Using natural dyes is certainly a lot more friendly than using something like Rit but there are ways you can be a lot more efficient in how you use them. Here are some tips we’ve put together for you.
1. Reuse mordant baths. If you use your mordant bath twice, you’ve just saved 50% on water! Add 25% more mordant to the existing bath and proceed with the next mordant batch. It’s time to change mordant baths when the water becomes super cloudy and some dyers reuse their baths upwards of six times.
2. Exhaust the dye bath with additional fabrics or yarn. Don’t throw out a dye bath that still has dye in it. Plan on throwing in a few mordanted skeins of yarn or pieces of fabric or a tee shirt to soak up the excess dyestuffs.
3. Put a lid on your dye kettle. Water heats about 22% faster when the pot is covered.
4. Reuse raw dyestuffs for eco-printing. Spent logwood, osage, marigold flowers or cochineal bugs can be sprinkled on fabrics, bundled and aged for unique eco-printing effects. Experiment and see the interesting effects you get!
5. Use Solar energy. Solar ovens are easy to construct and generate substantial heat for a natural dye bath. They can be made out of a cardboard box, some aluminum foil and other easily obtainable materials.
Image: Spiders Workshop