Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Dyeing Playsilks Using Summer Fruits

We dyed our own playsilk using raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, 
tomato, rhubarb and beetroot from our garden.

I was inspired by this book.
We looked at the flower that related to their first initial of their name
and I wanted to make them an elf/pixie cape of the corresponding colour.

There are boy illustrations in these books...which is great for boys to get in touch with flowers
positively without it being overtly girly.

Little Seed needed pink for Mallow...

So we set up an experiment:

I boiled the plain silk in hot water and vinegar.

We mashed up the foods and I strained them with a sieve.

Then we dipped corners and bits of the silk in different pots.

The tomato didn't work, I wouldn't bother.

The beetroot actually gave us orange!

The silk dried lighter than the image so in a few weeks we can have another go
when it fades to a very pale pink.
Any tips appreciated to achieve a darker effect!

Click here if you fancy winning a gorgeous snackbag

 Linking to:
beneath the rowan tree

Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia


  1. How beautiful! Love the idea. Sorry, I have no tips.

  2. This is great - I have to try it!!!

  3. What a great experiment to try with the kids. I haven't done a lot of natural dyeing so I am not sure how to get your colors darker...I know, even with acid dyes, that I sometimes re-dye to get a darker color.

  4. That sounds like fun!!!I wish I could give you some tips, but I'm not a dyer.

  5. What a fun way of choosing the colours, I love that book. I don't know much about natural dyes, but Kool Aid sachets can give some pretty intense results (and don't need acid added)

  6. I love Cicely Barker's fairies. That's genius how you created color capes just for the boys.

    On making steadfast dyeing, both on the books I've read say you need a mordant.
    Mordants are used to bind the color to fiber, but they can change the color slightly. A book by Sasha Duerr; The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes; has a very good section on non-toxic mordants.

  7. Thanks pinkundine and faerie-dancer...I may have to get that book...looks inspiring! x

  8. No tips... just admiration. :)

    Blessings, Debbie

  9. What fun! yes, you need a mordant with natural dyes. Without a mordant/ fixative, you are only staining the fiber, not truly dyeing it (as in altering the chemical makeup to change the colour). But still big fun!!
    Thanks for linking up!



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