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Botanical Bundle Dyeing

If you're curious about the world of natural dyeing, then bundling is a brilliant way to get started because it's pretty much fail safe. There are no complicated recipes to follow, it really is as simple as selecting what flowers you want to use and placing them as your desire. The results are always intriguing and are usually quite unexpected! 

This Christmas, we've launched our brand new Botanical Bundle Dye Kit. Here we take you step by step through the process of Botanical Bundle Dyeing using our new kit. Each kit contains a pre-mordanted silk scarf (this means that it has already been prepared with a fixing agent to ensure that the natural dyes fix to it). They also contain five bags of botanical dyes, each one is presented beautifully in a cotton drawstring bag. We've included our favourite botanical dyes in dried form including hibiscus, rose, chamomile, marigold and turmeric. You'll also find some string and our printed instructions.

All you'll need is a sieve and a pot (or if you have a steamer, even better) and some white vinegar.

01

Preparing the steamer

If you have a steamer, you can skip this stage. Just make sure it is clean before using.

If you don’t have a steamer, fill 1/4 of your stainless steel pot with water and put it on a high heat. You will need to ensure that you have enough water to boil for around 1.5 hours. Make sure that you don't put in too much water though, as you don't want to submerge the fabric, or have it splashed when the water starts to boil. The idea is to create steam and to have the fabric sitting directly over it.

 

02

Preparing the fabric

Your fabric has already been mordanted. This means that it already contains a fixing agent which will ensure that the natural dyes bind to the fibers. 

However, for the best results we would recommend placing your fabric in a diluted bath of white vinegar for an hour before dying. Use one part vinegar to four parts water. You can either do this in your sink or another large pot. 

Once an hour has passed, run the fabric under the tap and carefully ring it out, but avoid twisting it too much. If you are working with silk, it's important to handle the fabric delicately so not to destroy the fibres.

You want your fabric to be damp but not wet when you start bundle dying.

 

03

Design

You are now ready to start your dye design! Lay your fabric out onto a clean, flat surface. Now comes the fun part. Begin placing your different dye materials as you desire. It’s entirely up to you how you wish to do this and whether you opt for a sporadic design or something more structured.

Note that the following dye matter gives the following colours:

Hibiscus - Dark Purple/Blue
Rose - Pink/Red
Chamomile - Yellows
Marigold - Orange
Turmeric - Yellow/Orange (less is more! Sprinkle with a teaspoon to avoid a big clump unless that's the look you're trying to achieve)

 

04

Rolling and Bundling

When you have completed your design, begin rolling the fabric, starting with a very small roll which will eventually get larger as you make your way down the length of the fabric. Try to keep the roll fairly tight so your dye matter does not fall out. Once you’ve rolled it up, roll it again over itself to create a circle and secure it using your string.

 

05. Steaming

Your pot of water should now be producing steam. Place your fabric into the sieve which should be directly over the steam. Make sure that the bottom of the sieve is clear of water - you don't want your fabric touching the liquid, just the steam. If you have a steamer, simply place your fabric inside and turn it on.

Leave your bundle here for around 1.5-2 hours and turn every 15 minutes, being careful not to burn yourself when doing so.

 

06. Unravelling and cooling

After 1.5 hours have passed, turn off the heat and leave your fabric to cool. Leave it rolled up overnight to allow the colours to ‘set’.

The following day, carefully unravel your fabric. Your fabric can be washed with cold water and if desired, a pH neutral soap (note that soaps which are not pH neutral may alter the colours!) to remove the dye matter and once dry, it can be ironed on a low temperature setting. 

Wear, flaunt, enjoy your new creation!