Creating natural dyes for crafts can be a source of both savings and pride. There are many commercial color options, but many artisans prefer to handle natural substances, not least because they are easy to source yourself by growing them. If you are among those who want to make your craft beautiful without using artificial colors, here are some ways you can use natural products to make shades for your craft.
Sources of natural dyes
There are two primary sources of natural dyes used by most artisans ̵
Mica Pigment Dye
Mica is best suited for crafts where the pigment is mixed with the craft materials. For example, if you make soap at home, you can simply mix the powder color you want to use in the soap before the saponification stage. You can also use mica pigmentation on crafts such as pots and other clay. In such objects, the pigmentation is mixed with the clay used to make the pot. If you want the pot to have a solid color on the surface, you need to finish making the pot before applying a thin layer of mica pigmentation to the surface.
For most artisans, plants are the best option for paint. Plants can be easily reached and offer many options in terms of color diversity. Some of the best plants for dyes include:
Raspberries, beets and red hibiscus flowers
Strawberries, cherries, roses and lavender
Carrots, onion skin, squash and turmeric
Lilies and blackberries
Marigolds, sunflower petals and dandelions
Spinach, artichokes and peppermint leaves
Red cabbage leaves, blueberries and cornflowers
dandelion roots, oak bark and walnut
Gray or black
Walnut shells, sumac leaves and jade plants
The only way to prepare your dye from the plants is to dissolve the plant in water or some other solvent so that the pigments are released. Here is a step by step process to prepare natural dye from the plants.
Step 1 – hack
The first step is to chop the plant to be used in an inch thick slices. You can also use a grater to cut roots like carrots into small slices. Use fresh plants to ensure you get the right color. Do not use plants that have been in the freezer or in the fridge for a long time.
Scarpet 2 – Combine with water
For all plant materials you use, combine with water twice as much as the plants. For example, if you use one cup of raspberries, you can combine with two cups of water. Mix the contents in a heatproof bowl or frying pan.
Step 3 – Boil and swim
On medium heat, cook the contents above in a saucepan with the lid on until boiling. When the boiling point is reached, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about an hour or until you get a rich color. Some plants may take longer to release dyes. Check the contents of your pot regularly to see the color changes.
Step 4 – Strains
Once you have achieved the desired color, use a strainer or cheesecloth to strain out the plant material. You can use the plant material for your cooking or for another purpose. Allow your dye to cool and apply it to your craft accordingly. Because herbal dyes can be slightly diluted than artificial dyes, you may need to apply the dye more than once. Let the dye dry and add a new layer.
Pro Tips: To use herbal dyes to dye a woven fabric, it is best to place the entire fabric in the pot containing the dye and boil. In this way, the stains are more visible and less likely to fade.