Dye Job – Natural and Otherwise

Dye Job – Natural and Otherwise

No this post is not about dying my hair. Trust me, that’s never going to happen. I’m not big on food dyes. I try to avoid them in the things I buy and have only used my my little vials of food coloring once in the past two years.  (When I unsuccessfully tried to make cute cupcakes to impress the pre-teen girls I taught at church, which was silly on so many levels.) With Easter coming up I’ve tossed around the idea of dying Easter Eggs and in my green sleuthing have found several suggestions of how to dye eggs naturally. While I’ve decided to hold off on that tradition for at least another year (I’m just not ready to deal with that potential mess), I thought I’d share my two favorite findings. There’s these suggestions from Annie’s Eats and these from 100 Days of Real Food. If you try either of them, you’ll have to let me know how it goes.

Now, before you begin to admire me for how green I am, let’s talk about the second dye debacle of my week. I saw a wreath on Pinterest that proclaimed itself to be “super easy” and seemed fairly green to me (made out of old t-shirts and cereal boxes). I wanted something to make my house more springlike, so I decided to make it, but found I didn’t have any sacrificial t-shirts that were the appropriate colors. So, I picked up some Rit Dye while I was at the fabric store and didn’t really think anything of it until I was reading the instructions and some of the warnings made me begin to question how eco-friendly (or just plain safe) the product was. (Keep in mind, I stay current with some people/organizations that are pretty intense in their chemical avoidance.) Then I had one of my classic brain debates:

Well, it’s not like you’re eating it. But the clothes will be touching your skin. All. Day. Long. It is helping you reuse something. But it will be wasting water and flushing questionable stuff down the drain.

(By the way, this type of debate is the reason why it takes me so long to shop and I’m constantly being asked by employees if I need help.) In the end, the dye won out and I added a few stained shirts to the mix to help me feel like I was at least extending the life of clothes that might otherwise be tossed. I opted to use the “bucket method” as I thought I’d have more control over the color and limit the amount of water I used. In retrospect, I think the “washing machine method” might actually be the way to go since the color would probably be distributed more evenly and the machine is probably more efficient at rinsing things out than I am.

Sadly, the wreath didn’t end up being as quick (which is what I interpreted “super easy” to mean) as I thought. By the time I got to 2 1/2 hours of rolling fabric and using the glue gun I was getting pretty agitated (and so were my kids). But now it’s done and I can leave the dyes and the crafting alone for awhile. Phew.

5 thoughts on “Dye Job – Natural and Otherwise

    1. I thought about trying some of the egg dyes on fabric, but wasn’t sure how colorfast they would be. Perhaps I should experiment. My brief google searching didn’t produce any products you could buy, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any out there. Part of me wonders if dying stuff is just one of those things that will never be 100% eco-friendly.

  1. That turned out really cute! I just finished mine and improvised to make it go faster because I was too lazy to roll all the flowers.

  2. I love the wreath! I really dislike the debates I have with myself 😛

    I didn’t look at your Easter egg website suggestions yet, but recently one of the blogs I have on my reader (one of my favorites – maybe you follow her…? Kitchen Stewardship) tested some good dye options and they seemed to work well enough. Turmeric=yellow, beet powder=red, blue corn extract=blue and chlorophyll=green. I hope to buy them all!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *