Dyeing silk with eucalyptus

dyeing silk with eucalyptus

love the eucalyptus-dyed silk. I have been seeing it around the local markets for a year or so. I have bought garments for Christmas presents for oversees relatives. Recently, my friend Nell turned up at the farmer’s market wearing a silk dress that had been imprinted with eucalyptus. We all asked her how she had done it. Quite simple, really.

I thought I would try it.

How to dye with eucalyptus leaves

1. Use silk or wool. If using another natural fibre like cotton, pre-soak overnight in soy milk, but don’t rinse it out. Just wring it.

2. Lay eucalyptus leaves in the silk. The little heart-shaped silver dollar eucalyptus leaves you buy from the florist create a beautiful burnt orange. Experiment, but the other eucalyptus leaf in my garden made a black imprint. Wrap the silk with leaves around a block of wood or rolling pin, and tie with string.

3. Steam in a basket. I steamed for about two hours.

4. Remove from steamer with tongs, cut string, and shake off leaves. Hang dry in shade {though sun seemed to be fine too.}

5. This little top has the leaf imprint. But it also started as white. I made a dye out of eucalyptus by boiling the silver dollar leaf in a glass jar for about an hour. I then added half a teaspoon of iron sulphate, and mixed. I dipped the silk into the mix briefly (about 30 seconds) then hung the garment on the line.

My husband asked me what the floppy thing was that I was wearing. But I really like it!

Have you ever dyed with eucalyptus?