natural dye

Experimenting with colour is a lovely meditative and interesting process. It is part art, part science, part cooking and part childhood game. Around Easter time this year the kids and I had a hoot dyeing eggs – and then I continued with my natural dye experiments on wool I had recycled from a fine cream coloured skirt. I have had a long on and off again fascination with dyeing fabric and in fact my mini quilt in Whip Up Mini Quilts is a Shibori Sampler.

Dyeing – either with natural – readily found ingredients like beetroot and red cabbage or with harder to find woodland materials like lichens, moss and plant leaves, or if you want to go use indigo and cochineal or even if chemical dyeing is more your thing – its tricky – fun – and addictive!

How to:

  1. Dip dye clothing
  2. Sweet Paul Magazine Summer has an article on natural dyeing
  3. Dye shoe makeover
  4. Great article at Craftzine on natural dyeing (pictured)
  5. Natural wool dyed table runner


  1. Some clamp and fold experimentation and more lovely experiments here (pictured)
  2. Resurrection fern keeps a dye journal – beautiful and interesting. (pictured)
  3. Abigail has been experimenting with dyeing bracelets. (pictured)
  4. Jude’s onion skin dye experiments
  5. Lichen dye experimentation

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I have been really getting into natural dyes lately, you can see and participate in some vegetable dye experiments of your own in the latest Action Pack which has an Easter Suppliment and some Egg-speriments in natural dyeing. Lots and lots of fun. The kids and I were so excited doing this project for the current issue of the Action Pack (only $5 fo 30 pages of activities and great family fun) and even yummier we got to eat the results because it was all natural!

After reading The Handbook of Natural Dyes I got all excited to try some of the same dye experiments on wool and I made a table runner with the results – its is so pretty and easy too.

I am guest posting over at Poppytalk where I will show you some of my dye experiments and explain how to make a lovely woollen table runner.

I used a cream coloured woollen skirt which I picked up at a second hand clothing shop, I washed and felted it in the washing machine and then deconstructed it ready for my dye experiments.

I turned my dyel samples into a table runner. You could make a skirt -what a beautiful skirt – or even a blanket if you had enough samples. Or else save them for smaller projects – toys maybe? I sewed the samples together using a french seam which I then sewed down to create a double sided and very sturdy fabric.

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This book could not have arrived on my doorstep at a better time. Just when I am beginning to experiment and discover a love for dyeing naturally (oh did I just say that?). This book The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes: Personalize Your Craft with Organic Colors from Acorns, Blackberries, Coffee, and Other Everyday Ingredients. By Sasha Duerr (Timber Press January 2011), is a treasure trove of natural dyeing tips and advice and practical recipes!

From intense blues to soft grey, these gorgeous colours are all harvested by your garden or the farmers market – what could be more natural – so if you are interested in naturally crafting, or slow crafting then experimenting with natural dyes is for you. I found this interview with Sasha I love the terms slow fashion and soil to studio I also love that Sasha is re-connecting with the environment and with the traditional crafts – helping to revive plant dye knowledge. Sasha says When you work with organic botanical color sources, you are literally working with living color – I love that! Naturally dyeing is so accessible Sasha also says “if you can cook, you can dye”.

More about the book here and the author here.

Part of a week of natural crafting and lifestyle books here at


Fabulous interesting article on craftzine all about natural dyeing.