Natural dyes can be fun to work with and you might be surprised at the colours that can be found in your kitchen. Each of these Easter eggs were dyed using a microwave. As I had some dye left over, I also dyed a bit of wool with each dye batch.
If you are not a handspinner, you can do this project using already spun wool. Save the dyed fleece or spun wool.
After Easter, you can use the wool for weaving a small tapestry. I will be posting instructions for building a small loom using a cardboard box.
Natural Dyed Easter Eggs
The jars in the photo contain some white Romney wool, mordanted in a Tin bath.
Starting with the dark blue egg and going clockwise the dyes used were:
Red Cabbage & vinegar
Pickled Beet juice
For each Easter egg, I used the following dye method.
- Hard boil all the eggs first.
- Use clean glass jars for each dye.
- Half fill the glass jars with water.
- Heat in the microwave for 3 minutes on high power or until the water is almost boiling.
- Add the dyestuff and stir until dissolved. (some of the dyes don’t dissolve, so just stir well.
- Place the boiled egg into the glass jar, ensuring that there is sufficient water to completely cover the egg.
- Let the jar stand overnight.
- Remove the egg and place it onto a clean coffee filter or other paper until dry.
Because there was quite a bit of dye left over in each jar, I didn’t want to waste it, so I also dyed some wool. I
pre-mordanted some fleece in a Tin (stannous chloride) mordant. If you don’t have access to Stannous chloride, you can substitute by using a clean tin can. Place it in a pot of water and boil it for a few hours.
You could also use an Alum mordant.
Mordants change the structure of the fibre to allow the dye to penetrate. Mordants also improve the colourfastness of the dye. Different mordants also produce different colours, so experiment with them to see what colours you can create.
If you don’t have fleece or aren’t a handspinner, try dyeing some spun wool, mohair, angora, silk or alpaca yarn, instead.
After removing the egg, reheat each jar in the microwave for a minute.
Then add the mordanted wool to the dyebath and let it stand for about an hour.
When the dyebath cools, reheat the jar in the microwave for another minute.
The heat helps the wool to absorb the dye.
Reheat each jar about 3 -4 times as they cool.
Then let each jar sit overnight to allow the wool to absorb more dye.
Remove the dyed wool from the jar and rinse in cool water with a bit of dish soap.
Squeeze out the water and let the wool dry
Natural Dyes – EBay Watch
Dye Books: Natural Dyeing
Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles
Using dyes of the leaves, roots, and flowers to color your cloth and yarn can be an amazing journey into botanical alchemy. In Eco Colour, artistic dyer and colorist India Flint teaches you how to cull and use this gentle and ecologically sustainable alternative to synthetic dyes.
UK: Eco Colour
Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes
Where to find these dye plants in the wild (and for those that can be grown in your backyard, how to nurture them) and the best time and way to harvest them.
UK: Harvesting Color