Natural dyed scarves

It’s been so much fun having my mom close by, she is full of fun knowledge we never got to go through as I was growing up. She always had a full time job, and I was  in school always with some extracurricular afterwards. Lately, we have been getting ready for The Backwoods VC&CS 5th annual Holiday Bazaar! Mom has her own experiments going on, but I have been collecting pokeweed berries all summer and storing them in the shoppe’s freezer 😉

Lots of materials you can gather for makin your dyes will freeze well so you can use them on a later date, although others don’t and you should use right after you harvest. When the Golden Rod bloomed, it was time….

Earlier in the summer we bought silk scarves to experiment with. Silk is the best material to hold natural dye.

The trick to making beautiful dyes, is to collect more material than you think you need…

The first step is to boil your material down to get the color out of it. Use a stainless steel pot- certain properties may react to other metals making the color you get not to be true. Fill pot with twice as much or more of material than water.

Make sure to stir your plant material as it cooks down. Simmer for 1 hour.

After your hour is up, all your material should have cooked down under the water. When ready, strain the material from your fresh dye! For me, this part is pretty exciting 🙂 You might need different sized strainer holes to catch different sized debris, seeds, etc, depending on what you’re making your dye from.

This is our yellow goldenrod dye after straining…

Mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons of Alum per gallon of dye…

Alum is your mordant, it locks the color in…..

See the chemical reaction starting already?!?!

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT??!! I had this sweet video to insert in here of the chemical reaction after we moved on, it still was boiling around…. it was pretty cool, but I can’t get it in here (check it out here, on our Facebook page!). Would be great to add in a little science class right here if you are homeschooling with your kids 🙂 

Now onto Pokeweed berries!! (frozen…) Cook down the same way as the Goldenrod… these have seeds in them of course, so you’ll need to strain a little better. Instead of using Alum, use Baking Soda- same ratio

BadaBing! Throw your scarves in!! Try using rubber bands and try your hand at tie-dying! throw them in one color, or half in one and half in the other! Either way, they should stay soaking for 24 hours or more. Make sure to poke at them every now and then to keep them under the dye.

After your 24 hours are up, fill your sink up a bit, add a good sprinkle of Baking Soda to your cold water for your Pokeweed side…

and Vinegar to your Goldenrod side…

Then throw your scarves in that and swish them around, they should stay in for about 15 minutes- this processes is to set the color. After swishing a bit, rinse out all the excess color, cut your bands and hang to dry!!

TADA!! As you can see, colors vary, I also decided I needed a bluish color to go with my yellow and redish (so I would have a variation of the primary colors...) To do that, we cooked down red cabbage leaves, red onion skin, and a few blueberries for fun :D When in doubt, use vinegar to set your color when you put it in the sink (the last step). Mama also made a batch of blackberry dye which is the purple color shown at the bottom of this picture.

TADA!! As you can see, colors vary, I also decided I needed a bluish color to go with my yellow and redish (so I would have a variation of the primary colors…) To do that, we cooked down red cabbage leaves, red onion skin, and a few blueberries for fun 😀 When in doubt, use vinegar to set your color when you put it in the sink (the last step). Mama also made a batch of blackberry dye which is the purple color shown at the bottom of this picture.

Look for the silk scarves’ debut at this year’s 5th annual Holiday Bazaar! Join us for a family fun packed day November 21st! {Vendors Wanted}

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