Dyeing fiber and fabric without using commercially-made chemicals has become quite a trending topic. There are lots of tutorials and suggestions for dyeing your fleece and fiber at home using items commonly found in your kitchen: fruit, vegetables, coffee and more! Natural dyeing is a great way to explore using color in your batts and fiber without using commercially-made chemical dyes. We’ve collected a lot of natural dyeing tips on our Pinterest board – check it out here.
Inspired by this article about dyeing with basic ingredients often found in the kitchen, we share our own guidelines for experimenting with natural dye techniques at home. Using the instructions below, feel free to experiment dyeing fiber with ingredients you already have on hand such as spinach, onion skins, ground coffee, or turmeric powder to transform your undyed fleece & fiber into colorful fibers to card and spin.
How-to Dye Fiber Naturally:
1. You will need to find a way to keep your smaller bits of fiber from running off. An easy way to do this is to put the washed locks in a lingerie bags that are used in the dryer. Preparing roving can be done with loosely tied strings around bundles (otherwise it could turn into quite the mess later on).
2. It’s time to gather your materials.
You will need:
-Natural dye material (whether it’s red onion, coffee, eucalyptus, etc)
3. Place the dye material into a pan and add water and vinegar. Bring the dye bath to a boil and let it boil for about 30 minutes. Once it boils, strain the water from the dye material saving the water in another pan. Dispose of the dye materials, and add the fiber to the dye bath. Bring the dye bath and fiber to a boil and let the fiber simmer gently for about 30 minutes. (Note: it is important not to stir or poke the fiber.)
4. Remove the fiber from the heat. NOTE: Shocking the fiber by rapidly changing the temperature is something to be avoided. Do not put the fiber in cold water while the fiber is still hot. It is recommended to let it sit for a few hours, or even overnight.
5. After the fiber cools remove it from the dye bath and use dish gloves to VERY gently squeeze out the excess dye and rinse in cool water. Lay the fiber out on a towel and gently roll it up to remove any other excess liquid. Once this has been done, lay the fiber flat, out of direct sunlight.
6. Card your fiber and Enjoy!
Share your pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #strauchfiber we’d love to see what you make!