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Create Natural Orange Dyes from Plants
One of the most popular colors in the plant world is orange. Fortunately, nature gives us an abundance of plants that produce orange dyes.
Learn how to create natural orange dyes from plants and then use it to dye fibers and fabrics for your home, clothing and craft projects.Continue to 2 of 14 below.
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Alder Tree Bark
Alder trees are common in the United States and across much of Europe. Almost all alders are deciduous and their leaves are alternate, simple and serrated. The flowers are catkins with male and female catkins on the same plant.
The red Alder is exclusive to the northwest portion of the United States. The thin outer bark is grey and typically covered with lichen while its inner bark is reddish-brown. The black Alder is also known as the European Alder. The grey Alder is smaller, reaching a maximum... height of just 15 feet.
It is the bark of the Alder that provides the tannin for dyeing fabrics. It must be gathered carefully so as not to harm the tree, and then boiled to release the color.Continue to 3 of 14 below.
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Barberry is a popular landscape shrub because it will grow under most any condition. Barberrys are often dark red in color but bright/lime green-leafed varieties are available. The shrub does have thorns that should be handled with care.
To achieve a yellow orange dye, mix any growing part of the plant with alum in a boiling water bath.Continue to 4 of 14 below.
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Bloodroot, sanguinaria canadensis, is a perennial, herbaceous flowering plant native to eastern North America. Bloodroot stores sap in an orange colored rhizome, that grows shallowly under or at the soil surface. Plants start to bloom before the foliage unfolds in early spring and after blooming the leaves expand to their full size and go summer dormant in mid to late summer. The flowers are produced from March to May, with 8-12 delicate white petals and yellow reproductive parts. The seeds are... round in shape and when ripe are black to orange-red in color.
To make dye, you will need to gather the rhizomes. They will produce an orange or orange-red dye.Continue to 5 of 14 below.
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Butternut trees, also called white walnut trees, are native to the United States. The Butternut tree has compound leaves that are 15 - 30 inches long. The leaves are hairy and have fine sharp teeth. The fruit of the Butternut is covered with hairs that are sticky and oily to the touch. Fruits are single or in clusters of 2-5, with a hard, thick, deeply furrowed shell enclosed by a thick husk. The fruit of the Butternut ripens in September or October and may stay on the tree until after the... leaves fall.
It is the seed husk that should be boiled to extract the tannins that will dye fabric orange.Continue to 6 of 14 below.
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One of the most obvious choices for a natural orange dye is carrots. The carrots should be shredded to expose as much surface as possible. It takes about one pound of carrots to dye one pound of fabric a rich orange. The carrots should be composted after using them as dye!Continue to 7 of 14 below.
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There are a number of species - more than 600 - of eucalyptus trees. They are favored for their beauty, their wood and the oils that can be produced. The bark produces an orange dye when boiled. The leaves can also produce a golden tan.Continue to 8 of 14 below.
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A native of California and Mexico, the giant coreopsis is succulent that produces bright yellow daisy-like flowers. When combined with alum, almost any part of the plant will produce a bright, permanent orange dye.Continue to 9 of 14 below.
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Most of us think of a light purple when we think of lilacs. But actually, the lilac twigs and bark will produce an orange dye. The flowers aren't needed!
Lilacs are part of the olive family and grow in cooler climates. They are deciduous and the wood of lilac is close-grained, diffuse-porous, extremely hard. The dye will be more of a yellow orange but vibrant.Continue to 10 of 14 below.
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Paprika is a spice made from ground, dried fruits of peppers. Varieties of paprika can be found depending upon the type of pepper used. Flavors range from mild to hot and colors range from bright red to pale red to brown.
The shade of orange achieved will depend on how much paprika you use and the variety.Continue to 11 of 14 below.
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The pomegranate is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree. Its roots are in the Middle East but cultivation has spread to many warm, arid areas. It is popular for its beauty as an ornamental tree and for the flavor of its fruit seeds in cuisine and juice.
Pomegranate fruit produces a red dye when boiled. However, if you add a bit of alum to the dye bath you can produce orange.Continue to 12 of 14 below.
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Sassafras is the tree that produces the distinct flavor of root beer. A member of the laurel family, just a quick rub of the leaves or a broken twig releases the scent. Its leaves also produce a lovely orange dye when boiled.
Sassafras can be easily identified by the leaves. They can have a mitten shape, with either a left thumb or a right thumb or be three-lobed. It is not unusual to see all three shapes on one tree. In spring, the sassafras will have small yellow flowers, and in autumn, small,... red-stemmed, dark blue berries. The autumn colors of its foliage will vary; leaves may turn yellow, red, orange or purple.Continue to 13 of 14 below.
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Tumeric is from the ginger family and native to Southeast Asia. The rhizomes of the plant are gathered, boiled and dried to produce a spice used in cooking. The bright yellow powder can also be used as a fabric dye by dissolving it in hot water. The depth of color can be controlled by the amount of tumeric used.
The fabric will be bright yellow if dyed with tumeric. However, by then dipping the fabric in a solution of lye and water, the fabric will turn a deep orange or red.Continue to 14 of 14 below.
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Yellow Onion Skin
Perhaps the easiest natural dye to acquire, yellow onions with their paper-thin skin are available in every grocery store. There are red and white onions as well, but for an orange dye bath, collect yellow onion skins.
You will need to have a big bag of onion skins to achieve a rich orange dye.