Plant Dyes | Step by Step

We adore plant dyes. Not only because they are pretty but they are also Mother nature's greatest gift to us to colour our world.

The process of natural dying is here to celebrate slow life and sustainable living. It reminds us who we are, where we come from and gently shows us the way back to our roots. 

Now, let's get into the good stuff. 

Qrucifix natural plant dyes textiles step by step
What we use to dye: 

1) Plants

  • Myrobalan/ Nude & Dove colours
    Myrobalan is a tree deciduous in Asia, we use its dried, ground fruits which are high in tannin
  • Madder Root/ Reds
    Myrobalan is a common plant may even be found in your backyard, madder's root contains high levels of red pigments

2) Mineral Modifiers

  • Ferrous Sulfate: aka iron, often used in food supplements and as plant nutrient
  • Calcium Carbonate: everyday calcium often used as dietary supplement and plant nutrient 
  • Alum Acetate: a natural compound refined from Bauxite, skin and environmentally friendly alternative to heavy metals.
NUDES
Qrucifix natural plant dyes tannin textiles step by step

To achieve nude colours, we use Myrobalan or other words: Tannin. 
You probably didn't know but you or someone you know consume tannin on a daily basis. When you drink coffee or wine--- yess! sometimes spilling it on your outfit and you end up with those brown stains- now that brown stain is tannin. A permanent stain you cannot remove. This is exactly what we use for our nudes. As you probably know by now, it is perfectly machine washable, impossible to get rid of. 

The dying process is simple.

  • First, we clean all our fabrics in Sodium Bicarbonate water to remove invisible access stain and grease.
    Qrucifix natural plant dyes tannin textiles step by step
  • Once the fabrics are clean, we rinse and place them in pre-heater fresh water found in our thermo heater.
  • Once the water is warm enough, we add our ground Myrobalan and submerge our fabrics for a 2 hour soak.  
DOVE GREYS
Qrucifix natural plant dyes tannin and iron textiles step by step
  • Essentially the same dye process but we add a magic ingredient: iron. 
  • When iron gets in chemical reaction with myrobalan, it results a greyish tone. The more we repeat this process, the darker the colour gets.
    Qrucifix natural plant dyes tannin textiles step by step
  • Fabric is submerged in the iron solution once for a short dip and quickly moved across to a fresh bucket of water with eco-detergent to remove access dye and soften the fabric. 
REDS  
Qrucifix natural plant dyes madder root textiles step by step

Reds are the most exciting colour to create. The process is perhaps is longer but filled with lasting joy. Le's dive in: 

  • First, we let the fabric soak in Myrobalan bath for 1 hour. This helps the pigments bond with the fabric better. 
    Qrucifix natural plant dyes madder root textiles step by step
  • The fabric then gets moved to the Alum solution (water and a little alum added)- this again helps with the bonding.
  • Once the fabric soaked long enough, they all get move to our thermo heater which is now filled with ground madder and a hint of calcium carbonate.
  • Once the heat is set, we allow the fabric sit in the madder bath overnight, occasionally for 2 days.
  • We occasionally hop over to give the bath a stir and submerge the fabrics in order to achieve a consistent colour. 
Qrucifix natural plant dyes madder root tannin textiles step by step

And here we are. All ready to create magic. ❤️ 

Dyeing with plants has extremely low environmental impact and was designed to nourish our bodies. With every piece dyed, we effectively prevent 10L of water and minimum of 300g toxic chemical penetrating our waters and soils. 

Natural dyeing is much about returning to our roots, celebrating slow life and enjoying the present moment. We love plant dyes, and the love we cultivate creating these beauties is now passed on to you as love moulded in lingerie. 

Sending Love & Light x

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published