Tuesday, 26 July 2011

blueberry dye

Wondering about a craft that combines blueberries and bandanas? Well, look no further.

A clever aunt put together a box of cottage fun which included some natural dye experiments. We tried three dyes: blueberry, onion, and beet.

Blueberry dye: Mash 2 cups of blueberries and add about 4 cups warm water. Set in the sun for the morning. Strain and reserve the dark liquid. Dissolve 3/4 cup salt in hot water and add it to the blueberry mixture to help set the dye.

Onion dye: Peel 3 onions. Place the peels in 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Strain the liquid, then add 3/4 cup salt and stir to dissolve.

Beet dye: Chop and soak beets. Cook for about 20 minutes or set in the sun for the morning. Strain the liquid. Dissolve 3/4 cup salt in hot water and add it to the beet liquid.

1. Find white things like bandanas, t-shirt, onesies, underwear, pillow cases, etc.

2. Tie little knots all over the fabric, or use elastic bands to make twists by grabbing a small section of the fabric, twisting it as tightly as possible and then fastening an elastic band tightly around the twist. Make these twists all over the fabric.

3. Dip the little twists or knots into the dye, holding the fabric in the dye for several minutes. The longer it soaks, the darker the dye.

4. Place it in a plastic bag to set overnight.

5. Rinse the fabric the next day, starting with warm water, then cool, until the water runs clear. Remove elastic bands while rinsing.

6. Hang up the fabric to dry.

7. Wash and dry these items separately just in case the dye is not completely rinsed out.

We found that the blueberry one worked best, followed by the onion, then beet. If you've tried other natural dyes, I'm all ears.


  1. Oh perfect! We were just looking for a project for today. Thanks :)

  2. A little later in the season, take the red seed clusters from sumac trees; they make a beautiful light brown dye. I had sumac pants one year.