One of the things I’ve wanted to experiment more with is natural dyes. My parents have a restaurant on Cape Cod , and they have been saving red onion skins for me. On my last trip, I dyed a few pieces of cotton fabric with them using a shibori technique. I used a recipe for the onion skin dye from Folk Fibers. Maura, the talented woman behind the brand, is an expert at natural dyes. The color on my fabrics came out differently than I was expecting from her post, but I think they are still very pretty.
If you’d like to try this out, the full how-to is after the jump.
-Washed cotton fabric (or any other natural fiber such as wool, silk, etc)
-Red Onion Skins
-2 large pots
Step 1: Make Dye
-Place your onion skins in a large pot.
-Cover the onion skins with water.
Step 2: Shibori Folding Technique
I folded the fabric using a modified version of a basic shibori technique. Fabric should be scoured prior to dyeing. If you do not have soda ash to do this, washing it with a detergent and no fabric softener should be ok.
-Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, and again twice more or until you have the desired width. The width of your fabric will change the gridded shibori pattern you achieve, so the wider your fabric is the wider your boxes will be.
-Once you have your folded bundle, wrap it tightly with rubber bands. The tighter it is the less dye will get inside.
Step 3: Dye your fabric
-Drain the onion skin water from the pot into another large pot. You do not need to keep the onion skins, and they can now be discarded.
-Hang to dry, and iron to remove any wrinkles.
I am definitely going to experiment more with natural dyes in the future. If you’re interested in them I highly recommend checking out the Folk Fibers blog.