Ever since I first played with dyeing, I've been wanting to experiment some more. I've been thinking about trying to dye with natural ingredients for months, and finally decided to give it a go. There's something so exciting and fun to watch the fabric change color, and I love the soft, subtle washed colors you get when dyeing with natural ingredients. I decided to try blueberries (for a purple color) and black beans (for a blue color). There's a handy chart here that can help you find out which ingredient you need to obtain your desired color.
- Cotton or silk scarf (need to be 100% natural and white/undyed)
- Large pot
- Two buckets
- Fruits, vegetables, or other natural ingredients. I used blueberries (for a purple color) and black beans (for a blue color). Here is a handy chart that can help you find out which ingredient you need to obtain your desired color.
Step 1: Prepare your fabric
1. Pre-wash your scarf.
2. Place your scarf in a large pot. Add enough water to fully cover the fabric, and add salt at a 1:16 ratio (for example, one cup of salt for 16 cups of water).
3. Bring up to boil, then simmer for about on hour. The salt acts as a fixative for the dye.
4. Rinse the scarf in cold water and set it aside.
5. If you want to tie and dye, tightly wrap rubber bands wherever you want to create a design. Here is a handy chart (notice I love handy charts!) that shows several folding and tying techniques. I simply made a stripe pattern. If you just want to dye it plain, simply skip this step.
Step 2: Dye bath
I dyed a scarf in a cold dye bath of black beans (turned out blue), and another one in a hot bath of blueberries (turned out purple).
Black beans (cold dye bath)
I used about two cups of black beans for a quite long scarf (about 6.5 feet).
1. Put your beans in a bucket, generously cover them with water, and let them soak overnight. Place your scarf in a second bucket.
2. In the morning, strain the bean water into that second bucket (i.e. over your scarf). Generously cover the beans with clean water, and let them soak all day long.
3. In the evening, repeat step 2.
4. In the next morning, repeat step 2.
5. Keep repeating step 2 every 12 hours or so, until your scarf has soaked for about 3 days. It will start to smell a little, but nothing unbearable.
6. Remove the scarf, rinse it well (until the water runs clean and no more dye comes out) and let it air dry. Discard the beans.
I used about two cups and a half of (frozen) blueberries for a quite long scarf (about 6.5 feet).
1. Put your blueberries in a large pot. Add water at a 2:1 ratio (I used 5 cups). Bring up to boil, then simmer for about an hour.
2. Strain out water, discard blueberries, and return blueberry water to pot.
3. Add the scarf in the pot. Bring up to boil, then simmer for about an hour or two (depending on how dark you would like the dyed fabric to be). If you want the deepest possible color, turn off the heat and let the fabric sit in the pot overnight.
4. Remove the scarf, rinse it well (until the water runs clean and no more dye comes out), and let it air dry.
Voilà, enjoy your new scarf!