I've been experimenting with natural dyes for a couple of years now, mainly to use on material for hanging wreaths. They are great way to reuse any uneaten veggies that are heading for the compost bin and a sustainable, natural way to colour fabric without using harmful dyes.
I often find that natural materials like silk or cotton tend to hold the most colour and often you can check the labels on a old sheet or materials found at a charity shop. I love charity shop shopping and finding a bargain but also find that charity shops often have good quality natural materials that aren't used in a lot of high street stores. Total winner!
You might need to just sift through to find the good ones and check the labels to see what the material actually is, but they can look quite effective once dyed and the buzz I get always has me coming back for more. I'm currently in the process of storing up materials for our wedding blessing in the summer to use as table runners and wedding decor pieces. Such a great way to save some pennies when you are planning a wedding!
So, once you have found your perfect piece of material that you would like to dye, follow these steps in order to make the dye...
(To make a dye for 10 silk ribbons) you will need:
Top tip - the more onion skins you use in ratio to water, the more potent the dye and if you have more material, you'll need more dye.
3 red onion skins
3 brown onion skins
Teaspoon of vinegar
Your chosen material
500 ml Water
An old tub (I use Tupperware for ribbons but if your material is larger, you'll need something bigger. The type of material you dye in can change the dye colour)
Step 1: heat the water to just below boiling. Be careful not to boil as you don't want to lose any of the dye that you create.
Step 2: add the onion skins and vinegar. The vinegar works as a mordant to lock in the colour.
Step 3: leave on a low heat for 20 mins with a lid on and check often, stirring to ensure the dye spreads and seeps out of the onion skins.
Step 4: prepare your Tupperware or tin with the material
Step 5: drain the onion skins from the saucepan ensuring you pour liquid onto the material in your tin.
Step 6: leave overnight (sometimes longer) to let the dye sink in. Mix with a wooden spoon and ensure it's fully covered.
Step 7: pour the dye out, rinse your material under cold water to release any excess dye, then hang to dry, press and voila!
We would love to know how it went. Post your pics on insta @my.little.posy and tag us so we can see