Purple / Grey Natural Dye

Updated: Nov 23, 2019

Today I will write about my first Purple/Grey dye experience using 1 large purple Cabbage. Later on i also add 1 bag of frozen blueberries.

What you need

1. Pot 4-6 litre, tongs, measure and stirring spoons, heat, washing sink/tap

2. Gloves, apron,

3. 1 large purple cabbage, 1 med bag frozen blueberries.

4. Cotton or Linen Fabric

5. Well lit and ventilated area.

Note - None of the cookware or instruments should ever be used for cooking food to eat in once you use them for dyeing. You can pick up all of the above for a fraction of the usual price at a garage sale, used furniture store or Kmart.

Method

Fill the pot 3/4 way with either cold or warm water, put on med-high heat.

Whilst this is heating up chop up the cabbage then place in the pot, once the water is about to boil reduce the heat and simmer for around 1-2 hours. Regularly check the pot, don't let it boil as heat can destroy the dye. Once the water looks nice and purple you can test a sample square of fabric by placing it in the water for a few minutes, remove, rinse to see colour. Remember it always dries a little lighter.

When you are satisfied the cabbage has lost all it's colour you can remove it from the dye pot and discard. Turn off the heat. Now your dye is ready to use. Place the fabric in the pot moving it around for 5-10 minutes, let it sit for 30-45 minutes or so then check the colour. If its not dark enough you can either return the fabric into the dyebath longer or turn the heat back on low and simmer for half hour. You can add a cup of salt to the solution or leave it in the pot (with no heat) overnight. I tried it with 2 lots of fabric to experiment, i would not recommend dyeing expensive fabric whilst learning. I left one in the pot overnight and removed the other, rinsed then put out to dry.

The following day I checked my fabrics.

The rinsed and dried fabric was more grey than purple. I removed the fabric from the pot, (the one that dyed overnight), it was darker, so i rinsed it and hung it out to dry.

The first bit of linen i decided to put back in the pot after adding the bag of blueberries (cooking as per the above) then placed the fabric in the pot to try to deepen the colour.

Once the blueberries had cooked into the cabbage dye pot i strained the berries then re dyed my fabric. The colour was a darker purple, I left it in for 1-2 hours then removed my fabric, rinsed then left it out to dry. Note dry in the shade as the sun will dull the colour dramatically.

Repeat cleaning process.

Below are the results.

Contact Bella Gordon

You can contribute to this blog, ask questions or email me at larz@bellagordondesign.com

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