My roommate recently discovered a love for juicing so our fridge is consistently stocked with containers of vibrantly colored liquids. These containers ended up serving as pretty good inspiration for my "going green" curriculum with the kiddos these past couple weeks. I decided it would be a fun interactive experience for them to make their own dyes from natural materials and put them to use in some paintings and now you can too! Here's how we did it:
Small digression: My roommate bought me these tiny strainers for Christmas. She understands that any miniature and/or nesting items will find a good home with me. I'm a weird collector of tiny knickknacks... it's like Hoarders Lite. Anyway, they have served no purpose other than to satiate my compulsion and contribute to the adorable that is our kitchen... until now!
Above is the basic "recipe" I compiled based on a handful of Google searches. The longer you let the liquid mixture sit, the more saturated the color will be. I left mine in the fridge over night and strained them the next morning. It's pretty much as simple as that... I think the following pictures sufficiently explain how this is done... you don't need my words.
The swatch above goes as follows (left to right, top to bottom): kale/spinach combo, beets, black tea, blackberries, turmeric, red cabbage. The beets and the turmeric are definitely the most saturated and look the best once dry. I experimented with proportions a few times for the green and purple dyes and wish I could have gotten them a little darker, but they suited our purposes just fine. To finish off this project I had the kids turn their creations into pillows with the caveat that they are probably not the best pillows for sleeping lest you wake up with your painting on your face.
Side note: If you want to avoid waking up with your painting on your face, you can make the fabric color fast by following these instructions.
Let me know if there are any other natural materials suited for creating highly pigmented dyes, I would love to try them out next time!