DIY: FLORAL DYEING WITH HIBISCUS PETALS


January 27, 2016

Have you ever dyed fabric with flowers + plants? 

If you've ever had the Mexican drink, Jamaica (hah-mai-kah), or sipped on hot hibiscus tea, you're familiar with the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower petals.

Their rich red color makes for a beautiful natural dye!

I love adding any of our flower elixirs to the dye to infuse my fabrics with energetic qualities I'm looking to cultivate.

It is said that natural fabrics will retain the good vibes of the flower essences!

Joy Juice, which I used with my hibiscus dye, is always a great choice, but you can get creative: Quiet Mind or Inner Peace for pillowcases to help you sleep, Infinite Love for clothes to help increase self-love and magnetism, Radiant Energy for curtains to help clear negative enegry and set better boundaries ... the possibilities are endless!

SHOP ELIXIRS

lotuswei flower essence elixir radiant energy expansive presence truthteller

Here's how to make + use floral dye:

Pour water into a pot + cover the surface of the water with Hibiscus flower petals. Bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat + let simmer until the water is dark red.

dyeing with tea

Dip your fabric into the pot and leave it in the red tea while it simmers. If you want a light pink, less time is needed; if you want a darker pink or a deep bluish red, leave the fabric in the tea for longer.

botanical dye

This time I dyed a white silk pillowcase, making a gradient by dipping only one end of the pillowcase, and then leaving the very edge in the dye the longest (I actually left it overnight, pinning the white edge upright with clothespins, so the dye wouldn't spread to the white area).

lotuswei flower essence elixir joy juice

It is said that natural fabrics will retain the good vibes of flower essences! So if you have a natural fabric like cotton, linen or silk, add a dropperful of your flower elixir of choice.

I added Joy Juice, to infuse the fabric with joyful vibes to induce laughter + fun.

silk pillow case

I love working with natural floral + botanical dyes, because it reminds me of the vast beauty + rich abundance that exists in this world we live in. In the past, I've also used coffee (brown), clove (gold), chlorophyll (green), turmeric (bright yellow) and more. Floral + botanical dyes are complex, unpredictable and full of surprises.

Watch the how-to video here:

And when you need a short creative fix, or want to express yourself through color, it's easy to do this quick project without a lot of prep or cleanup. I love sharing ways to seamlessly weave exquisite experiences into your daily life that reconnect you with nature + inspire you.

What creative projects do you love?

Love + flower petals,
Katie


10 Responses

LOTUSWEI
LOTUSWEI

May 25, 2020

That’s awesome you tried the DIY project – but bummer the color didn’t keep. Sometimes different materials take differently (one type of silk will act different than another type of silk / one batch of hibiscus will vary in color from another batch) — just the nature of working with natural dyes + natural materials!

Here’s what I would do — try skipping the salt step. The color will eventually fade when washed multiple times, but you won’t get the grey color.

If you want it to stayyyyy stay, you would need to add a metallic mordent.

If that sounds fun to you, I definitely recommend checking out this podcast episode we did with artist + designer, Sasha Duerr – who works with plant-based palettes + and natural dyes. She has some amazing books too!

I hope this helps!

jessica kennedy
jessica kennedy

May 25, 2020

So I did this and my fabric turned GREY from what as originally a beautiful pink… :( It was fine until I put it in the salt bath. Ideas on why this happened?

suzy
suzy

December 04, 2016

My Nana always used to cook boiled eggs in onions skins at Easter which gave them an orange/brown colour, as in those days eggs were white. We would then roll them down the hill on Easter Sunday until they cracked, once cracked we could eat them! Far cry from the chocolate ones of today. But onions skins are cheap and effective for dyeing.

Katie
Katie

December 14, 2016

What a fun tradition, Suzy! Red onion skins do make great yellow-to-brown colors ~ thank you for sharing your story!

Katie
Katie

October 13, 2016

Hi Olivia! I used dried petals! ; )

Katie
Katie

October 13, 2016

Hi Marinna, Hibiscus tea – yum! And yes, it makes such a lovely dye. You can even do a sun tea version of a fabric dye. ; )

Marinna
Marinna

September 14, 2016

As a child I remember my friends or family making this hibiscus tea to drink when I grew up in the Caribbean. It’s still one of my most favorite teas to drink and this is a lovely idea to have natural dyed fabrics that are easy and fun to make! Thank you for this article!

Olivia
Olivia

September 18, 2016

Do you used dried petals or freshly picked?

Jes
Jes

August 29, 2016

Can you use this for food as well?

Katie
Katie

September 07, 2016

You can definitely use the flower elixirs in your recipes! As for the hibiscus petals, it is actually a tea – so that is safe too! :D

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