5 tips for getting started with natural dyes
Ceilidh Chaplin is the founder of Billynou, a sustainable clothing brand that uses naturally dyed textiles to create wardrobe staples that stand out. Read about her top tips for getting started with natural dyes and how you can get into the habit of adding splashes of colour to your fabrics.
1. Collect your food waste
Things like onion skins, avocados and turmeric are all great things to start with if you just want to have a play around and get a taste for natural dyes.
2. Be open
Be open to surprises and things not going as you expect! Natural dyes are alive, they are literally living colours which means they are sensitive, constantly changing and have plenty of character.
3. Natural fibres go with natural dyes
Choose a natural fibre to dye. Natural dyes will only adhere to natural fibres. Start with something like silk. Silk nearly always takes the colours beautifully; you must treat it gently as it's delicate but I find there is often less preparation involved than with something like linen.
4. Experiment with old clothes
Try revamping an old t-shirt or garment you don't wear any more. Natural dyes are perfect for covering up stains, especially on baby clothes. I also like to use plants with therapeutic qualities for baby clothes. Thinking more about these qualities than the actual colour the plant offers can yield interesting results.
5. pH neutral is key
Hand wash your dyed fibres with pH neutral detergent. As I mentioned, natural dyes are alive and often pH sensitive, which can be super fun if you want to play with colour changes but if you want to keep the colours as they are make sure you use neutral detergent.