ECO: HOW TO MAKE NATURAL DYES FOR FABRICS

2017-05-20
THE PUNCH Newspaper

Plants can be used to make natural dyes for fabrics and fibres. When you realise that your spinach is not as fresh as it used to be, instead of tossing it into the dirt bin, you can carry out a simple DIY project by making beautiful colours of homemade dyes out of it. Naturally dyeing fabrics at home is not only beautiful but it is also a fun thing to do and experiment. These days, of course, you can walk into a store to purchase an entire rainbow of fabric dye but you can make your own dye without spending so much money at all by making use of left-over plants and fruits. Making use of chemicals to dye fabrics might seem straightforward but, it just might be reducing the lifespan of the fabric. Not only does this DIY give you a new appreciation of Mother Nature; it is also a free and fun way to get crafty and explore your creative side. Any light-coloured (preferably white) natural fibre will take dye. Also your curtains, towels, sheets and pillow cases, baby clothes and even paper can be dyed. Your orange peels, lemon heads and even the first few leaves of your cabbage can be transformed into a beautiful and colourful homemade dye. Also, for years, fruits and various vegetables have been used to alter the colour of clothing. This DIY project of making homemade dye is easy, eco-friendly and it costs basically nothing.

What you’ll need

Spinach
Orange peels
Onion skins
Beet skins
Red cabbages leaves
Small saucepan
Rubber gloves

Directions

Gather together the fruits and vegetables leftovers bits for making the homemade dye and chop them into smaller sizes.
Orange and lemon peels make a light yellow or ochre dye while, spinach creates a nice green. Onion skins transform into orange and beets skins create red shades.
In a saucepan, place your chopped fruits and vegetables and cover with water as twice as much as the ingredients. Place on medium heat and allow it simmer for about an hour.
To have a long-lasting beautiful and coloured fabric, soak the clothing into a fixative. Simmer the fabric in ¼ salt and 4 cups of water for fruit dyes. While for vegetable dyes, simmer fabric in 1 cup of vinegar and 4 cups of water and allow it boil for an hour.
Turn off the heat of the dye and allow it cool to room temperature. Strain the cooled dye into a container.
Wearing your rubber gloves, rinse the fabric in cool water and soak in the homemade natural dye until it reaches your desired colour.
Remove the fabric from the dye bath wearing your gloves (you want to dye the cloth and not your hands).
Wring the fabric thoroughly and hang it up to dry. There you go; you have your homemade dyed fabric.

 

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