REMEDY: BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BUNDLE DYEING

PHOTOS BY ADAM ROYER

intro & INSTRUCTIONS BY ADRIANA MORENO

If you have ever been curious about natural dyes, then bundle dyeing is a great introduction for beginners.  Bundle dyeing is fun, simple and sustainable.  You can start with things you already have in your kitchen or garden.  Many of our common, everyday food scraps are a great source of beautiful color, like onion skins, avocado skins (and pits), carrot tops, orange peels, and turmeric.

Depending on the season, you can forage greenery from your backyard or neighborhood such as fallen leaves, ferns, and dandelions.  Once you try this natural dyeing technique, I guarantee you’ll never look at nature the same way again.

 
MATERIALS

  • Fabric: Natural fabrics work best for natural dyeing. Pre-wash and cut as desired

  • A variety of dye materials: Leaves, flowers from your garden, onion skins, dried rose pedals, etc. 

  • Heat source: Stove or hot plate

  • Double steamer, or bamboo steamer

  • Bucket

  • Water

  • Vinegar or Aluminum Acetate (depending on mordanting method)

  • Stick, skewer, or pipe

  • Twine

  • Scissors

INSTRUCTIONS

STEP ONE

Prepare your fabric for dyeing by mordanting: a mordant is a water soluble salt that creates a bond between the fiber and the dye. 

For every 100 grams of fabric, add 2 teaspoons of aluminum acetate.  Dissolve aluminum acetate in a cup of hot water.

Add aluminum acetate mixture along with your goods to a vessel of hot tap water.  Making sure goods are fully submerged, cover the pot/bucket. Let the goods sit for 2 to 24 hours (longer is better). 

An alternative mordanting method would be to simply soak your fabric in a bucket containing three parts water and one part vinegar for one hour.

STEP TWO

Wring out excess liquid from your fabric then lay it flat on your work surface. Place your foraged dye materials along one half of the fabric. Have fun experimenting with different placements and designs.

STEP FOUR

Place the stick on one end of your folded fabric and begin rolling the fabric tightly around the stick.  Feel free to add more petals or greenery as you roll your bundle.  

STEP THREE

Once you’re happy with your design, fold the other half of the fabric over the dye materials. Gently press down and smooth the top of your fabric.  

STEP FIVE

Wrap twine tightly around your fabric bundle from one end to the other. Secure ends of twine with knots.

STEP SIX

Steam your fabric bundle for 2 hours in the steamer. You can make a variety of bundles and steam them all at once.

STEP EIGHT

Hand wash your goods in warm water and allow to dry, then press.

 

STEP SEVEN

Once your bundle has steamed for 2 hours, turn off the heat and allow to cool. (Optional: Let the bundle sit overnight.) Snip the twine and unwrap your bundle, removing the dye stuff material (you can compost your used dye stuff) and admire the magical results!

 

RESOURCES

MODERN NATURAL DYER

In this gorgeous and resource-rich book, Kristine Vejar of A Verb For Keeping Warm provides diverse practices and project ideas for naturally dyeing at home.

MOONSHADOW GOODS

Created by Adriana Moreno, Moonshadow Goods is a beautiful resource for handmade textiles and engaging natural dye workshops.

 
Kate WeinerComment