Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Update: It is now 2010. It turns out it was the turmeric in the rice seasoning. Turmeric is a PH indicator as well as a spice and food coloring. I figured out the recipe long ago and finally decided to do a video on my other youtube channel showing how it is done. Here is the Video. It is no talking with bilingual subtitles so more can understand this simple recipe for making a magic rag.

I MADE MAGIC FABRIC!  For Stamping and Dyes class I had to dye four or more squares of white or natural cotton fabric with natural dyes. The dye could be anything natual.  So for example I could boil a square in beet juice, or carrot juice or dandelion flower juice.  Anything really.  I experimented on many squares in with different vegetables and fruits and spices and things.  The basic idea is that you simmer the element with salt, the fabric and the natural element in a pot of water.   I tried beets, carrots, avocado plant leaves, ashes from the barbecue, tomatoes (out of a can), red wine and combination of these.  After I simmered the squares in each element for an hour , I left them sitting in the elements for a day or two.  Then I rinsed them all out in cold water.  Here is what happened:
  • The beets didn´t work at all.  The fabric came out a nice color but when I rinsed in cold water it all washed away and the fabric was exactly the same color as when I started.
  • The carrots left only a very light hint of yellow.  Barely noticeable
  • The avocado plant leaves worked ok, but the color was really icky.  Then I left it sitting in the ashes mix another day and it came out sort of brown, but kind of ugly.
  • Ashes from the barbecue just looked like a dirty rag.
The Magic!  (Actually Eight Grade Chemistry Class)
The tomatoes and paprika looked a beautiful red-orange color and did NOT wash out with cold water.  I decided to wash it with soap to see if a garment dyed in tomatoes would be feasible.  As I washed it  everything turned PURPLE and then when I rinsed it turned a sunny YELLOW color!  I was a little disappointed but the yellow is a bright sunny yellow so I thought, that´s OK.  So then I decided to wash it in soap again (regular bar soap, it has to be basic, not PH neutral).  It turned PURPLE again!  When I rinsed it it turned back to yellow.  I kept washing and rinsing and the yellow color did not fade.  It is pretty steadfast and when you put bar soap on it the YELLOW changes to PURPLE (Will upload pictures to add to this post a little later)

A similar thing happened with the wine dye.  Except when I used soap on it it turned from a beautiful burgundy color to black.  As I continued to wash it turned a SKY BLUE. Then each time I washed in the soap it turned YELLOW and back to SKY BLUE

It is still working and it is days later now.  I suppose eventually the dye will wear out. I put one square in liquid bleach to see what would happen and the magic ended.  It all turned white and was back to "square one". I made a few more squared to experiment with and have also tried to find a way to get GREEN by mixing the two but I haven´t figured out the right quantities yet. The tomatoes keep winning over. I guess it needs only a teeny bit of tomato and a lot of wine to get GREEN.  Now I have left one soaking in isopropyl alcohol.  It stayed yellow.  I am wondering if that will stabilize the yellow so that it doesn´t change colors when I put soap on it.

This would be a fun experiment to try on your own or with your kids.  I also thought it would be neat to make a t-shirt or washcloths dyed this way.  It would definitely get reluctant kids to take their baths.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, thats pretty interesting!will try that sometime!