Recently I found some dried eucalyptus in the grocery store and decided use it as a dye. I have always wanted to use eucalyptus but unfortunately they are not common plants here. I didn’t know what to expect because there was no information about what kind of eucalyptus it was. Eucalyptus is a favorite among dyers as the different species produce a wide range of beautiful colours.
So hoping for a lovely red but also excited to see what would happen, I prepared an organic cotton pillow case. In Eco Colour India Flint recommends using a soy milk mordant, while it’s best to make your own, I used a store bought natural soy milk with few additives. The case was soaked, dried, and then rinsed.
To prepare the eucalyptus, it was boiled for about an hour. I like to use ‘fill your own’ tea bags for fine, smaller quantities of dye materials.
While the eucalyptus was boiling I did a simple running stitch to create some stripes on the pillow case.
The pillow case was then boiled in the dye bath and cooled overnight. After drying and rinsing the final result was a pale beige/yellow. It was a disappointing result given all the beautiful eucalyptus dyed textiles, but it was an experiment so I knew that I might not get a very good result. I also think I could have gotten a stronger colour if I had used more since I only used about 30g of the dried leaves for the pillow.
However there was a exciting result with the wool swatch I added. The first one I added turned a lovely caramel colour, I also did an exhaust swatch which resulted in a soft yellow. Overall much better results with the protein fibres!
I hope to do a lot more with eucalyptus and experiment with printing and different varieties. I also had more success with a eucalyptus eco print which you can see here.