Hi there,

Welcome! My name is Rebecca and I'm a botanical dyer, designer, maker, writer and publisher (based in the UK).

I've written a book called 'Botanical Colour at your Fingertips' which shows you how to dye fabric and yarn with plants.

I'll be launching a magazine called 'Plants Are Magic' in March 2017.

Triple bundle dyeing with eucalyptus leaves

Triple bundle dyeing with eucalyptus leaves

I had a stem of dried eucalyptus leaves waiting to be used, so I decided to experiment with bundle dyeing for the first time. I used bamboo fabric that was pretreated in soya milk and left to cure for around a week.

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My son loved laying the leaves onto the fabric as I rolled up the bundle. He saw what I was doing and rather than stop him from touching it, I just let him get involved and he had so much fun.

Below is the result of steaming for one hour. I couldn't believe my eyes as I unrolled the fabric!

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I reused the same leaves in a second bundle with new fabric to see if the second steaming would extract even more colour, or perhaps different colours. This is an idea that I read about in one of India Flint's books.

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The colour was just as beautiful as the first bundle and there were flashes of yellow this time.Β 

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The leaves were used a third time.Β 

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I was amazed how much colour could be extracted from just a handful of leaves. Even the third print produced a pretty pattern.

Below are the three experiments. The first bundle is at the bottom and I discovered that the second steaming (middle) seemed to produce the deepest corals with the greatest range of colour.

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Bundle dyeing, or eco printing as it's also known, is definitely the most economical way of plant dyeing as such a small quantity of plant matter is needed.

In contrast, when extracting colour into a liquid dye bath, a 1:1 ratio of plant material to fabric is usually used, and a lot of colour is 'wasted' as it never attaches to the fabric and ends up poured away at the end of the process. When making a 'dye soup', the water acts as a middle man and holds the colour, but in bundle dyeing there is no middle man; the colour transfers directly from the plant into the fibre, with no colour wasted in the process. Also I feel that I used much less water steaming the bundles than I would in a dye bath, although I would need to actually measure the amounts to be certain.

After my first bundle dyeing experiment I am now hooked and can't wait to do more!

Bundle dyeing with avocado skin

Bundle dyeing with avocado skin

Painting with rusty water

Painting with rusty water

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