Green Natural Dye

On Pinterest I’d seen a lovely green produced with the purple leaves of Prunus trees, but with no instructions. It was in Australia, but as we have a purple leaved Prunus in the garden I thought I’d have a go, with fascinating results.

The dyebath 

I’ve noticed that some natural dyers do an all in method, which saves some time and I reckoned the leaves wouldn’t be too hard to pick out. I added 2 dessert spoons of alum and 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar in with the materials. I simmered the whole lot for an hour and was very restrained and left it all to cool overnight.

Pretty purples

As you can see they all came out purple, which was a lovely surprise, except that the silk velvet started turning green as soon as it was out of the dyebath and in the air. The dye turns out to be like indigo, reactive to oxygen.

Silk velvet turning green.

The fibres are viscose and were the first to react and for quite a while it had a two tone effect, but by the end of the day the silk back had also turned completely green.

Pine green

The silk velvet is bottom right and the purest green. There isn’t quite as much purple left in the fabrics as appears here, but I had trouble capturing the exact colour. Sadly the green is not as vivid as the one I saw on Pinterest, but it was very exciting seeing the colour change.


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