Natural Dye Sample Test no. 3 of 2016


Hello everyone, today is round three of summer dye tests! This week was rather busy for me as it was the last week of my spring course (so happy to be done!) so I didn’t run the usual three tests. I only did two: one was frozen orange peels and the other was dried red petunias.


To make the dyes I did what seems to be the new regular. Which is just soaking the dye stuff in water for a couple of days. I have learned that this is what yo do with both dried and frozen materials for dye baths as boiling just gives you a brown murky colour. Also I think this is great because you don’t get as many stinky smells as you would be with heating the dye. Also this week I did smaller dye tests, meaning I didn’t make a big jar of dye just a small one since I had limited dyestuff.


I will start with the petunia dye first. This year one of our hanging baskets is filled with tons of red petunias. I wait until they are dried and withered on the plant before plucking them off, then I just spread them out to dry some more on a wicker tray. As my freezer space is getting more and more limited with other petals…



Normally I would have waited until the end of the summer to do a test but I know I will be getting lots of these flowers all throughout the summer so I was less hesitant to do so than normal. Also I realized that there was no point in collecting all the flowers and putting off the dye tests. But I still didn’t want to use a lot of flowers, so in the end I just did a small dye bath.


When I first put the flowers in water I thought it would take at least an hour before I saw any colour leaching out. But to my surprise in about fifteen minutes colour had already begun bleeding out. And not slowly either. Within forty minutes the dye bath was this colour:


Even with the colour coming out so quickly I was a bit skeptical of it so I left the petals to  soak for another couple of days. This let the dye become this very deep dark colour. I can’t quite place my finger on what the exact colour was as I could see both bleu and red pigments in the dye. In looking at it and with some past experiences with dyes I thought I might get a silver colour from it or something that is similar to the black bean dye. But then yet again I was surprised because my fabric samples came out green! This is two dye tests in a row that I have gotten green!


This red petunia green is different from the hibiscus one I got last time, as it is not only darker in tone but also more of a khaki green. Whereas the hibiscus green was more of an olive-green.

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So this was an interesting experiment that I was not expecting (I was thinking I would get a purple or pink-like colour possibly). And I am happy that I’ll be getting lots of these flowers all throughout the summer to collect and store for the winter!


Now as for the orange peels. I collected these at Christmastime and they are satsuma peels and they still had the leaves on them and that is why I chose to keep them. I kept them in the freezer so I just added them to some water in a jar and let them soak for a few days then added my fabric samples.


I have to say that I was surprised by how much colour I got out of the peels. Truthfully I thought that there would be next to no colour and that it would be rather foggy. But the dye itself just looked like very watered down orange juice. And as for the colour I got out of the dye I was again pleasantly surprised as the fabrics actually did seem to absorb colour.


I wasn’t surprised by the yellow colour or the fact that it was mainly the silk samples that absorbed colours. But I was surprised that the canvas cottons absorbed some colour that almost looks orange. Just a little bit… Sort of like a melted creamsicle. Still despite this I am not sure I would ever use this dye on a regular basis as there are so many options for yellow dyes so if we have an excess of orange peels (I’m just going to go ahead and assume that all orange peels will give you the same results) I’ll consider this dye but otherwise probably not.


But it was nice to try out since I was curious and I had read about using orange peels as a dye before. So in conclusion: yay I found another source for green dye!!! And I can cross another kitchen waste that I read you can use as a dye off of my list. That is all for today until next time!






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