Natural Dyeing: Colours from the Supermarket

This is the second part of my roundup of all the different natural dyes I have been experimenting on during the past year. The first part was about collecting yourself from the nature, but not everybody has the luxury of getting to collect from nature themself’s.  There are a lot of choices in the normal supermarkets as well. I love dyeing outside on the open fire when I´m at our summer cottage, but most of the time I live in small flat in the city. All you really need is a large pot that is used only for natural dyeing, strainer, some mordants like alum, kitchen weigh, maybe a thermometer and a visit to a supermarket.
from the kitchen

Onion skins are probably the best know source of colour and I think they are pretty amazing. There is so much pigment in the skins and the colours are really strong and varied. I tried both regular onion skins and red onion skins.  Black beans where an interesting experiment. There where some hits and misses but the blue colours where beautiful, you can read about part one and two here and here. Turmeric was a very spontaneous experiment and the colour came out strong. Beetroot and red gabbage where interesting but the colours are sadly fugitive. What should I try next?

bought from the shops

I also did some online shopping and bought walnut shellsmadder powder and cochineal. The colours are pretty, but for some reason the dyeing process is not a satisfying for me if I just order things online. It’s a lot more fun to make the dye yourself. I quess I love the hunt.


6 thoughts on “Natural Dyeing: Colours from the Supermarket

  1. Ei ihme että olet hämääntynyt, sillä – kaikki vaikuttaa kaikkeen.
    Pavut oliva eri lajia ja vaikka en olisivat olleet samaakin saisit eri sävyä lkuin aiemmin koska en todennäköisesti kasvoivat eri paikassa, saivat eri tavalla ravinteita, valoa ja lämpöä, ne poimittiin jossain määrin eri aikaan eri tavalla ja jälkeen päin käsiteltiin eri tavalla jne. jne. sama koskee kaikkia muuttujia värjätessäsi – kaikki muuttui. Mutta kaikista tuloksistasi tuli kuitenkin jotain sinisen sävyä. Väriaineen sininen on muutenkin hankala. Se kuuluu antosyaaneihin. Sekin on hiukan eri jokaisessa papulajissa.
    Voit kuitenkin ennen värjäystä tehdä helpon ja hauskan väritestin. Ota uuttamaasi väriainetta hiukan kolömeen lasiin ja järjestä jokaiseen eri pH; hapan esim tipalla etikkaa, neutraali (7) ja emäksinen hyppysellisellä ruokasoodaa. Näet heti millaiseksi väri muuttuu. Hapan punaisempaan, emäksinen sinisempään. Neutraalitilan väristä voi uumoilla tuleeko siitä violettia tai vihreää.

  2. You should try elderberries for a rich purple. Spinach makes a nice green and Sumac berries will make a red/megenta colour. Be sure you get the deepedt red ones you can find for the Sumac berries. Note: there’s only about a 2 week time frame to collect them.

    • Unfortunately as I live in Norther Europe (Finland). Elderberries and sumac berries are not native here. They sound really interesting though! I have never though about spinach! That might be interesting!

  3. Hi. I think you need something to bind the color to your yarn. A powder, but that thing can also be found in avocado shells and pits, så maybe try and color with black beans and pits?

    • You are correct. I mostly use alumn to mordanting, but like you say you can also use natural mordanting with tannin rich things. I have also written posts about my process of mordanting.

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