange color nuances

Red-Brown: Pomegranates, Beets, Bamboo, Hibiscus (reddish flowers), Bloodroot

Grey-Black: Blackberries, Walnut Shells, Orris Root

Red-violet: red sumac berries, basil leaves, daylilies, pokeweed, blueberries

Green: Artichoke, Sorrel Root, Spinach, Peppermint Leaf, Snapdragon, Lilac, Grass, Nettle, Plantain, Peach Leaf

Yellow: Bay Leaves, Marigolds, Sunflower Leaves, St. John's Wort, Dandelion Flowers, Paprika, Turmeric, Celery Leaves, Lilac Sprigs, Queen Anne's Lace Roots, Oregon Grape Roots, Barberry Roots, Goldenseal Roots, Yellow Sorrel Roots

Have a daring experiment with the foods you have at home

Extra tip: Always use fresh plants and food. Dried plants usually produce muted colors or none at all.

From Blue to Purple

Dying clothes and textiles - preparation

Before you start the dyeing process, you should prepare your fabric properly. First wash the fabric. Don't dry it though - it needs to be wet. Then prepare your fixative or “mordant”. This is to help the fabric absorb the natural dyes more easily.

Fabric in the dye bath place

For berries, you can use s alt, and for any other natural coloring - vinegar. Also follow these proportions:

S alt: Dissolve ½ cup of s alt in 8 cups of cold water

Vinegar: Mix 1 part white vinegar with 4 parts cold water.

First prepare your fixative or "mordant"

Place your damp fabric in the fixing solution for an hour. Then rinse off with cold water. Then it's time to dye the fabric.

Extra Tip: Before you begin, cover your work surface with newspaper. Be sure to wear gloves so you only dye the fabric and not your own hands. Only then do you prepare your paint.

Everything you need

Dying clothes and textiles - preparing the dye bath

In a saucepan, add the natural coloring or food you have chosen. There should be enough dye and enough water. Keep in mind that the dye might stain some pots and spoons. So that's why you only use them for coloring.

Let the color mixture simmer for about an hour until you get a nice dark color. Strain the natural dye and return the liquid to the pot.

Extra tip: It is best to use a large old pot as a staining vessel.

If the dye bath is already prepared…

… it's time to dye

Place fabric in dye bath

Carefully place the fabric in the dye bath and slowly bring to a boil. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

Check your fabric. Remember that the color produced will become lighter after drying. An hour should give a nice colour, but darker shades can be achieved by allowing the fabric to soak longer, even overnight. So leave the fabric in the warm water for as long as needed.

Dying textiles is easy and simple

If you have already received the color you want, take out the fabric and wash in cold water. Expect the color to lighten after washing and drying.

Extra Tip: All naturally dyed fabrics should be washed in cold water and separately.

That's basically everything you need to know about "dying clothes and textiles". Now you can naturally dye your sheets, curtains, shirts, towels and even underwear. Have fun with it!

Colourful inspiration!

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