Pampas grass is a plant indigenous to Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Due to its durability and plumage, landscapers often use the grass in other regions, including the United States. Pampas grass grows in clumps reaching a height of eight to 12 feet, provided it isn't a dwarf variety. When dried, you can dye pampas grass in many colours. Most crafters tend to use it as a component in floral arrangements, but you can use it for other projects, too.
Determine what colour dye you want to use. Aniline dyes work the best for dying pampas grass, and most companies offer colours in blue, yellow, red, purple, black and brown, with other colours available depending on the supplier.
Calculate the amount of dye needed. If you want to dye the full length of pampas grass, you may want to use your bathtub as a container, which will enable you to dye the majority of the grass without bending the stalk. A common ratio is ½ oz of aniline dye to 1 to 2 quarts of hot water, variable according to the desired concentration level.
Mix hot water with the dye. Most aniline dyes manufacturers recommend adding the powder to the hot water rather than pouring the hot water over the powder. The water should be hot but not boiling.
Allow the dye to dissolve in the water (approximately 15 minutes, but it can take longer if you mix a large quantity of dye). If you want, stir the dye, but make sure you use something impermeable to prevent the dye from seeping in.
Place the dried pampas grass in the water. If you need to bend the pampas grass, do it gently and slowly to prevent breakage. Also keep in mind that bending can cause inconsistencies in the dye where the bend occurred.
Soak the grass in the dye until it reaches the desired colour. Once you like the colour, put rubber gloves on and remove the grass from the dye. Lay the grass out where it can dry.
Drain the dye and rinse your tub or dying receptacle.
- Pampas grass leaves have sharp edges that can cut you if you don't handle them with care.
- Any chips or scratches in the sealant of your bathtub may allow the dye to soak into the surface of the tub.
- Some cities have regulations against draining chemicals in a bathtub, so ascertain this before dying the grass and find out how best to dispose of the dye water.