Petal Power! Natural Dyeing with Australian Natives

Natural Dyeing with Australian Native Ingredients | Warndu Australian Native FoodPetal Power

Natural Dyeing with Australian Native Plants 

Flowers are magical. Not just to look at, they provide us with flavour in cooking, marvellous smells in our homes and medicine when we are ill. But the petals of the flower also provide us with colour in many different ways. Once you have used them in a more traditional manner and they are beginning to wilt, don’t throw them to the compost, you can give them a second life by turning them into dye.

Natural dying has taken place for thousands and thousands of years. It is the process of drawing colour from natural sources such as plants, roots, berries, vegetables, barks, leaves and in this instance, petals. There are many forms of dyeing using natural substances but the easiest place to start if you have not tried it before is solar dying.

By simply picking some of your most favourite flowers (by colour) and harnessing the suns power you can make dye in every colour of the rainbow to colour all of your whites that you just can not get white anymore or even use as a non-toxic water colour paint for your kids.

By using natural dyes you are not only controlling the colour, you are being kind to the planet and your pocket!

What you will need:

  • Sunshine ~ Choose a sunny spot in your home.
  • Jars with lids ~ These can absolutely be recycled ones.
  • Mordants ~ The mordant fixes the colour, we are using leftover white wine (if there is such a thing).
  • Colour ~ Flowers (petals only and not white), I love using Iris, sower sobs (fluro yellow), roses, marigolds, geraniums, gerberas, herb flowers, basically anything from your garden that if squished releases liquid.
  • Patience and a good shake!

How to do it:

Have a wonderful time picking petals from your favourite plants. I would suggest starting with a handful of each colour you want to create, leaving enough behind always for regeneration, the birds and bees. Shake any excess critters from the flowers before bringing inside.

For every handful of flowers you will need a small jar (500ml is best) with a lid. Make sure it is clean and dry.

Pick the petals from your flowers and place into the jar. Now top up with white wine just to cover the petals. Put the lid on and then in your sunny spot.

For a couple weeks, shake your jar and watch as the sun draws the colour from the petals. Leave for up to a month, strain and use the liquid as a dye.

NOTE: This amount of dye is not really enough to dye much, more a test run for you to see how it works and how much you can get from it. But will be plenty to pain a few beautiful pictures.