Every spring the girls & I gather flowers to roll up & steam, creating a natural tie dye effect that is so simple and fun!
Pictured here we gathered flowers from the nursery. Coreopsis is a wonderful dye flower that produces vibrant color. You can view all our coreopsis varieties here. We tried stamping the flowers as well with a mallet. The girls loved both methods, but steaming was more satisfying to me for some reason.
Tools you'll need:
~Large pot of water with steam insert and lid. Fill with water and boil so it's ready while you place your flowers.
~Some natural fabric. Linen, Cotton is all I've played with but silk takes color really well.
~A second large pot for the mordant
~Mordant...alum & washing soda. Alum I bought on Amazon along with these cotton bread clothes. Washing soda you can find anywhere, I bought ours from Azure. I put a 1 cup of each in a pot with a gallon of hot water and brought it to a low simmer, not boiling. You'll see a bubbly reaction which is what you want to achieve. Be cautious while handling powders and wear gloves/a mask.
This changes the ph allowing the color to adhere to the fabric permanently.
Soak your fabric (I put in three towels to the pot) in this concoction and simmer for an hour. Make sure your fabric is submerged under water.
stems make really beautiful markings as well. Use buds, leaves, petals.
~String or rubber bands
Once your fabric has soaked in the mordant, wring it out and hang up to dry just a little till the towel is moist, not soaked. If it's too dry get your fabric wet again before placing flowers. If your fabric is too dry it doesn't take color very well.
Lay out your fabric and place the flowers on half of the material. Fold the empty half over. This will create a symmetrical pattern of color on both sides. You do not have to do it this way, but could just sprinkle the flowers all over then roll it up.
After you've placed the flowers and folded in half, start rolling the fabric tightly up till you can tie it in a bundle with string. If you wanted a more stamped flower look roll up your fabric around a wooden dowel that would fit in your steamer.
Once it's tied up you can place it in your steamer for 20 minutes. Remove with tongs, let cool and unfold! The colors will be vibrant and fade a bit like the pictures below. Without using the mordant I've found that the colors just wash out to a brown color, but with the mordant the colors only fade to a more subtle hue.
Let the fabric dry laying flat so the colors don't bleed too much.
Remove any petals. Gently wash out any extra color and let dry again on a flat surface.
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