Upcycling clothing is a hobby, and those who have this hobby always look for innovative methods to repurpose old clothes. It’s an excellent method to keep your items from going unused in the closet or getting thrown away and squandered.
Dyeing something a new color is one of the simplest things you can do. You cannot believe what kind of difference this can make, and you’ll be wearing it all the time again.
There is, however, one issue with this. Most store-bought textile dyes contain many harmful chemicals, which will most likely end up down your drain and into our rivers following the dyeing process. Upcycling garments to keep them from going to waste defeats the purpose of polluting the environment in the process.
But don’t worry, we have got a fantastic option for you! – Use natural dyes that are simple to prepare at home. Natural dyes were the only way to give fabrics and garments lovely colors before ready-made dyes became accessible.
How to Get Dye Out of Plant Material
Cut huge plant material into 1-inch pieces to begin. Start with roughly one quart of plant material in your large pot and enough water to cover it by an inch or so for blooms and new leaves and stems. To extract the color, boil for 20 minutes. To make the dye bath, strain the ingredients.
If you soak the plant material overnight and then boil it for thirty minutes, you’ll obtain a more excellent color. Strain the colored water, then cover the bark with water and re-boil. You can repeat this process to get more dye.
Stainless steel or unchipped enamel pots are ideal for color extraction. Aluminum pots can be used, although dark dyes can permanently discolor them. Colors will darken if you use iron pots. Because some mordants and plants might be hazardous, you may want to have a specialized dye pot if you plan to dye frequently.
What Kinds of Natural Dyes Can Be Used?
Natural colors are particularly remarkable because many of the components may be obtained right in your backyard! Many colors can be obtained naturally from roots, nuts, and flowers, to name a few. When you go to the grocery store, you have a plethora of alternatives at your disposal.
Here are some of the natural materials you can utilize (along with the colors you’ll obtain).
· Blue: indigo, woad, red cabbage, elderberries, red mulberries, blueberries, purple grapes, dogwood bark
· Red-brown: pomegranates, beets, bamboo, hibiscus (reddish color flowers), bloodroot
· Yellow: paprika, marigolds, sunflower petals, turmeric, celery leaves, lilac twigs, Queen Anne’s Lace roots, mahonia roots, bay leaves, St John’s Wort, dandelion flowers, barberry roots, yellowroot roots, yellow dock roots
· Grey-black: Blackberries, walnut hulls, iris root
· Red-purple: red sumac berries, daylilies, pokeweed berries, huckleberries, basil leaves,
· Orange: carrots, gold lichen, onion skins
· Brown: dandelion roots, oak bark, walnut hulls, tea, coffee, acorns
· Pink: berries, cherries, red and pink roses, avocado skins and seeds
· Green: artichokes, lilacs, grass, nettles, plantain, peach leaves, sorrel roots, spinach, peppermint leaves, snapdragons.
How to prepare the dye bath?
Plant material should be cut into small pieces and placed in a pot. Increase the amount of water applied to the plant material twofold. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat for about an hour. Return the dye to the pot after straining.
To dye your clothes, follow these steps.
There are three distinct ways to dye your garments, according to Rit’s website (which you can also find when you buy the dye):
• Using a washing machine: Place your fabric in the washing machine after it has been wet. Mix your dye with four cups of boiling water in a cup and whisk thoroughly. If you are dying the natural fabric like cotton or linen, dissolve one cup of salt in four cups of very hot water in a separate container. Mix a cup of white vinegar with two to four cups of boiling water if you’re dying silk or nylon. Remove the detergent cup from the detergent tray and pour your coloring solution into the dispenser after adding a teaspoon of dish detergent to the container. Pour in the salt or vinegar solution after that. Fill the dispenser with four more cups of hot tap water and flush it well. Then, on the hottest setting possible, wash for 30 minutes.
• Using the Stovetop: Fill a pot with just enough water to allow your garment to move around in it, cover, and heat to just below boiling. Follow the dye box’s mixing instructions, but as the water begins to simmer, add the dye solution and stir well. After that, add the clothing and keep everything on low heat. For the first 10 minutes, stir slowly and consistently, paying close attention (which are the most critical in the process). Clothing can stay in the dye bath for up to an hour, but the length of time depends on the sort of fabric you’re dying of. Remove and squeeze off excess dye after it appears to have attained your chosen hue (bearing in mind that it seems somewhat darker when wet).
• The sink or bucket method: Fill a container (a bucket or sink) halfway with 140°F water. Follow the dye’s mixing instructions, then add to the dyebath and thoroughly mix. With a paper towel, test the color: if it’s too light, add more dye; if it’s too dark, add more water. Wet your garment before putting it in the dye bath. Stir slowly and consistently, especially for the first 10 minutes, to ensure that the color is even and there are no strange splotches. Please keep it in there for up to 30 minutes until you have the color you want, remove it, and squeeze out the excess dye.
The very last step in your home dying process is to rinse thoroughly. So, if you dye anything at home and rinse it, keep rinsing if there is a dye in the rinse. Continue until the water is clear and safe to drink. Remember that the higher the water temperature you use during rinsing, the more the color will attach to the fabric, so try to keep it as hot as possible during this step. To get the most outstanding results, hang your clothes to dry when you’re finished.