Natural Dyes for Textiles & Wood

One of my students asked me how paint got its color. Of course, I could have simply explained  the color comes from pigments, perhaps shown a YouTube video, but that would not be nearly as fun (or as memorable). That amazing question inspired our next lesson. Over the weekend I began experimenting with creating effective natural dyes, safe for little (and big) hands. Next week we will begin to create our own dyes using turmeric, blueberries, mint and beets. Here’s how it works….

Tumeric

Turmeric Dye for Wooden Beads (Hot Water) 

  • 2 cups of distilled water (tap water has too many hard minerals)
  • 4 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • unfinished wood beads

Bring water to boil and stir in turmeric. Add 15-20 unfinished wooden beads and salt. Continue to boil for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and allow beads to soak in turmeric bath until cool. Rinse until water runs clear.

 

Turmeric Dye for Wooden Beads (Cool Water: Classroom Edition)*

  • 2 cups of distilled water (tap water has too many hard minerals)
  • 4 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • unfinished wood beads

Pre-soak beads in distilled water. Bring water to boil and stir in turmeric and salt. Allow mixture to cool. Place beads in cool dye bath and allow leave overnight. Rinse beads until water runs clear.

*Cool Water Bath Recipe produces a lighter color bead

IMG_9992

Turmeric beads (yellow), blueberry beads (magenta) and blackberry beads (light pink). The blackberry beads were dyed using a cold water technique while the brighter beads were done using hot water.

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