Saturday, October 19, 2013

Natural Dyes...

Had some fun this week experimenting with natural dyes on cotton lace for a mixed media jewelry piece. Have never worked with natural dyes before so I contacted KathyInOzarks who forwarded some great tips and simple steps for beginners. Here are examples of my results using strawberries, cranberries and coffee.

To get these results I started by preparing a fixative that the lace would need to be soaked in before dying. The fixative helps the fabric maintain color after dying. For the berry dyes I used a fixative made from 1/2 cup of salt mixed with 8 cups of boiling water. For the coffee I tried vinegar mixed with water. The lace was boiled on the stove for about an hour and then dropped into the various dye bathes for 4-5 hours.
For the first dye batch I used equal parts of chopped strawberries to water and boiled them for 1 hour. Then I strained out the berries and soaked the lace in the remaining liquid for about 5 hours at a low boil.
The top two strips of lace you see in the first photo are my results, kind of a light antique pink color. O.K., this is nice but I was hoping for something a little darker so I thought perhaps I would try a second dip in cranberries. After the second five hour dye bath using cranberries I got a surprise; the wider strip of lace actually rinsed out lighter while the thinner strip of lace turned a deeper brown (3rd and 4th lace strips in the first photo) -Not exactly sure what happened but I did get some new colors...
That was fun! For more information and natural dyes to try check out:
Also be sure to look for some of this lace ribbon in my upcoming jewelry piece for One Kiss Creation's Vintage Wooden Spool Rolling Blog Hop.
Enjoy Your Saturday!


  1. oh cool! the cranberry turned out pinker-and I always love the coffee or tea dyed-always fun! looking forward to seeing your piece

  2. I like the details here, and the lace results, hmmm strawberries. Recently I have been dying plain old paper and yesterday used marigold leaves and WOW a great colour.

  3. Love this idea Lisa -- I've used tea on muslin before with great results. :)

  4. that is so cool! love this idea .... and can't wait to see what you do with Christine's spools :)

  5. I have a soft spot for dying at home as you know! So I especially appreciate this post!!!

  6. Ooo, I really like the thinner strips of the coffee and the cranberry. What a fun experiment. And great results. Cannot wait to see how you incorporate these and the spools :-)

  7. How fun is this?! The natural dyes must make the house smell amazing too!

  8. This is interesting, Lisa. Thanks for sharing with us.


Thanks for your comments. I enjoy hearing from you!