How to tie-dye with natural dyes

June 26, 2020 by  
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The tie-dye look was once incredibly trendy. Then, it became retro. Now, it’s classic. Tie-dye is fun, bright and colorful, and when you don’t know what to match with what or which piece should go with another, tie-dye is the perfect solution. But if you work with chemical dyes, you’re going to end up inhaling fumes and possibly exposing yourself to dangerous toxins. Use natural dyes for tie-dye projects instead, and then you can also have fun simply making the dyes before you even begin making all of your beautiful tie-dye items. Making natural dye No matter what vegetables you’re using, you’ll need to assemble some basic tools to start making your own dyes. Get a knife for chopping, a cheesecloth for straining and a couple of large bowls. You’ll also want measuring cups and standard table salt. Make sure you’ve got a good blender, too. This is the main item you’ll use for turning vegetables, berries and plant waste into bright, beautiful dyes. Related: A guide to the best plants for dyeing fabric and fibers naturally Once you know the method for making dye , you can make just about any color of dye you like. First, get some latex gloves that give you good flexibility. You may end up staining your fingers while you’re making dye if you choose not to wear gloves. Either way, make sure you’ve got clean hands and good knife skills when you chop up your veggies, berries and other plant products. Assemble your ingredients on a cutting board, get your knife and go to work hacking up all those items. After you chop up your raw ingredients into manageable pieces, put about two cups of chopped veggies into a blender with two cups of very hot water. The water should be near boiling, but not boiling. Blend the vegetables and water until you create a slurry. This slurry can be strained through a cheesecloth into a clean bowl. Add one tablespoon of salt to the mixture and stir it thoroughly until the salt dissolves. Making different colors This process of chopping vegetables and straining them can be used for veggies in any color to create all sorts of different shades of natural dye. To make red, try beets. If you want purple, add some red cabbage to the beets to make the color richer. You can also use herbs rather than vegetables, if they have a color shade you like. Parsley, for example, makes a lovely deep green color when you use this method. Turmeric and plants in the mint family make beautiful yellow and light green dyes. If you want a color that’s more golden, try dandelions. Blueberries are very effective for creating blue. If you are looking to make brown, try using tea or coffee grounds. Carrots make a gorgeous orange color. Once you start experimenting with various berries, herbs and vegetables, there’s no limit to the different color shades you can create with items you can get at the local farmers market . Natural dyes existed for thousands of years before synthetic dyes came along. Civilizations throughout history used natural dyes to create gorgeous color shades. You can do the same and create your own eco-friendly dyes right in your own kitchen. Start saving vegetable peels, rinds, skins and other waste materials to start making dyes. After all, not everything has to go straight in the compost bin. Tie-dying Tie-dye is pretty ubiquitous, but not everyone actually knows how to do it. You can create a pretty big mess and cause yourself a lot of frustration if you don’t understand the process. But once you do, tie-dying is like riding a bike. You’ll be equipped with the skills to tie-dye for life. Before you dye your clothing, mix one cup of salt with 16 cups of water and four cups of vinegar and bring the solution to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat and simmer the fabric in this salty water for one hour. Run the fabric under cold water and wring it out after it has simmered long enough. Bunch a portion of the fabric in your hand, give it a little twist and put a rubber band around it. Do this as many times as you’d like, whether you want one bunched portion or several. Now, you can soak your material in the dye you made until it turns the shade you want. Do this for all of the colors you want to include in your design. For easier dying, you can also pour your homemade natural dyes into bottles to squirt or pour the dye on the fabric as desired. Carefully cut off the rubber bands and line-dry your fabric after it has been dyed. You’ll have to use very gentle detergent or hand-wash your tie-dyed items, because the color will fade more quickly than synthetic dyes. Luckily, if you do need to brighten your tie-dyed fabrics in the future, you can easily do so with natural dyes. Images via Oct Snow , Yuha Park , Deborah Lee Soltesz and Suzanne

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Crafts Made From Upcycled Food Packaging

May 19, 2020 by  
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Crafting with kids is a great way to get creative on lazy afternoons at home. By adding reused materials, you’ll not only make your projects cheaper (read: free), but also teach kids the value of reuse and recycling. The post Crafts Made From…

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Crafts Made From Upcycled Food Packaging

4 Crafts That Reuse Cardboard Food Packaging

January 29, 2019 by  
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While it is tricky to recycle frozen food boxes, there … The post 4 Crafts That Reuse Cardboard Food Packaging appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Funky Ways to Reuse Old Magazines

January 18, 2019 by  
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The glossy pages of magazines can be used for so … The post Funky Ways to Reuse Old Magazines appeared first on Earth911.com.

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5 DIY Crafts for Used Books

January 9, 2019 by  
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Warning to bibliophiles and the literary purists: We are about … The post 5 DIY Crafts for Used Books appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Guide to sustainable winter activities

December 3, 2018 by  
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Just because the temperature plummets and the daylight runs short doesn’t mean your bustling days need to end. Instead of hibernating like a bear, wearing pajamas and watching Netflix day after day, put some fun on the schedule and look forward to a winter full of activities. Of course, consumption and waste are always a consideration here at Inhabitat so here’s our top choices for the best eco-friendly, sustainable activities for your winter calendar. Snow play Those who love winter often anticipate the arrival of snow. Even those who long for summer have to admit that there is much fun to be had in the snow. Besides the obvious snowboarding and skiing, think local. Drag a sled up and down a hill for the afternoon and follow it up with hot cocoa or cider back at home. Take those cross-country skis off the wall and head to a nearby field or back-country road. Make, rent, or purchase some snowshoes for an invigorating experience. No discussion of snow would be complete without recommending you build a snowman and enjoy the mandatory snowball fight that comes with it. Alternately, build an igloo or snow cave. If you’re really adventurous you could even camp out in it! Get into nature Many outdoor activities can roll over from fall into winter. If the weather is not too severe, keep up your nature hikes and monitor the changes in the landscape throughout the season. While you’re out, look for supplies that you could use in crafts, such as pine cones, leaves, rocks, curved bark, acorns, or colorful berries. In fact, make it a challenge with a scavenger hunt or look up geocaching in your area and see if you can find the prize. Have a picnic Yes, you can. Of course you can. Why not? Replace the summer Chablis with a thermos of heated goodness. Bring along some hearty favorites and a thick blanket or pop-up tent. Find cover at a nearby park and watch the river rush by or the birds forage for food. Have a war For those mild-weather regions or even those with snow on the ground, grab the kids or a group of friends and head to the woods for a paintball war. Just be sure to wear eye protection and choose eco-friendly paints for you guns. Of course, you can recreate the same fun at home with rubber band guns and they are even easy to make yourself with any shape of wood and a clothespin mounted on top to fire the rubber bands. Baking party As soon as the days begin to shorten, the baked goods are in high demand. Instead of spending hours alone in the kitchen, why not make it a party? Invite over a few friends and pool ingredients to maximize the eco-friendly advantages of bulk foods, reduced packaging, and minimal waste. At the end of the day you’ll each have a variety of baked goods to take to your family or give as gifts. Travel by train There’s something about traveling by train that is timeless and serene. Of course, it’s also nice that it’s one of the most earth-friendly forms of transport. So whether you’re traveling to reach a destination or simply to take a scenic tour, hop aboard the train as your first option. Local events Communities organize events during every season and winter is no exception. Check the local online pages and printed newspapers for sustainable events in your area. These might include taking a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or attending a tree lighting ceremony, fundraising event, or salmon education walk. Volunteer Wintertime is a rough season for the homeless and less fortunate. Take some time to help out at a soup kitchen or local food bank and feel good about your contribution. Craft party For an indoor activity, invite over some friends or plan a party for your kids. You can make any number of things as a group including wreaths, blankets, quilts, pick-me-up cards for seniors or veterans, etc. For the kids, make Play-doh, Flubber, fingerpaints, or paper snowflakes. Donate them if you like or use them as gifts during the holidays and beyond. Build a birdhouse Your feathered friends will enjoy a warm place to sleep too. Get together with friends and make birdhouses for your backyard sanctuary. Visit the library The library is a great place to spend a soggy winter afternoon. Learn something new or just enjoy some quiet time. Indoor herb garden Many plants will grow indoors, even during the winter. Take pleasure in planting an herb garden and watch it grow while you enjoy fresh herbs year round. Take an adventure There’s no need to wait for summer for your next adventure. Instead, hunt down eco-friendly winter options around you. Go ice skating on the lake, visit the local reindeer farm, or experience your first dog sled ride. Winter is waiting. Go get it! Images via Shutterstock, Andrew Ly , Ethan Hu , lukasbieri , rawpixel , skeeze , jill111 , Michael Mroczek , Susan Yin , pintando la luz

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Guide to sustainable winter activities

6 Ways to Turn Mailed Trash into Treasure

May 29, 2018 by  
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If you’re anything like the average person, a trip to … The post 6 Ways to Turn Mailed Trash into Treasure appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo: Make Your Own Upcycled Piñata

May 3, 2018 by  
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Cinco de Mayo is almost here, and I’m going to … The post Celebrate Cinco de Mayo: Make Your Own Upcycled Piñata appeared first on Earth911.com.

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DIY Thanksgiving Decor Made from Trash

November 17, 2017 by  
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If you’re looking to reduce waste and save some money on your Thanksgiving decor, what better way to pull it off than by decorating with trash? To help you deck your halls the eco way, Earth911 rounded up these 11 creative decor ideas made from…

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Make Your Own Kokedama String Garden

August 22, 2017 by  
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Kokedama string gardens are a centuries-old art form where a plant’s roots are wrapped in moss and suspended. This gardening method is the perfect way to add a natural decor element to any space — not to mention, it’s a fun do-it-yourself…

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