September 27, 2021

Coloring with Alder Cone- Amazing Tye dye fabric experiment.

There are plenty of alder cones on my doorstep and I collected a few shoe boxes from them, it’s time to try this paint! Let’s try tye dye fabric experiments with plants.

I pre-treated my tye dye fabric with soy milk, soaked it in a bucket of diluted milk, washed it in the washing machine, dried it and let it air, then dipped two more times. I left the piece to cure for a month before using it.

Soy Mil Treatment-Tye dye fabric experiment- Step-1

The main reason for soy milk tye dye fabric treatment is that soy protein coats the cellulose fibers of the tissue and makes them protein-like, which makes the tissue more sensitive to plant dyes. Instead of using aluminum acetate, which I found to be a very fast and very reliable method, I treated it with soy milk, but I don’t want to use metal salt mordants anymore because of its potential toxicity. Moreover, it is more interesting to experiment with new methods! (I first learned soy milk mordanting from the Indian Flint in the book Eco Color.)

Tye dye fabric experiements

Soaking the alder cones for hours- Tye dye fabric experiemtn – Step 2

The alder cones were soaked in water overnight, then heated in an aluminum pan for several hours to remove the dye, and the liquid was finally filtered through a piece of muslin.

1632690521 949 Coloring with Alder Cone Rebecca Desnos

1632690521 891 Coloring with Alder Cone Rebecca Desnos

Soaking the tye dye fabric in hot bath- Step 3

The tye dye fabric was soaked in a dye bath for about 24 hours and heated several times during this time.

1632690523 803 Coloring with Alder Cone Rebecca Desnos

The following scarf has been replaced with an iron to deepen some areas of the pattern.

1632690523 117 Coloring with Alder Cone Rebecca Desnos

Tye dye fabric with alder cones is complete.

The final color from the alder cones, a delicious, warm caramel, deepens to a chocolate brown color when changed in iron. I will continue to collect alder cones to experiment even more!You can also do it yourself by visiting this site


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Dye Experiments
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