Things to Make - Natural Dye Notecards


Every year our CSA deliveries include quite a few farm-fresh beets. And, as hard as I try, I hate beets (as does Dan) - we've tried roasting, beet lasagna, and various other recipes but nothing works. So I was pretty psyched when I saw this post on Design Sponge about making dyes using natural materials - finally a use for all those beets. Since we have two crepe myrtle trees in full bloom, I figured I'd also make some dye from their blossoms.

Here's the scoop:

1. Cut the natural material into small pieces and then mix it with water in a ratio of 1 cup plant material to 2 cups water.

2. Simmer on the stove for at least an hour. I found the dyes really weak after an hour but decently strong after two hours.

3. Strain. I only strained the crepe myrtle dye (which ended up as a greenish/yellow shade), I left the beets in the dye as I found they made the color more vibrant.

4. Make notecards by folding and cutting watercolor paper (the thicker the better) into rectangles.

5. Dip the notecards in the dye, wait a minute or so for the dye to sink in.

6. Once the notecards dry redip them for color variation. Continue to dip, let dry, and dip again throughout the day.

7. I should probably spray the cards with some fixative to make sure the color doesn't leak onto everything. But I haven't done so yet.

I like how they turned out. Do you? By the way, I originally planned on doing this project with the kids but I found I enjoyment in doing something creative by myself. If you do include kids, make sure to be careful as the dyes can stain.


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