Today, Emma Riley shares a tutorial on dying wool using natural dyes and the sun. It’s a super summer craft to enjoy with the kids… they’ll be amazed at the beautiful colors they can create using nature.
Emma designs beautiful ceramic art. I discovered her work a few months ago and am literally smitten. I love how she bring natural elements into her pieces. I’ll showpiece a few of my current favorites at the end of the tutorial.
Dyeing Wool with Natural Dyes and the Sun
When the sun is stronger in the sky and the grey of winter is far behind us my thoughts always turn to colour. Dyeing textiles often has the reputation of being either difficult or hazardous but using the power of the sun and natural dyes you can get range of colours without getting complicated. This is an easy way to dye with children over a season…
You will need :
· A wide necked glass jar
· Equal amounts of fleece and dyestuff.
· Gloves (unless you want dyed hands!)
(If you want to make the colour more lightfast / stronger you can mordant with 8% alum and 7% cream of tartar but read up on this* and only adults should do it. Don’t use items you cook with for dyeing and wear proper protection.)
Cut up your dyestuff into small pieces (wear gloves) and alternate between dyestuff and fleece in the jar. Fill up to the top. Add water, seal and put on a sunny windowsill or in greenhouse for the next few months. Watch as the colours change gradually and when the summer is over wash out gently (wear gloves) and be warned it will be smelly (possibly very smelly!) However you will have created beautiful colours using the power of the sun. The colours may not be strong in some cases but they will be natural.
Easy Natural Dyes
Onions skins – yellow onions will give reds and burnt oranges,
red onions will produce yellow and orange shades
Red Cabbage – blues and purples
Coffee grounds – soft browns
Elderberries / Blackberries – soft purples, lavender greys.
Note. In the photos Portland refers to a type of rare breed sheep we have in the UK.
Inspiring books / articles on natural dyeing
Thank you for this fun tutorial, Emma… we’ll be adding it to our Summer To-Do list for sure.
As promised, here are a couple of my favorite pieces…
Blessings and magic,