We have a lot of fun dying silks using herbs. Some of our favorites are Poke berries and Black Walnuts. It takes about 2 weeks total to do. All sorts of herbs can be used. I’ve used Dandelion blossoms to make a pale yellow, Goldenrod for a deeper yellow, Elderberry for a lovely blueish-purple and St. John’s Wort for a lime green! Poke berry is not color fast, but it is such a lovely color that we just try to re-dye our silks each year.
Try your hand at this fun and easy craft! Here’s how we did it:
To dye silks, first we filled a half gallon jar with the herb we were using. We broke up the green walnut hulls roughly and stuffed them in the jar. We then added enough water to fill each jar to the top then set them out in the sun for about a week, shaking every day.
The next week, we strained out the hulls and added 1/4 teaspoon of alum to the jar. You can find alum in the spice section at the grocery store.
Next, in went the silks. I buy ours from dharma trading. (the 35 x 35 make a great size). we’ve also dyed a silk dress, many cotton shirts and more that we found at a thrift shop with the walnuts. The colors range from olive drab to golden brown to a deep brown.
We pushed them in with a stick and make sure they are covered. Then we let them sit for up to another week, shaking & stirring daily, turning them with a stick to get all areas evenly exposed.
The longer they sit, the darker they get. When they had sat as long as we wanted them to, we drained out the liquid and rinsed with cool water until the water turned clear.
Rinsed and wet:
And dry. Can you see the leaf design??? That was a total accident caused by wrinkled fabric but a really nice one. You can add more effects by crinkling and rubber banding the fabric before stuffing it into the jar to dye.
What are you waiting for?! It’s time to dye! Go gather some walnuts, a jar and some cotton, linen, wool or silk fabric and get busy.
Want to learn more about Walnut and try out some more fun crafts and recipes? Check out the “Wonderful Walnut” ebook.