One of the most often loved colors in the garden and by almost every little girl is pink. Fortunately, nature gives us an abundance of plants that produce pink floral displays and pink dyes. You can use many of the same types of plant material that produce red dyes just by adding water to lighten the color. Once you've conquered pink and red dyes, it is easy to learn to make blue, purple, orange, yellow, black, peach, green, and brown dyes.
Learn how to create natural, organic pink dye solutions from plants and then use them to dye fibers and fabrics for your home, clothing, and craft projects.
British Soldier Lichens
The British Soldier Lichen, Cladonia cristatella, gets its name from its resemblance to the uniforms worn by English soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
The lichens are found growing on decaying wood, mossy logs, tree bases, and stumps. The lichens can be used fresh or dried to create a pink to wine-colored dye when boiled with water and then strained.
The domesticated cherry tree, Prunus avium, produces cultivated cherries used for everything from our favorite cherry pies to any cherry-flavored treat. The fruit can range from a light red/yellow to a dark purple.
To extract a pink dye, select red or purple cherries and boil the whole fruits in water until the fruit pops. This will extract the most colorant. Strain out the solids to use the liquid as a natural dye.
Grand Fir Tree
The grand fir tree, Abies grandis, also known as Giant Fir, Western White Fir or Oregon Fir is native to the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. The bark is smooth and greyish-brown with white spots and blisters filled with gummy resin when the tree is young. The bark becomes furrowed and scaly with age.
To extract a pink dye, the mature bark must be boiled with water and then strained.
Camellia, C. sasanqua, is one of the staples of the Deep South in the United States. Native to Asia, they are found from the Himalayas to Japan and Indonesia.
Camellias are evergreen and become small trees. Their flowers are usually large with five to nine petals. The colors vary from white through pink colors to red; true yellow flowers are found only in South China and North Vietnam.
Creating a dye bath of pink or red camellia blooms with lemon and salt will produce a strong pink-magenta dye. You can experiment with other bloom colors or mixing reds and pinks to discover a range of dye colors.
The raspberry, Rubus idaeus, is a perennial plant with woody stems. The fruit can range from yellow to bright pink to dark purple. There are both wild and cultivated raspberry varieties. The cultivation of raspberries in temperate areas of the world produces an important crop for jams, preserves, and flavorings.
To achieve a pink dye bath, boil the fruit of red raspberry varieties with water and then strain away the solids. Raspberries can be mixed with other red fruits like strawberries or cherries to create a range of dye hues.
Roses and Lavender
To achieve a brilliant pink dye, you need a combination of pink or red rose petals, Rosa, and purple lavender, Lavandula. The combination of the flowers, combined with lemon juice, will produce a lovely pink dye bath when steeped together in hot water. The flowers can be fresh or dried. Strain away the solids when you are ready to dye.
The garden strawberry, Fragaria ananassa, is cultivated worldwide for its fruit. The fruit is known for its bright red color and wonderful aroma. It is, of course, one of the favorite flavors in preserves, juices, baked goods, and ice cream.
To create a pink dye bath, you can use store-bought strawberries, wild strawberries or those from your garden. Simply boil the fruit with water and crush lightly to release the color. Strain out the solids, and the dye is ready to use.
Sumac, Rhus, grows in subtropical and temperate regions throughout the world, especially in Africa and North America. They propagate easily and can become a nuisance shrub or small tree.
Almost every part of the common sumac plant can be used to create a dye. The leaves will produce a tan or very light brown dye when boiled with water. It is the ripened fruit that will produce a pink to light red dye bath when boiled with water.