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How to Make Natural Green Dyes From Plants
One of the most common colors in the plant world is green. Fortunately, nature gives us an abundance of plants that produce varying shades of green dyes to suit every taste.
Learn how to create natural green dyes from plants and then use it to dye fibers and fabrics for your home, clothing and craft projects. And if you want to add some additional colors, learn how to create these dye colors from plants:Continue to 2 of 23 below.
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The artichoke that we love to eat is the globe artichoke, Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus, a perennial thistle native to Southern Europe around the Mediterranean. The purple flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud. We enjoy the fleshy lower portions of the bracts on the bud and the base, known as the "heart". The immature florets in the center of the bud is called the "choke" and are inedible in large buds.
To create a green dye bath, the entire artichoke is used. Cut into pieces to help release the dye when boiled with water.Continue to 3 of 23 below.
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The Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta, is native to most of North America and makes a striking show during its summer blooming season. It has been cultivated for planting in gardens in most temperate zones. They are easy to grow and can be started from seed. Black-eyed Susan seeds are readily available in most garden centers or online.
Gather the leaves and stems of the plant to create a bright olive/apple green dye bath when boiled with water.Continue to 4 of 23 below.
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In addition to a relaxing nighttime tea, Chamomile, Matricaria recutita, can also be used to create a green dye bath by boiling the leaves with water.
Chamomile can be found all over Europe and temperate Asia as well as temperate North America and Australia. The flowers bloom in early to mid summer and have a strong aromatic smell. They have white petals and a yellow center.Continue to 5 of 23 below.
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While coneflower petals are not green, they can produce a lovely green dye bath when boiled with water.
There are several plants that are called coneflowers including Echinacea, Rudbeckia and Ratibida; but this reference is for Dracopis amplexicaulis. It is native to North America and can easily be grown from seeds that are available in garden centers and online.Continue to 6 of 23 below.
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Foxglove, Digitalis, is native to western and south western Europe, western and central Asia and northwestern Africa. The flowers are produced on a tall spike and vary in color from purple to pink, white and yellow.
The flowers, when boiled with water, produce an apple green dye bath. Foxglove is the basis for an important heart medication. Discard of the dye bath carefully and keep away from pets and wildlife.Continue to 7 of 23 below.
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Grasses, graminoids, are herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the true grasses, as well as the sedges and the rushes. Grasses are, perhaps, the most abundant plants on earth.
Different grasses will produce varying shades of green when boiled with water. Most will produce a yellow green bath.Continue to 8 of 23 below.
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Larkspur or Delphinium
Larkspur or Delphinium is a genus of about 300 species of perennial flowering plants in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae.
Larkspur has an erect main flowering stem topped with many flowers varying from purple and blue to red, yellow or white. The plants flower from late spring to late summer. These lovely plants when boiled with water and alum produce a great green dye bath.Continue to 9 of 23 below.
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Lilac shrubs or trees, Syringa, is part of the olive family and native to southeastern Europe to eastern Asia. The woody plant produces delicate, highly scented flowers each spring that range from light purple (lilac) to white, pale yellow to pink.
These lovely flowers when boiled with water produce a delicate green dye bath.Continue to 10 of 23 below.
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Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley, Convallaria majalis, is a plant native throughout the cool temperate areas of Asia, Europe and in the southern Appalachian Mountains in the United States. It is poisonous perennial that forms colonies through underground rhizomes. The flowers are on a stalk and bell-shaped and sweetly scented. The entire plant is poisonous if consumed.
A light green dye can be created by boiling the leaves with water. The dye bath must be disposed of properly because the plant (and dye bath) is toxic.Continue to 11 of 23 below.
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Mint, Mentha, is an herb found in temperate areas around the world. It is an aromatic herb used for cooking, candy making and medicinal uses.
The plant is a perennial and spreads quickly by underground and overground stolons. It can quickly overtake an area. To create a fragrant and dark khaki green dye bath, just boil the leaves with water.Continue to 12 of 23 below.
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Nettle, Urticaceae, is a herbaceous perennial plant with stinging hairs on the stems and leaves. They are native to Europe, Africa, Asia and North America and are usually thought of as a nuisance plant. However, when boiled with water, you'll find something good - a nice green dye bath.Continue to 13 of 23 below.
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Pigweed, Amaranthus palmeri, is native to most of the southern half of North America. The plant is fast-growing and the leaves, stems and seeds are edible. Like spinach and many other leafy greens, amaranth leaves also contain oxalic acid, which can be harmful to individuals with kidney problems if consumed in excess. It can also be toxic to livestock due to the nitrates in the plant.
To create a yellow green bath, boil the entire plant with water.Continue to 14 of 23 below.
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We're not talking bananas here, plantain, Plantago, are found all over the world, including America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Europe. They are most often called weeds and grow in wet areas like bogs and ditches. Gather the roots to create a green dye when boiled with water.Continue to 15 of 23 below.
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Purple milkweed, Asclepias purpurascens, is native to the Eastern, Southern and Midwestern United States. The flowers open as pink but turn darker purple as they mature.
It is also called Butterfly weed because it attracts butterflies as does its cousins Swamp milkweed with light purple flowers and orange butterfly weed. To create a lovely green dye bath, boil the leaves and flowers with boiling water.Continue to 16 of 23 below.
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Queen Anne's Lace
True Queen Anne's Lace, Ammi majus, originates in the Nile River Valley and has white lace-like flower clusters. But throughout the United States, it is Daucus carota that is called Queen Anne's Lace or wild carrot. This plant is native to temperate regions of Europe, southwest Asia and naturalized in North America and Australia.
Queen Anne's Lace flowers from June to August. It creates multiple seeds that spread everywhere and it multiplies rapidly. To create a pale green dye bath, boil the entire plant (flowers, leaves and stalk) with water.Continue to 17 of 23 below.
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Red onions, sometimes called purple onions, are medium to large in size and have a mild to sweet flavor. They are often consumed raw or lightly cooked with other foods. They tend to lose their redness when cooked.
The red color comes from anthocyanidins such as cyanidin which is not stable at high temperatures. Which is why, when combined with boiling water, you will get a medium green dye bath.Continue to 18 of 23 below.
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Red Pine Needles
Red pine, Pinus resinosa, is native to North America in the eastern mountains. The bark is thick and gray-brown at the base of the tree, but thin, flaky and bright orange-red in the upper crown and give the tree its name.
The leaves are needle-like and dark green and snap cleanly when bent. Combine with needles with boiling water to create a forest green dye bath.Continue to 19 of 23 below.
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Scotch Broom Stems
Scotch Broom, Cytisus scoparius, is a perennial shrub native to western and central Europe. The shrub has green shoots with small deciduous leaves, and during spring and summer are covered in profuse golden yellow flowers. The shrub likes sunny sites and thrives in dry, sandy soils.
Use the green stems to create a green dye bath with boiling water.Continue to 20 of 23 below.
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Snapdragon, Antirrhinum, is named for the flowers' resemblance to the face of a dragon that snaps opens and closes its mouth when squeezed. Snapdragons are found in gardens in every temperate area and can have showy white, crimson, or yellow flowers.
To create a green dye bath, use the flowers and boiling water.Continue to 21 of 23 below.
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Sorrel, Rumex acetosa, is a perennial herb that is cultivated as a garden herb or leaf vegetable. The leaves may be puréed in soups and sauces or added to salads; they have a flavour that is similar to kiwifruit or sour wild strawberries.
Boiling the roots and leaves with water will produce a dark green dye bath.Continue to 22 of 23 below.
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Spinach, Spinacia oleracea, is an edible plant native to central and southwestern Asia. It is an annual plant which may survive over winter in temperate regions. Not only is spinach nutritious and good for Popeye, it also makes a wonderful green dye when the leaves are boiled with water. Older leaves produce a richer, darker dye.Continue to 23 of 23 below.
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Tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus, is a perennial herb in the family Asteraceae. It is native to a wide area of the Northern Hemisphere. Tarragon is a popular herb used in everything from soft drinks to sauces to vinegar to chicken dishes.
For the best tarragon dye bath, use the entire plant (not dried herbs) with boiling water to get a range of greens from soft to medium.