Sunday, 23 February 2014

Trotting out Eco-Dyeing 2014

 I've been traipsing around the bush and supermarket getting vegetal matters
for eco-friendly dyeing.
Frankly, I love it.
I trot the lesson out once a year.
It's a bit of rigmarole, simmering pots over lunch time, interruptions that
cause dye extractions to evaporate because I get distracted by less important matters.
Leaves, lichens and sticks simmering in old pans.
Those not in the know enquiring why the classroom smells slightly
like a grass fire.
It does take a bit of an effort.
But, the hues are lovely.


 You'll need dark coloured bark.
Red gum is good.
Banksia cones.
Seed pods.
Native and non-toxic plants are must
for work place health and safety.
Do some research first.
Try onion skins (red and brown), beetroot, red cabbage, tea leaves, gum tree leaves.
Small twigs, lichens.

 Simmer for about one hour.
Then leave overnight.
Strain, add vinegar, salt or some type of mordant.
Here's the tricky part; the mordant.
The mordant's function is to 'fix' the dyes.
We've had some trouble here.
I have had to warn the workers sternly not to fixate on a particular colour.
Because it might not be there when they return on Monday.
Eco-dye doesn't always keep its promise.
We are dyeing gauzy strips of muslin, ideal 'sun-safe scarves'.
And we'll embellish then with the lace pieces.
 Above, lichen and sticks.
Below red onion.
 If you scrub your beetroots first, then boil and save the stained water
you can then zhu zhu up a beetroot, mint and yoghurt dip.
Don't waste anything.
Here's ours:

 Have fun.



  1. Can I come to your school Flora? That looks amazing!

    1. Mimi, you are in. But, you won't be allowed to talk in class. :O x

  2. That looks like a lot of fun! :) And cool that when you have something edible like beetroot, you can use the leftovers for nibblies too! :)

    1. Mica, it was especially when I told the workers we'd be eating the dip!! They all said they wouldn' was delicious. :D x

  3. This looks marvellous, I would be all covered in the stuff, haha. But, I love it!! :) Xxx

    1. It is lovely. I often or ALWAYS wear black or dark colours to work......I know what you mean! Xx

  4. That's so cool that you're doing that Flora! Looks great! Everything is becoming eco-friendly. :)

  5. Thank you, Kim! It's fun to get the pigments out. Just had a challenge getting those dyes to stay colour-fast. :S xx