In my review yesterday of Sasha Duerr's new work, The Handbook of Natural Dyes, I mentioned that the publisher gave me permission to share one of the projects in the book. I found one perfect for those who are new to natural dyeing: dyeing beads with blackberries.
Sasha tells us that beads made of wood, bone 'or other natural fibers like wool felt or silk' take to natural dye wonderfully. In this tutorial, Sasha explains the process using wooden beads.
Use 1 ounce of blackberries to 4 fluid ounces of water. (You'll need as much of this mixture to cover your beads.)
Crush the blackberries with a mortar and pestle. Put the crushed blackberries in a bowl, add the water, and stir. The dye bath will be thick.
Add the wood beads to the dye bath, submerge them, and soak until they reach the desired color.
Wash the beads with pH-neutral soap, rinse thoroughly, and set out to dry.
And that, my friends, is it! Simple, huh? Makes me want to try the same technique using blueberries, or using the stain mixture to alter the color of raw wood when finishing furniture and such.
Again, for more projects, tips and recipes using natural dyes, check out The Handbook of Natural Dyes.