solar or sun kissed dyeing

filled jars basking in the sun

Solar, or sun kissed (my term), is a fun and natural method of coloring fabric using the energy and power of the sun. All you need is a glass jar, some botanical, alum, silk fabric, rubber bands, and water.

I’ve been saving glass bottles of various sizes and shapes for this purpose, and scraps of silk fabric remnants. As you can see, I love and used mostly silk in my work. Silk is an animal fiber, and like all animal fibers, such as wool is made of protein. It is the most desirable and versatile fabric to use for dyeing.

Do you know that there is a good source of natural dyes to be found in your own garden! For starters, you can use a variety of flowers, roots, berries, and nuts to get different colors. A few plants to use are calendula, marigolds, birch leaves, pansy, onions, and carrots. Solar dyeing is a fun way to experiment and enjoy the mystery of natural dyeing!

coreopsis flower and leaves

pretty and delicious in a mason jar

For this post, I used coreopsis, some dried eucalyptus, and alum as a mordant. Mordant literally means “to bite” in French. It is a chemical process that fixes the dye and binds the color to the fabric. You can find alum in the supermarket as it is a food additive, used in pickling and preservative for fruits and vegetables.

I will leave these jars with the silk bundles outside to bask in the hot summer heat, and will post the result in a couple of weeks.

a simple roll, fold, and tie method. The folding lines will acts as a resist to block the dye from coloring parts of fabric, thus creating an abstract pattern.

jar filled with a teaspoon of alum, distilled water, flowers, and folded fabric.

jar filled with a bundle wrapped in eucalyptus and rusty objects

just after a day in the sun, the color extraction was crimson red

*Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melinda Tai and Obovate Designs with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Thank you for visiting, I welcome all your comments.

“A smile is worth a thousand words, live happy, dye happies”.

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