Sunday 27 March 2011

eucalyptus dyeing II

new dye baths

so i had these three dye pots, two with similar kinds of eucalyptus bark and one with a different, thicker kind, and i left them to sit for a little over a week, soaking, fermenting. i could already tell that the different one was going to be a bit reddish, not what i was going for. but mae and i added the cotton and linen scraps, pale pink, white and beige, some previously dyed.

fabric to dye


i left the scraps in the dye pots the entire week that we were away and didn't get a chance to deal with them for a couple of days more so they probably sat for a week and a half in total. i was hoping the long soak would result in some really strong colours and it did...

eucalyptus bark dye pot

this is the colour from the two dye pots, a lovely deep indigo like i had before...

eucalyptus bark dried

but when they dry they end up a lighter grey colour. which i actually like, too. but...

dried vs. washed+dried

when put through the washing machine and dried again (piece on the left), the colour is totally different. a rusty brown that i really dislike. damnit. so i'm wracking my brain to try and think what i can add to the dye pots to try and harness more of the indigo colour, something to make it stick. any ideas?

different eucalyptus bark dye

and like i expected, the third pot gave reddish brown shades. some of these i'll keep for some future project but most i'm going to redye.

eucalyptus leaves

i have one more pot on the go at the moment, using the round eucalyptus leaves above. i started it right before we left for a week and strained and added scraps to it a few days ago. the colour so far is an olivey grey (looks a bit more olive in person). liking this one so far...

eucalyptus leaf dye pot


  1. I'm really liking what you're doing here. I've had the Eco Color book for some time and had a good read through it at the beginning of the year. I love the natural and subtle colours you're getting. Maybe you need to add a different mordant to get the colour to stick? I'm assuming the only mordant you're using here is from the tin you are soaking in?

  2. yep, that's right, and the tins are going a bit rusty so that might be adding to it somehow... i really should get that book out from the library again and have a good read!

  3. I'm loving your experimenting.
    I've heard of salt being used as a fixative. This page might be useful to you, she lists vinegar as well & has a whole lot of info on different colours.

    I hope it works out. That indigo is gorgeous.

  4. I am shamelessly absorbing your experimenting with the hopes of short cutting my own! I want to try yarn dyeing, and I'm with you on wanting to avoid the browns. Off to do sow research I think.

  5. Anonymous3:52 pm


  6. Fascinating process... although must be frustrating to have the colour wash away like that. My Gran used to do dyeing with natural materials and used to get amazing varied colours depending on mordants. Wish I'd paid more attention...

  7. very inspiring! I'm thinking of trying some wool after reading this.

  8. so gorgeous im loving this project/experiment you are doing! i look forward to seeing more or if you find your solution for the indigo it really is beautiful!


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