Monday, September 19, 2011

DIY: Goldenrod Potato Scarf

This project ranged somewhere between DIY and science experiment.  Needless to say it was a lot of fun, and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.  It's so easy to forget about all the natural resources available to us crafters, and it was nice to be able to use two very easy to find materials. 

Around this time of year goldenrod is not hard to come by and it makes for a really great natural dye. So I took advantage of this overabundance and tried my hand at natural dying.  Also I LOVE POTATO STAMPING! This was my first attempt, and it was great fun.  

If you would like to try this out, here is what you'll need:

 -White cotton fabric (I used a white sheet)
-A bunch of goldenrod
-Fabric paint/fabric screen printing ink
-An old pot with a lid. Make sure it's large enough to boil a big bunch of flowers.
-One potato

First things first, you have to remove the leaves and stems from the flowers.  You don't want to boil the whole plant, so do the best you can at paring down the plant to just flowers.

You can see here I still have some leaves that are close to the flowers, but I eliminated the thick stems. 

Once you have prepared the flowers, fill your pot with water.  Depending on how much goldenrod you have to boil will determine how much water you want and how concentrated your dye will be.  For the amount of flowers I had about four cups did the trick.

I boiled my flowers on high for about two hours.  The longer you boil it the better colour you will get out of the flowers.

Once the boiling process is complete, turn off the heat, and  use a slotted spoon or strainer to separate the flowers from the water.  Dispose of the flowers and keep your dye in the pot.  Your dye should look like this :

Once all the flowers are strained from the liquid, put your fabric in the pot.  I precut my fabric, and if you have to sew down any unfinished edges, it's best to do so before you dye the fabric so you don't have to try and match up thread to the colour of your dye.

Dunk the fabric in a few times and make sure it is fully immersed in the water. You want the dye to make contact with all your fabric for the most even dye job.

I kept my fabric in the pot overnight to make sure I got a really vibrant yellow, even though it doesn't look it in this photo, the colour was much more bright after sitting in the pot all night.  When you are happy with the colour ring out the fabric and hang it to dry on a plastic hanger.  Don't use a wire hanger or else you'll be left with a rust mark.

Once it's dried, iron out all the wrinkles.

Keep the iron out, cause you will need it after you print your fabric.....

Once your fabric is ironed, find  a large work surface and line it with newspaper.  place the fabric down and get your paint and potato ready.

I used screen printing ink, but you can use any fabric friendly paint. I spooned a little bit of paint out in a paper plate.  You want a flat surface to dip your potato in.  Also have some paper towel handy to blot your stamp.

I chose a basic shape.  Nothing too complicated.  Just remember when cutting your design in the potato, your want to cut around your design.   All the raised parts will be your stamp.  You want to dip your stamp in the paint and make sure the full surface of your stamp is covered.  Then blot off the excess paint and firmly press the stamp to your fabric.

You will also have to determine the placement of your stamp to create your pattern.  Try and map out the best arrangement to fill the fabric surface.

When your all done stamping wait for the paint to dry and then heat safe the design with an iron.  This will insure that your print won't fade or wash away.

A fun two day project perfect for a weekend!  I was so pleased to know that the finished product cost as little as $2 and that I used some of our greatest resources available to us-- Nature!  It will be fun to discover more natural dyes in the future.  I'm thinking of trying coffee next, or maybe beets! Hope you have fun with this one!


chrissy said...

discovered your blog via 'my girl thursday'. loving all the thrifty goodness!


Alessia said...

Hi Chrissy. Thanks for reading :)

Adele said...

Alessia...I love your talent and skill. You are pretty amazing. Thanks for sharing it.