Yum! It’s the season when fruit is abundant. However, sometimes fruit is so abundant that it starts falling off the trees. Sometimes the birds and raccoons get to your trees first. If you have an oversupply of fruit or vegetables that aren’t fit for eating, reuse them before you send them to the compost. They’re perfect for fruit and vegetable dyes.
Choosing Your Fabric
Fruit and vegetable dyes work best with natural fabrics like cotton, linen and silk. Old, stained cotton t-shirts can turn into a children’s craft project. Cotton bed sheets from the thrift store can turn into a craft project as well. If you’re making gifts for children, turn blank white silk scarves into play silks for the kids. These make fabulous tents or dress ups.
Salt and Vinegar Fabric
To help vegetables and fruits dye the fabric, you can use a mordant. You don’t need anything that’s particularly fancy. Salt is excellent for berry dyes, while vinegar helps other plant dyes. Use four parts water to one part vinegar or half a cup of salt to eight cups of water. Boil the fabric in the mordant for twenty to thirty minutes before dyeing. This helps the dye infuse into the fabric.
What fruits make the best dye? While you can dye with any fruit, fruits with strong colors make the strongest dyes. The fruit you use depends on what you have on hand as well. If you have a lot of plums that have fallen to the ground, then use plums!
Raspberries and red plums make lovely red dyes. Strawberries dye things pink – the perfect use for those mouldy strawberries in your pile. Blueberries and grapes will give you purple.
You can also use other parts of the plant to create dyes. It’s fairly simple to dye with beets. After all, they dye your hands anyway! Beets create a purple, red, and sometimes orange dye, depending on how long you dye the fabric. Carrots are a good way to dye things orange. If you’d like to make a fancy pink dye, mix up old rose petals in the water.
Projects To Make With Dye
Looking for a project that will allow you to experiment with dye? The simplest project is to give new life to something old. An old cotton bag or a t-shirt is the perfect guinea pig for a dyeing project. Use elastic bands to bunch up sections and dip it into dye, and you can also tie-dye shirts and bags.
If you’d like to get even more creative, how about a rag rug? Tear up sections of an old cotton sheet and dye them different colors. Braid them together and sew the braids together, and you have a rag rug. If you want to make a much smaller rag project, try making little rag coasters or placemats.
A child’s play tent is another item that’s simple to make out of an old sheet. Get three pieces of doweling and connect the tops so that they stand up like a teepee. Get one or two old sheets and dye them in fanciful colors, then sew them together until they reach around the dowels. Now you have a play tent.
From fancy flags to groovy bags, the things that you can dye are just about endless. With some salt or vinegar, water, a pot, and a fruit or vegetable, you can dye natural fabrics in a completely non-toxic way, for pennies.