Naturally Dye Silks. - The Magic Onions

Naturally Dye Silks.

 I have a treat for you tomorrow. Jennifer from the enchanting Syrendellis going to be our guest on Discovering Waldorf and her topic will be The Magic of Play Silks. I can’t wait for you to read all about how play silks fit into Waldorf and the many ways silks can ignite imaginative play. I truly think that if we were to be stranded on a deserted island and could only take ONE plaything with us, I’d choose play silks for my children.

So, I thought I’d precede Jennifer’s post with a tutorial on how you can dye your own silks using everyday, natural, dyes…

I have a few of the white silks available in my shop, Fairyfolk, if you’d like to have a try (click here for the actual listing). If you are going to be using natural dyes, it’s best to use a mordant, which helps the dye to penetrate the silk and will make your silk more colorful. The mordant I use is Alum. The white silks available in my shop have all been pre-soaked in Alum for immediate dying.

The first dye we used is beetroot.

Naturally Dyed Silks, using plant material to die silks

Cut the beetroot up into small cubes.

Beetroot Dye, use beetroot to dye silk

Put beetroot into a pot of water and bring to the boil.

Waldorf Handwork, dye silks using natural materials

When the water is boiling, add your silk. As my kids help me with the dyeing (very carefully of course as I do not want them to get burned) I turn off the heat before adding the silks. We then let the silks sit in the red beetroot water. They stir the pot occasionally until our silk has reached the color we want it to be (not too long for light pink, longer for deeper pink/reddish). We carefully take it out of the hot water and rinse it in cold water. Hang on the line to dry and Voila! You have a beautifully naturally dyed play silk.

Next we used New Zealand Flax. It grows in our garden.

Use New Zealand Flax as a dye, hand dye silk using flax

All parts of the plant can be used. Cut off a bunch of flowers and leaves.

Dye silk using natural materials

It’s always such a fun adventure to guess what color a plant is gong to make our silk.

Natural Gold, hand dye silks naturally with New Zealand Flax

Cut the Flax up in to small bits in your dying pot.

Waldorf craft, natural dyeing

Flowers, stalks, leaves and all.

Cover with water. Put on the stove and bring to a boil.

Once it is boiling, add the silk and stir. You’ll see the silk take on the magically golden color of the flax. Let it sit until it has reached the intensity of color you desire.

Take it out of the pot, rinse in cold water and hang it on the line to dry… Voila! Your beautifully golden playsilk is ready to become your kind knights cape, your golden mountain for your playthings or your pretty gold table cloth for your tea party.

For more natural dying tutorials, please visit AuroraEchoes of a Dream and  Fiona Duthie’s Blog (aah, the beauty!)

Please pop back in tomorrow for Jennifer’s post on the magic of play silks.

Blessings and magic,

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Donni Webber is the mom behind the popular natural living Waldorf website and blog, The Magic Onions - where the magic of nature and the wonder of childhood collide to make each moment a precious gift. She is a photographer, writer, crafter, wife and mother of two inspiring young children. Her work has been featured in many popular publications, including HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens, Disney and Apartment Therapy.

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  1. Yay! This is just what I needed to see today – I am hoping to dye silks soon and I have plenty of beets around! :) I’m going to try using turmeric, and tansy, too…

    Thank you, looking forward to the syrendell post!

  2. Hi, we just did a post last week on this here
    funny enough. Blueberries were surprisingly good, as were strawberries! Also we got a surprising orange from our variety of beetroots. It’s such an unexpected surprise each time. Thanks for the alum tip…that’s what I’ll try next time! Lovely post xxx

  3. This is so extremely cool! Adding this to SUnday Surf!

  4. Beautiful!

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