How to dye moss

Written by lisa campbell
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How to dye moss
Spanish moss in a tree. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Moss is used in planting, artwork and craft projects. Often the moss needs a little colour to give it that added pop. Plain moss is usually a grey, pale green, silver or brown colour. It is easy to dye moss. There are two types to consider when working with moss. Lichen, also known as reindeer moss and Spanish moss, are the most common to use in projects. Spanish moss, if light in colour, can be found at hobby stores and some fabric stores. The lighter the moss colour, the better it will take the coloured dye.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Fibre active dye (also known as cool water dye)
  • Large pan or tub
  • Newspapers
  • Spanish or lichen moss
  • Scissors
  • Wooden spoon
  • Rubber gloves

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  1. 1

    Spread the moss out on the newspapers. Gently remove any sticks or leaves that you do not want in the finished product. Using the scissors, trim to remove dark ends, and shape.

  2. 2

    Following instructions on the fibre active dye, prepare your dye with cool water. Use the wooden spoon to stir the dye until thoroughly mixed.

  3. 3

    Immerse your moss completely. Let moss soak in dye. Stir occasionally. The length of time you let the moss soak in the dye will depend upon the depth of colour you want. The longer the moss sets in the dye, the more colour it will absorb up to a certain point. You will want your gloves on.

  4. 4

    Squeeze the moss to remove excess water. Wear gloves for this step to keep from turning your hands the colour of the dye.

  5. 5

    Spread the coloured moss out on the newspapers and let dry. You want the moss to dry completely before using in a project.

Tips and warnings

  • Fibre active dyes work best with a plant material such as moss. You can also use a dye that is formulated for cotton, but you might have to use one part glycerine to three parts water if you do so. Spanish moss is not really moss but part of the pineapple family or bromeliads.
  • If you use all-purpose dye, vat-dye or direct dye, let the water cool before adding the moss.
  • The lighter the moss colour, the easier it is to dye it.
  • Use an old pan or tub to dye moss. Clean thoroughly after each colour. Wear old clothes when working with the dyes.

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