How to Naturally Bundle dye a Scarf using Botanicals and berries
Have you ever wanted to create a hand-dyed textile using botanicals materials, that looks like something that you would find in a boutique store? Me too! I have been wanting to experiment with bundle dyeing ever since I saw the beautiful and natural results. I was curious about it, as a compliment to my work with natural indigo dye and Shibori.
***Update, after much experimenting with the natural process of bundle-dyeing, I am proud to announce a collaborative workshop in March that combines Bundle Dyeing and Aromatherapy in a retreat for creatives! There are still a few spaces left to join!***
First, I did some research about which plants to use and how to dye natural fibers like wool, silk and cotton. I even discovered a cruelty-free silk in the process called peace silk. There is a wealth of information out there to digest about natural dye processes and I will share some of the books that I am reading at the bottom of this post!
Read on to see which botanical items worked the best and see links to professional advice where you will find more information, should you wish to explore the craft further! I am a big believer in sustainable design. Once on a visit to India, I saw a man standing in a vat of what I can only assume was chemical dye waste water, which made me think about the impact of dye and fashion on the environment. I was also surprised to learn that some natural dyes can be harmful and/or poisonous, so it really is important to know your materials and educate yourself before you begin!
For this bundle dyeing, I used marigolds, blackberries, strawberries, red cabbage and eucalyptus. Please note: eucalyptus oils can make pets and children sick, so I suggest learning how to clean them up well, if you plan to try out eucalyptus too.
Here is what you will need for this project:
Bundle Dyeing Process
I had seen many cool tutorials and beautiful fabrics online that made me want to try out this process. This kimono to the left was absolutely one of them!
It was dyed with shallot skins, saffron, and red cabbage.
My dye process involved a few steps:
Ultimately, I chose to set aside my cotton scarf and experimented with dyeing on the peace silk. I read that natural colors affix best to wool and silk, plus I wanted to get a feel for bundle dyeing.
After steaming the bundle in a large metal pot with a steam basket, I let the botanical materials soak in. Then I soaked the bundle in vinegar, allowing the acid to further set the dye. Lastly, I unwrapped it and rinsed it to reveal the results below.
I am still not completely sure how I will use the bundle dyed silk. It is about 1 square yard and I am considering making a pillow or scarf, and I would love to hear your suggestions.
Here are some links, if you wish to further your research on natural dyes!
The Modern Natural Dyer by Harry N Abrams
Botanical Color at Your Fingertips by Rebecca Desnos
Natural Color: Vibrant Plant Dye Projects by Sasha Duerr
Aurora Silk peace silk supplier
Rebecca Desnos: botanical feed
Novagoods: kimonos, fashion and Shibori
I'd love to hear your experiences with natural dyes especially if you have tried bundle dyeing on cotton. If you liked this post, you might enjoy reading about how I updated a vintage Indian top using Avocado pits and skins as dye.
HI, I'M HILARY.
A Day in the Life, is where I share inspiration for a handmade lifestyle from natural dye methods, textile techniques, and the best of California design. I love dreaming up products for a sustainable artful home. I offer creative workshops to inspire you to live your best life by connecting you to your creativity and others. I hope to meet you in person at one of my workshops for creative people like you!
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