This summer we had our own dye day to see what the bundle dye process was really like. We were surprised at how easy it was as well as the unique patterns that were revealed! We've outlined a brief tutorial below so you can experiment with your own scraps and designs.
What you need:
- Natural fabric such as cotton or silk. We used cotton t-shirts and cotton tote bags.
- Food scraps and/or flowers. We used red onion skins, rose petals, turmeric powder, beetroot, and yellow flowers
- Metal Strainer
- Large pot
- Rubber gloves
To prepare the fabric: Weigh your fabric. 10% of the fabric weight is the amount of potassium alum you will need. Dilute the alum with boiling water until melted in a glass container. Add diluted alum to a pot filled with water large enough to hold all of your fabric and submerge. Bring water and alum mixture to a simmer before adding your fabric. Once fabric is added, lightly simmer for 1 hr. Agitate frequently so the fabric is evenly submerged in the alum mixture. After 1 hr, take off heat and let fabric soak for around 24 hrs. Hang dry fabric. **We recommend using gloves, and working in a ventilated area. **
Once the fabric has dried, lay the material/ garment flat and arrange the flowers and scraps on top.
Then tightly roll the fabric up in a cylinder shape. You can either leave the roll as is or continue to roll it into a spiral.
Steaming your bundle. Boil a large pot of water. Once the water has come to boil, place the metal strainer on top of the pot just skimming the water. Place your bundles in the strainer and cover. (If your lid doesn't fit you can cover your pot with tinfoil. Depending on how heavy your fabric is, you should steam the bundle for 1-2 hours in a large pot.
Once the bundle is finished steaming you will need to let it sit over night before unwrapping it.
The next day unwrap your bundles and brush off all of all flower scraps and dyeing materials. Let the fabric dry completely before rinsing or ironing.
Once the fabric is dry you may wash the fabric with mild soap to make sure you have rinsed off any excess dye. Once washed and dried, you're ready to enjoy your unique work of art.