Sun Powered Natural Plant Dye Explorations: ’18

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP–Living in Natures Love Lifestyles

I have been spoiled by the Butterfly Tree (Buddleia davidii) dye baths.  They have been easy with good results and  no complications.  The plant dye was absorbed evenly into the material in the tops pictured below even though they were not treated in a soda or alum bath.

Pic by Renee Lindstrom

Tops dyed with Butterfly Tree

Here is a picture below of a top that was prepared for dyeing ahead of time with soda ash and alum baths.  It is a top sourced second-hand with a fluorescent image that was too bright for my taste.  I wondered how dyeing it would calm it down.

Pic by Renee Lindstrom

Top after a Butterfly Tree Flower dye bath

It completely calmed the image colours, however the picture is not showing the depth of colour the dyed outcome actually is.  The material itself is patterned and the coloured material from the dye differentiates this pattern.  It dyed the raised pattern  more quickly that is darker of the lower pattern which dyed more slowly.

The ease and colour consistency of the earlier Butterfly Tree flower dye bathes was misleading.  I came away thinking, “Wow, this is easy!”  However I am discovering that not all plant dye baths will have the same outcomes.  This is defiantly a learning experience as I go.

Just below are some sample patches of some exciting new and surprising plant colours.  I am noticing that the plant parts that are making the darker colours I enjoy are actually considered invasive species here in #yyj’s Greater Victoria Region.

pic by Renee Lindstrom

Natural Plant Dyes

In this photo it shows the dye water after two days in the sun and clothes after a day in the sun.  Had I taken the clothes out at this point the second sample from the left would be a light green and the third a bright green.  Both nice colours.  From left to right the plants are:

  1.  Saint John’s Wort – Landscaping scrub variety
  2.  Butterbur Leaves
  3.  Dried Feverfew branch with spent flower cuttings
  4.  Dried Butterfly Tree Flower cuttings

Here are two samples of Feverfew and Saint John’s Wort dye bath samples that were left for in for 3 days.  The Feverfew stayed bright and deepened in colour while the Saint John’s Wort in the photo above is dove grey while now it darken into a stronger colour with black tones.


Had I taken the top out of the Feverfew pot at 2 days it would have been an even and perfect dye absorption.  Unfortunately, I left the clothing in the pot with the plant matter to darken in the sun.  The plant material against the material created dark spots.

Pic by Renee Lindstrom

Top dyed with Feverfew – spotted after leaving in pot too long with plant material

I can type in the same for the Butterbur plant parts.  This plant is extreme in it colour variations and even having the material bunched up causes differences in the absorption of the colour.

Pic by Renee Lindstrom

Butterbur Plant Dye – clothing left in pot with plant material

I have just learned that when dyeing clothes to soak the plant material in the sun until reaching desire dye colour.  Then filter out the plant material before putting in the articles to dye.   I have come away now understanding that dyeing wool and clothing articles have differences.  Experiential learning!

A oberservation I had that I did not pay attention to at the time, is that when I first put in the clothing to absorb the colour they absorbed colour immediately.  I had my mind-set on slow-colouring and now realize that had I followed a similar pattern of moving the articles through the dye bath evenly the results may have been different.  Next time!

Now I am off to change the steps in my post about Dyeing cotton using Natural Plant Dyes! 

Read more on Natural Dye Plants, Dyeing with Butterfly Tree Parts

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This post may contain Affiliate Links, thank you in advance for your support!  Renee

Recommended Reading:

Feverfew for preventing migraines & headaches?

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP –Living in Natures Love Lifestyles

Mortartea kettleEdibleDyedeer


Feverfew:  Leaves & Flowers

Feverfew:  Tanacetum parthenium

I began growing Feverfew 22 years ago from a packet of  Richter Seeds I ordered on-line.  It was a garden plant that helped change a dysfunctional and depressed James Bay community with it’s brilliant white petals and yellow centers.  To me they looked like miniature daisy’s.

Rediscovering them in the past few years growing in vacant lots and gardens, I once again started to harvest their medicinal flowers and leaves.

Feverfew is a well-known herb for migraine and joint pain relief so I dried a supply of both flowers and leaves for tea.  Using fresh plant parts I used them to add to daily water recipes for their nutrients and infused them in vinegar, oil and alcohol to create medicinal remedies.

Nutrients & Qualities in Feverfew: 

The nutrients in Feverfew include iron, niacin, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium, and vitamins A and C.

Medicinal Uses:

Feverfew has an amazing number of medicinal uses:

  • prevention of migraines & headaches,
  • fevers,
  • muscle tension,
  • lower blood pressure,
  • reduce stomach irritation,
  • appetite stimulant,
  • improve digestion,
  • kidney function,
  • colitis,
  • dizziness,
  • tinnitus,
  • menstrual problems,
  • muscle relaxant,
  • skin washes,
  • Pain reliever for gastrointestinal, reproductive, and vascular systems,
  • Insect Repellent (includes Bees & Fleas!),
    • flowers contain pyrethrins compounds used as flea repellent
  • Natural Sun Screen,
  • Arthritis,
  • Anti-inflammatory

How to use Feverfew:

  • Preventative for Migraines

As a preventative herb for migraines and headaches it is recommended to chew 2 – 3 fresh leaves per day.  However I would recommend that these leaves be left to wilt beforehand as this plant has a strong bitter taste and cause some skin irritation in mouth when taken directly from the plant.  It is also recommended that one takes this herb together with magnesium and riboflavin to support opening constrictions in blood flow.

  • Natural Flea Rinse for Cats & Dogs

To make a flea rinse for your pet, pour boiling water over the fresh herbs and let stand until completely cooled. Strain and apply wetting the fur and skin thoroughly. Do not towel dry or rinse. Remember that this will last only a couple of hours so make it a regular part of your animal care routine!

  • Natural Pain Reliever for Aging Cats & Dogs

This is a herb that can be infused in water in the same way you would make tea.  Once cooled add to your pets water to act as a natural pain reliever.

Oils, tincture & Tea Recipes 

Buy Canadian Feverfew Plants

Recommended Reading:

More than 100 Remedies from 20 of the Most Healing Plants

Review:  Kathrine – This is the book I have been looking for! Very easy way to learn a LOT of information fast. I am have three regular items I make myself with great
success! My husband has even been wanting to put his hands into prep work.

Traditional uses and properties of herbs are for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Any serious health concerns or if you are pregnant, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs.

Copyright 2014 – 2019  Living in Nature’s Love by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since  2000