Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Easy Naturally Dyed Oakleaf Fabric



If you saw my last blog post and didn't pay attention to the title you probably looked at the picture and thought what the heck? Here is the picture again.



From this recycled spaghetti sauce jar, some water and a handful of brown and dry oak leaves I got that pretty bundle of naturally dyed fabrics you see above. I don't know about you but that makes me want to jump up and down and yell woo hoo. I do have to restrain myself a lot around the family. They already think I am an odd duck as it is.

If you are interested in experimenting with natural dyes yourself I will tell you the simple method that I used. You don't need any special equipment or supplies. You probably have everything you need on hand.
One thing I want to point out is that my fabric has been treated with a mordant. I am not going to go into a long explanation about mordanting your dye fabrics today.

Here are a couple of links on mordants The Joy of Hand Spinning and Fibercrafts you can read about mordants there or do a google search and you will find thousands of webpages on the subject and can decide for yourself if you want to go that route.

Me I like to try everything once so I went out and bought some Alum which is available in the spice section of your supermarket.

I will say this a mordant does make a difference in the dye color. I did dye both fabric that was not treated with a mordant and fabric that was in the same jar of dye just so I could see the difference. There is a difference. But you can get some beautiful dyed fabric with out a mordant so if you just want to jump right in then don't worry about it.

For this jar of dye all I did was collect some dry live oak leaves from my yard. I put them in the bottom of the jar and poured boiling water over the leaves. I let this set out on my back porch and soak for a couple of days. Usually you will see some color start to bleed into the water almost immediately and sometimes it may take a few hours before you start to see any color.

Now if you live in an area where it is freezing outside you can place your jar somewhere warm inside your house. On top of the stove, refrige or hotwater heater would be a good place. The more heat the faster the dye will be released from your plant material.

After a couple of days or a week whatever............. that your water has taken on a nice color you can add your fabrics to the jar. There is no set time here. It depends on the plant matter used, heat and the type of colors you like yourself.

The same goes for how long you leave your fabric in your dye bath. There is no set time. The longer you leave your fabric the darker the color will be. Also keep in mind the wet fabric will look darker then it will look when it is dried.



Now you might be wondering about mold forming on your fabric in your jar. I have a couple of jars from this summer still out on my porch with the plant matter and water still in them. They have not formed any mold. Out of about 8 jars of various plant matter and water I played around with this summer only one grew anything in the jar.

Have fun experimenting and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment!
Thanks for stopping by
Arlene


6 comments:

alteredbits said...

this is just gorgeous! i will definitely have to try oakleaf dye indeed. i typically use coffee and tea, but what fun is that in comparison??

thanks for stopping by my blog. :) it's nice to meet you!

Halle said...

So cool! I have an open bottle of red wine that is NOT GOOD. I should try to dye fabric with it! Thanks for the inspiration!!

Cathy Cullis said...

Lovely to see your natural dye fabrics! It's exciting, I know:) Yes mordanting does make a difference. Enjoy!

yvonne said...

I love dying fabric and will have to try some natural dyes like the oak leaves. It's lovely.

Maria said...

Is the dye permanent or does it fade with washes? I think it's a fabulous idea to use natural dyes. I love the bundle you made with the lace.

Kristin said...

This is great! What a wonderful idea - love your food blog too! Kristin :)

 
Web Analytics