Making your own natural dyes is a lovely way to craft your own projects, from clothes to home furnishings. Nature provides all the colour glory you need, without need to use chemical dyes. Conventional textile dyes often contain toxic chemicals (in India, some street dogs have turned blue, from bathing and drinking water from rivers where dye used to make denim jeans ends up in the water). Around 90% of clothes use synthetic dyes, which use hundreds of tons of water and create a ‘toxic chemical soup’ of waste. Rivers and streams in the main fashion-producing countries like Bangladesh have turned black, due to the dirty water supplies. This of course also harms wildlife that live in them. Azo-dyes are often used for fast fashion, which cause health concerns. Just watch for some ‘eco dyes’, as many still use chemicals to bind the ‘natural colours’.
Common natural dyes include onion skins, chamomile, comfrey and nettles. Keep natural dyes away from pets, as some contain toxic ingredients like acorns, avocado and toxic plants.
Natural Kitchen Dyes shows how to use vegetable peels to create blush pinks and peaches, fruit skins to make lemon yellows, a green dye sourced from carrot tops, dried spices and used tea bags to create vibrant yellows, rich terracottas and deep browns. Learn how to dye fabric and find 10 eco conscious projects to show off the natural dyes, and help to eliminate waste. Several projects use waste that would otherwise be composted or recycled like old cloths (turned into bags and patchwork floor cushions) to dried pulses past their expiration date, to make a beaded necklace.
Fibershed is a book by natural dyer and weaver Rebecca Burgess, who has started a ‘local textile movement’ in California. Rather than importing toxic chemical dyes and fabrics, crafters grow and use locally grown fabrics like flax and hemp, and use natural dyes to give different colours. A wonderful idea to help stop pollution and climate change (from flying in fabrics) and create skilled local artisan jobs.
Botanical Inks shows you how to transform foraged wild plants, garden produce and recycled food into dyes and inks. Extract environmentally sustainable colour from the landscape, and use it to create natural dyes for textiles, clothing and paper. The book covers surface application techniques, bundle dyes, wood-block and screen printing.