Begin this spring time project of dyeing fabric with dandelions by choosing your fabric which should be natural fabric like cotton, linen, bamboo or silk. These fabrics can be mordanted with alum which is a metallic salt, this can be found online and is used in cooking. Mordanting is a simple process but usually involves leaving the fabrics to soak for 24 hours. In my experience, to get the best colour you should use a mordant, to help the colour bond to the fabric, before following these steps.
Weigh your dry fabric and take note before soaking your pre-mordanted fabric in water so that the fibre is completely wet for an even coverage.
I used an equal amount of dandelions flowers and leaves to the dry weight of fabric used. You can also do this by eye, I would recommend using a generous amount.
Simmer the plant matter
Cover the dandelions in fresh water and leave to gently simmer for 1 hour.
Add the wet fabrics
Take the dandelions out or drain the dye solution, add the wet fabric and leave to simmer for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will see the fabric slowly becoming a delicate yellow with a slight fresh green tint. Once you turn off the heat, it’s best to leave the fabrics overnight so the dye can fully penetrate the fabric.
Hang to dry
Hang the freshly dyed fabric to dry in the shade, the colour will be significantly lighter in colour once dry. To achieve a darker shade, you could repeat the process. Below are samples of silk, linen, cotton and bamboo silk hand-dyed with dandelions. All fabrics were pre-mordanted.
I hope you enjoy this simple method of creating a beautiful delicate but fresh yellow onto your favourite natural fabrics. This is the perfect spring time project, to connect with the natural world and calm your mind.