Made By Mrs M

Dyeing Fabric with Dandelions


My garden is looking pretty good at the moment. With the exception of the lawn, which is mostly weeds. The extent of the weeds became apparent a couple of weeks ago, when my son decided to go out and pick the dandelions for me, and came back with a box full (they'd also all returned within 48 hours, so time for the weed and feed perhaps....). 

My husband wanted to put them straight in the compost but the small boy was insistent that they were a present for me and not to be thrown away. That's when I hit upon the idea of trying to do some dyeing with them. 

After a trawl of the internet, I established what I needed to be done, and on a rainy afternoon the small boy and I set about it....

I placed the dandelions in a metal pan and simmered them in water (I went for a ratio of 1 part dandelions to 2 parts water as I didn't actually have that many and didn't want the pan to boil dry) for an hour. At the same time I simmered my fabric (just some plain white poly cotton I had in my stash) in a mixture of water and white vinegar (to set the dye) - ratio here was 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water.

Mmmm, dandelion mush. I then strained the dandelions out and retained the liquid. They were finally ready for the bin! I removed the fabric from the pan and rinsed it in cold water.

Knowing that the effect would be subtle at best, I decided to tie dye the fabric to add some interest, I then added it to the pan with the dye.

All of the instructions I found said that I should continue to simmer this for at least another hour, however I was nearly out of liquid. I kept an eye on it and removed it from the heat after 30 minutes, then left it to sit in the pan for 4 hours (you may get a stronger colour if you leave it longer, but I'm not sure!). It looked fairly good when it was wet - I pinned it out to dry and waited....

Unfortunately it dried a lot paler - It almost looks as it something unpleasant has been spilt on it! Thinking I can use this as the basis for another project of some kind though.

So, not totally successful but it was fun! I fancy having a go at dyeing with some other plants from the garden, so watch this space later in the summer....

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