Eucalyptus Dye

Having read India Flint’s wonderful book on eco colour and printing, I discovered that you can get some beautiful natural dyes using Eucalyptus leaves. So during a recent holiday in Corfu, I gathered a bag full of Eucalyptus leaves from the trees that were growing along the roadsides and thought I would give it a try.
The leaves had dried out by the time I started this project. So I sprayed them with a bit of water to moisten them. Then I layed the leaves out onto one side of a silk scarf that I had dampened with water.

Eucalyptus Dye on Silk
Eucalyptus Dye on Silk

When I had spread out all the Eucalyptus leaves, I turned the scarf over to cover the leaves.

Eucalyptus Dye on Silk
Eucalyptus Dye on Silk

I then rolled the scarf around a cardboard tube.

Eucalyptus Leaf Dye on Silk
Eucalyptus Leaf Dye on Silk

I tightly wrapped the dye package with linen yarn so that all of the bundle was covered.

Eucalyptus Leaf Dye
Eucalyptus Leaf Dye

I then placed the silk scarf dye package into a dyepot and let it simmer for a few hours – no mordant was used. Then I turned the heat off and put a lid onto the pot.
It can take several days for all of the colour to disperse from the Eucalyptus leaves and to imprint onto the silk fabric.
I let this dyepot sit untouched for about 3 weeks. The dypeot will get a bit smelly as the dye ferments, so it is best to leave it outside while the dye matures.

Eucalyptus Leaf Dye
Eucalyptus Leaf Dye

The Eucalyptus dye project looks very hopeful as I begin to unwrap the scarf. The linen yarn that I wrapped the dye package with has a nice colour.

Eucalyptus Dye on Silk
Eucalyptus Dye on Silk
Eucalyptus Dyed Silk Scarf
Eucalyptus Dyed Silk Scarf

It worked! I am quite happy with the result 🙂

Eucalyptus Leaf Dyed Silk Scarf
Eucalyptus Leaf Dyed Silk Scarf

There is still quite a bit of dye colour in the dyebath, so I think I will try to reuse the dyebath and dye something else.

Eucalyptus Dyed Scarf
Eucalyptus Dyed Scarf
Eucalyptus Dyed Scarf on Etsy


Natural Dye Books
Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles

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