I was trying to figure out how I should dye my bags for a rose gift set I will be releasing soon, and I was going over my options, pomegranates, hibiscus, onion skins....when I came across some photos of dyeing with flowers. This is not the typical dye bath, but instead using actual whole flowers directly on top of your fabric and rolling it up, thus smashing the flowers into the fabric. There are a few methods you can use to achieve a stain on the fabric. You can steam them, bury them underground, or leave them in a sun bath. I decided to go with the steaming method because I need these quickly. This was one of the funnest DIY things I have ever done, and the bags came out beautifully. I hear it can be hit or miss, but the materials I used really worked well. I also must mention that I was going for a pink/purple hued fabric since the set is based around rose infused products, but you can use a variety of leaves, bark, and flowers to achieve your desired color.
Your desired fabric (silk works best)
a variety of flowers, leaves and bark (or just flowers if you want)
rubber bands, clothes pins or anything to keep the fabric rolled tight
large stock pot with lid
You can use whatever flowers you have on hand. Use some flowers from your yard, go for a walk in the neighborhood or local park, or just use some flowers from a farmers market bouquet. I used hibiscus, roses, bouganvilla, gerber daisies, and some random flowers from a bouquet I had. This is trial and error, and somewhat of an experiment if you are not familiar with the staining properties of all the flowers you will be using. I knew that the bougainvillea, hibiscus and roses would work well, and the others were more of a shot in the dark. (but they sure look pretty right?). If you are going for a more earthy palate try using eucalyptus leaves, bark and the bark and leaves of trees around your neighborhood. If you want a rainbow tone just add in a ton of different colors of flowers!
For this project I used cotton muslin bags, but you can use any fabric you choose, just keeping in mind that natural fabrics like raw silk, and un-dyed cotton work best. Presoak your fabric in water for about 20 minutes. Lay out your fabric and sprinkle on your flowers, either whole or just the petals, or a combination. Roll up the fabric very tightly into a roll. You can also roll the fabric around a stick to keep it taught. Wrap the roll with rubber bands to keep it tight. Place your fabric roll in a steamer inside of a large pot. Cover with a lid and steam for about an hour. Let the roll cool, and then unroll. You can chose to leave the flowers on top of the fabric for a few hours or days to let them really penetrate the fabric, but I think the steaming did most of the work and this is an unnecessary step. The final step is to rinse the fabric under cold water. You can now use it straight away (after drying of course) or wash it with a very mild detergent to get that earthy rotten flower smell off.
I love the way the bags turned out. They range from a pale pink, to a deep mauve with a few hints of yellow. I am excited to put this gift set together which will be featuring all of my rose products. I hope you guys can try this out, and I would love to hear about your results! Oh and I will be posting photos of the final, washed and dried bags with the products early this week!