Eucalyptus Dye Recipe for Linen, Cotton and Cellulose Fibres
On a recent trip to Greece, I collected some Eucalyptus leaves and took them home in my suitcase. I let them dry and then crushed them for use in my dyepot.
for 100 grams of fibre
50 grams dried Eucalyptus Leaves
Put crushed Eucalyptus leaves into dye pot.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour at 50 deg.
Add pre-mordanted wool yarn and sample fabrics.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour.
Remove the wool yarn. Let this cool and rinse thoroughly to remove the excess dye powder.
Turn the heat off the dyepot and leave the linen and cotton samples to soak overnight. More colour will continue to develop as the dyebath cools.
All cellulose fibres, yarns and fabrics must be scoured prior to mordanting or dyeing. Please see my previous article on how to do this. How to Scour Linen
For these samples, I used several different linen and cotton fabrics as well as wool yarn.
Natural Linen (light weight)
Natural Linen (heavy weight)
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.
When I had spread out all the Eucalyptus leaves, I turned the scarf over to cover the leaves.
I then rolled the scarf around a cardboard tube.
I tightly wrapped the dye package with linen yarn so that all of the bundle was covered.
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.
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.
It worked! I am quite happy with the result 🙂
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.