How to dye fabrics at home

How to dye fabrics at home: a guide that will show you how to use natural dyes for coloring yarns and fabrics. How to color fabrics at home.

Dyeing fabrics at home it is possible thanks to the pigmentation obtained from natural ingredients such as plants, flowers and in some cases even insects. In this guide we will seehow to dye fabrics at homewith mulberry leaves and fruits and blackberry buds.

At one time, textile dyes had nothing to do with industrial chemistry. Natural dyes dictated history until 1858 when Perkin, assistant director of the Royal College of Chemistry in London, patented the firstsynthetic textile dyederived from tar, until then only plant extracts were used such as henna withLawsonia inermis,natural horsetail dyes, blueberry extracts, dyes from blackberry buds, textile dyes from lichens, madder ... Today, whoever wantsdye fabrics at homeit can use exactly the same techniques used several centuries ago. It's possiblecolor the fabricsof different shades starting from different DIY plant extracts.

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How to dye fabrics at home

With this technique it will be possibledye fabrics at homeyellow, purplish, lilac, violet or ruby. All starting with the same plant, the mulberry. White mulberries are widespread in ItalyMorus albaand black mulberriesMorus nigra. The white mulberry differs from the black one in the color of the fruits.

Mulberry plants are rich in different types of pigments, found mainly in the bark, wood and leaves. Thanks to these pigments it is possiblecolor the fabrics(cotton, wool and more ...) in a solid way.

To process textile dyes with mulberry leaves, they will need to be harvested during the summer season. Fruit harvested in full ripeness in July can also be used to dye fabrics. The only drawback of the purple hues obtained from the fruits of the black mulberry is that after a certain number of washes, they tend to discolour if not treated with chemical agents designed to fix the color.

For dye fabrics at home, collect the fresh leaves. The amount of leaves depends (of course!) On how much fabric you need to color: weigh the fabric and collect an equal quantity of leaves. For 100 grams of cotton you will need 100 grams of leaves. If you use the fruits, you will need double the weight of the homemade coloring fabric.

For the mordanting of the wool skein, you will need materials such as powdered potassium alum (an amount equal to 20% of the weight of the dry yarn to be dyed). For example, 20 grams of potassium alum per 100 grams of wool. Powdered cream of tartar equal to 6.2% of the weight of wool (6.2 grams on 100 grams of fabric).

Fordye fabricsprepare a macerate with the coarsely broken leaves and soak overnight in warm water. Following maceration, heat until the first bubbles appear (be careful! You do not have to boil the liquid!), Turn off and let it rest at temperature for another hour.

Filter the leaves and set the liquid aside: this will be yourscolor bath. Before etching, wash the fabrics with Marseille soap and warm water to remove any impurities.

After etching, proceed with the real dyeing: immerse the wet and already modulated yarn in the dye bath. Reheat the liquid once again as described above. Turn off the stove and let the skein cool in the dye bath for about an hour. Remove the fabric from the dye bath, rinse it in plenty of fresh water and let it dry in the dark. Once dry, you will have obtained a yellow colored fabric!

The photo was taken in a textile workshop in Turkey, which specializes in artisanal dyeing of wool, cotton, silk and its derivatives.

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