Natural Dye

So, did you know with a little experimentation you can make virtually any (non neon) color with natural dye? Bright, beautiful pure colours. Textiles (aka, dye) is one of the biggest pollutants in the world. Many companies use low quality dyes, and don’t rinse them out properly to make the colours look more intense when you purchase them, explaining why they rinse out for the first several times you wash them, and then look faded by the time a few months have gone by. Properly done natural dyes would be just as long lasting, in most cases longer lasting then cheaply made synthetic dyes, which pollute the earth. In India they use dye rinse water from natural dyes to irrigate crops.
i made a dress in my class last semester, and it was see through. So i dyed it with POMEGRANATE!
this is the dress i am dying a grey brown
mmmm pomegranate. so tasty. makes such beautiful dye! the recipe i am using involves iron as a mordant. mordants make the colour stick to the fabric. Iron makes pomegranate skins turn a ashy black/brown. Alum, another common mordant, makes the dye a pale green yellow. i used two pomegranates and approx 1/2 a teaspoon of iron powder. apparently you can use a chunk of iron, but i haven’t done this before.
mmmmmm, ,the tasty bi-product of dying with pomegranate. since you only use the skins, i still get to eat the seeds! hurrah! wrapping the skins in cheesecloth is a good idea so you don’t get your fabric goopy. I don’t plan ahead… so my fabric got goopy. i ended up having to wash it in the tub.
a strangely clean looking picture, showing the skin, and the fabric. the water, iron, pomegranate and fabric need to be boiled to activate the dye. The fabric always looks blacker in the pot, and doesn’t lose a lot of value when its rinsed, but turns a more ashy brown. (in reality my stove top, hands, wall and pot are stained grey until i scrubbed them. be careful my friends. i don’t have a finished picture, but i have a picture of the fabric when its a bit damp still (and wrinkly!) the longer you leave the fabric in the dye, the darker it will get! this was probably 30 minutes.
yay for pomegranate!
Edit** i took a picture of it dry and ironed.
i also forgot to mention you could get the colour nearly to black if you left it in the pot for several days.

2 Comments

  1. Oh dear! Powdered iron is really not very safe! It can get in the air and you could breath it in, I wouldn't be putting it in a cooking pot at all 😛 I know it's a natural product, but I'm taking a dyeing class at university right now and we are dealing with natural dyes. And my teacher says the powdered metals are pretty toxic which is why we just use pieces of iron (ie. a old railway spike) in the dye bath.

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  2. Hey Janelle, we know each other! haha, When I took intro dye my prof told us that iron was safe for cooking pots (and said we could use pieces of iron as well). I am going to research it further now. Katrina

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