Nature Cure

Making Natural Fabric Dyes from Plants

Plants are a great source for making natural dyes that are found right in your garden. Flowers, nuts and roots are a few common ways from where we can get different colors. Orange, yellow, red. Blue, gray, brown and green are some of the colors that can be obtained from plants. Making natural fabric dyes from plants is really amazing.

Collecting Plant Materials for Dyeing

Materials from plants for dyeing cannot be collected always. There are specific periods at when they are to be used. The blossoms should be in full blooms, ripen berries and matured nuts can be collected.

Making the Dye Solution

Cut the plant materials into smaller pieces and put them in a vessel. Add double amount of water to the material. Boil the contents and leave it for an hour to cool. Strain the liquid and add the fabric you wish to dye. If you want a brighter shade, soak the fabric overnight.

Getting the Fabric Ready for Dyeing

Before putting the fabric in the dye, soak the fabric in a color fixative. This allows the desiered color to set on the fabric and fixes the color properly.

Color Fixatives Preparation

  • Plant fixatives (for plant dyes) – Add 1 part of vinegar to 4 parts of cold water.
  • Salt fixatives (for berry dyes) – Add ½ cup of salt to 8 cups of cold water.

Put the fabric in the color fixative and leave it for an hour. Wash the material and squeeze the fabric to drain out the excess fixative. Wash in cold water.

Dye Bath

Put the wet fabric in the dye bath liquid. Place until the required color is obtained. The dye color gets light after it is dried. Wash each dyed fabric in cold water separately.

Natural dyes work better for wool, cotton, silk and muslin cloths. The dye appears better if the fabric takes a lighter color.

Important Note:

Use a old large vessel as the dye vessel. Always wear rubber gloves while preparing dye and dyeing the fabric as some plant dyes may be toxic.

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