Remember Lydia of Argaman&Defiance from last Thursday’s post? She has a few tips on how to naturally dye fabrics. It’s a great summer project and you can get all of your supplies at your local grocery store. Who knew you could use onion skins to create a permanent dye? Try it out!
What you’ll need:
– Cloth (100% Cotton or silk works best)
– Purple Onionskins
- Rubber Bands
– Medium Size Pot
– Laundry Detergent
Before dying your fabric is dyed you must wash it to make sure you have a clean surface to work on. This can be done by hand or in the washing machine.
When the cloth is clean and dry fold and create any design you like by binding the cloth with rubber bands. For my shirt I folded it accordion style and ran my iron over the folds. Once I finished my accordion fold, I folded the shirt in half again. Next I wrapped rubber bands around the cloth and zig-zagged my way up.
Weigh the cloth. This will tell you how many ounces of onionskins and alum you need. After you have the weight recorded place the cloth in water and let it soak for at least 10min before dying. This helps dye the surface evenly.
Time for the onionskins! I asked my local grocer to save the onionskins that they normally would throw away at the end of the night. You will need 1:1 ration of onionskins to the weight of your fabric (wof). My shirt weighed 3.6oz so I will need 3.6oz of onionskins. Lightly rinse the onionskins in cold water. In a medium size pot (this depends on how much or little fabric you are using), fill the pot with 3/4 warm water. Next add the onionskins to the warm water and slowly raise the heat to 170F degrees over an hour. If you don’t have a thermometer this is just under a simmer.
Remove the onionskins with a large spoon or strainer. Using a scale measure 10% alum to the weight of fabric. To find the 10% multiply the weight of fabric X .10. Add the alum to the pot of warm water and stir until dissolved. Alum is a positively charged salt that acts as a bonding agent to help the dye and fabric stick together. You can find it in your grocery store usually in the spice or seasoning section.
Add the presoaked cloth to the bath. Slowly place the fabric into the bath and then stir the fabric occasionally, every 10-15 min will do. Let keep the fabric sit in the dye for 60min.
Remove the fabric from the dye and rinse in COLD water. Once the water runs clear, continue hand washing with laundry detergent. Any non-bleach detergent will do. Use enough to cover the bottom of the detergent cap. Continue washing with the detergent till the water runs clear, and then hang to dry. Once the cloth is completely dry remove rubber bands. Hand wash once more before machine washing.