Dyeing paper adds a personal touch to stationery and gift wraps. There are many ways to dye paper without the use of chemical dyes that can leave your fingers and work space stained. Start by picking some colourful flowers, either wild or cultivated, to dye paper naturally at home. Experiment with different flowers and different parts of each plant to discover what colours they produce. Try foxglove flowers for bright green, hyacinth flowers for blue, Queen Anne's lace for pale green, rose hips and dandelion roots for red, goldenrod and marigolds for yellow.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 2 cups water
- Pot with lid
- Coffee filter
- Sieve of colander
- Wide casserole dish or bowl
Select colourful flowers from your garden or purchase a bouquet.
Remove the petals from the blossoms. Use a knife to chop the petals to yield one cup. Do not chop them too finely, as they will be harder to remove from the water after boiling.
Boil two cups of water for five minutes and add the chopped petals to the water. Turn the heat to low, cover and allow the flowers to steep in the simmering water for an hour.
Place a coffee filter in a sieve or colander and set it over a large casserole dish or bowl. Remove the water and flower liquid from the stove and pour it through the coffee filter to remove bits of flower and leave only the dye solution in the bowl.
Place paper in the dye solution and allow it to sit for one minute. Remove and allow it to dry flat. If you would like paper a darker colour, submerse it in the solution for another few minutes and allow it dry again. You may need to make another solution and add an extra half a cup of petals to the mix to yield a darker dye if the paper is not dyed to your liking after two tries.
Tips and warnings
- Use other common items, such as organic tomato juice, to dye paper. Boiling certain fruits like blueberries and raspberries yield natural dyes, as do a broad selection of teas.
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