Blog, Makes

How to dye fabric using berries

Use the dyed fabric to wrap presents

The Japanese have been fabric wrapping, Furoshiki, for years so why are we still wasting paper to wrap presents?

By fabric wrapping you are giving an extra present, and the recipient can re-use it.

As berries are plentiful at the moment it is a great time to make a natural dye from those that aren’t perfect enough to eat . The best fabrics to dye using fruit and vegetables are natural ones such as cotton, silk and linen. This is a great way to reuse old cotton sheets or pillowcases that have seen better days.

Before dyeing you will need to wash your fabric to get rid of any finishes in it. You will need a mordant, this is most commonly table salt, to help the cloth take up the dye.

You will need for dyeing 

Fabric to dye


25cm square of Muslin

Berries (I used mulberries but blackberries are as good)

Salt (the proportions are ½ cup of salt to 8 cups of water)

Large wooden spoon

Gloves (Optional but Mulberries stain)

Instructions for dyeing

Cut your fabric into pieces big enough in which to wrap your presents. Wash your fabric and leave it damp.

Add salt to a large pan of water and put in the washed cloth. Bring to the boil and then leave it to stand for an hour.

Put your berries in the muslin and add it to the pan. Bring to the boil again and, simmer for an hour, push the muslin with a large spoon to help release the juices. Keep stirring to get an even colour distribution on the cloth.

Turn off the heat and leave the fabric in the dye bath. The longer you leave it the stronger the colour.  (I often leave mine overnight)

Remove the naturally dyed fabric from the dye bath. (Note it will look much darker and often a different colour whilst it is wet)

You will need for finishing

Water colours small white labels and some string twine or ribbon to tie the parcel.

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