I absolutely love playing with plants!
I love cooking with them, creating medicine from them, cleaning with them, going on long hikes to look at them closely, learning botanical features of plants and on and on and on.
Inspired by Kristine Brown of the Herbal Roots Zine, I’ve found another way to play with plants.
Of course everyone knows you can use plants to dye things. I’ve known this, filed it away as an interesting idea and then went on my way. But a couple months ago I was with my young friend and we were learning about turmeric using the Herbal Roots Zine as a guide.
As part of the crafts section Kristine had dyed some play scarves using turmeric. My young friend’s eyes lit up and she exuberantly exclaimed that she wanted to do that.
How could I refuse such enthusiasm?
So I ordered the scarves, got a dye pot and took the turmeric off the shelf. I was a little nervous about the procedure. I’d never dyed anything before. But following Kristine’s easy instructions we created our first turmeric scarves.
I do feel it’s my duty to warn you about this whole dying thing. It’s addictive!
I couldn’t just stop with turmeric scarves, oh no! Since then I’ve had to try black walnut and elderberry as well. I’ve ordered lots more scarves and I hope my friends and family enjoy them, because I am cooking up all my gifts for the entire year. I just can’t help myself!
Are you ready to make beautiful scarves using plants as a dye?
Here’s what you’ll need
- 3/4 CUP of turmeric powder
- large dye pot (we used stainless steel)
- 1-2 scarves (I bought the habotai scarves from here)
Fill your dye pot half full of water and bring this to a boil.
Add the turmeric powder and continue boiling for an hour.
Add the scarves to the boiling mixture stirring them in. Use a spoon that you don’t mind staining yellow. (Turmeric will stain anything it touches an orange/yellow color!)
Continue to boil the turmeric powder and scarves for an hour.
You can check them every twenty minutes or so to check on the color. (Remember the color will lighten when the scarf dries. I’ve done several batches of turmeric scarves and I have preferred the color after an hour, but please experiment!.)
Once you are satisfied with the color, take the scarves out of the mixture using tongs.
Place them in a bowl and then rinse the scarves with running water until the water runs clear.
Dry these et voila!
You have beautiful hand dyed scarves which make wonderful gifts.
You can use a variety of plants as a dye.
Walnut makes a rich brown color and can be done in the exact same way as the turmeric scarves.
Other plant dyes may need to be treated with a mordant!