Natural Dye Sample Tests no.5 of 2016


Hello everyone, here is the fifth installment of dye tests! Today I am sharing two tests both using dried petals. One test uses hot pink geranium petals and the other uses a mix of tulip petals and dried gentian flowers. This test is different in the sense that I took it on vacation with me so I had to make it travel sized. This wasn’t hard but it was different and it made it kind of fun because these tests can start to seem redundant with the process and this small change was just enough to put more interest in them. And as for the results this time round they were very surprising to me. I thought I would get a brown colour from the test that used a mix of petals and a pink colour from the geranium petals. But that isn’t what happened I wound up getting a yellow colour and a coffee/pink colour (depending on the fibre used).


Let us start at the beginning. I started the dyes at home the day before we left on vacation, then I took them with us on our road trip and finished them at the family cabin. If you have read these dye test posts before you know that all it takes to start the dyes is adding water to the dried dyestuff in their jars.



This takes about a minute to do and it isn’t like it is arduous work. So I did this back at home along with cutting snippets of fabric samples to take along. After that all I had to make sure I did was making sure I packed my testing needs into the car.



Then fast forward two to three days when the petals had let their colour seep into the water and we had arrived at our destination.


Then I scooped out all the depleted petals and placed in my various fabric samples.


The colours that had produced in the jars, as they were not what I was expecting, intrigued me. The geranium dye was a strange red-brown colour and the variety of tulips and geraniums gave me a vivid yellow colour. I was expecting a pink colour from the geraniums as I have used them in some frozen petal dye techniques before and they gave me a pink that was very much like the pink of the petal colour. And I wasn’t really expecting any colour from the plethora of petal dye. Perhaps a slight yellow colour or a brown colour both of which wouldn’t truly do anything to the fibres but I was wrong. I got a brilliant yellow.


As for the results of both dyes… The pink geranium dye gave me a range of milky coffee colour to pale avocado pink. This didn’t really seem to depend on whether the fibres were cellulose or protein it seemed to depend on if the fibres were linen or not as the linen appeared pink whereas everything else looked mocha coloured. Then the results of the yellow dye seemed relatively even when it can to absorbing colour it didn’t matter if the fibres were mordanted or not or if they were cellulose or protein fibres.


Overall I don’t know if I would list these dyes up there with my top natural dyes but the results were interesting and something to think about. I want to do further tests with the geraniums maybe as a solar dye to see if I can get a true pink out of them or not. And I think next year I will try to separate my gentian from my tulips to see which botanical gave me the vibrant yellow colour. But that is all for now, until next time!


Sincerely, L. C. Cariou





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