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Colonial America – Dyeing Fabric

August 7, 2011
Ben stirring the onion skin dye pot.

Ben stirring the onion skin dye pot.

Colonial America – Dyeing Fabric

Since much of the clothing were made at home during colonial times, they would also make their own dyes.  They would use something that was plentiful.  Some areas cranberries were readily available and made a red dye.  Your child could dye a white t-shirt to discover how the process works.

  •  Combine the plants to be used to dye in a large pot with water.
  •  Cook at medium high until it boils then turn it to medium and let it simmer for 20 more minutes.
  •  Occasionally stir the dye to get out as much of the dyeing as possible.
  •  Cook on low for another 15 minutes.
  •  You can strain out the plants or place the t-shirt in the pot.
  •  Stir it in so it is covered and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  •  Hang to dry somewhere safe that the drips would not stain anything or place newspapers underneath it.

This website: Pioneer Thinking has more information on dyeing and plants that you could use!

For this simulation, we used onion skins and dyed t-shirts.  They turned a beautiful golden yellow!

All eyes are on the dye pot!

All eyes are on the dye pot!


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