28 June, 2011

Dyeing wool felt with home food colouring dyes

So, continuing on my all things felt theme. 

Today I thought I would update you with my dyeing felt efforts. I bought a woollen cream blanket that I have 'fulled' into felt (more on fulling here) and have cut into 8 large pieces. 
I have two things to report. 
1: I have tried to dye some of it with many of the beautiful bright flowers growing in our garden right now. I didn't do any research as to how & not so surprisingly, I didn't get the result I had hoped for!
2: Another idea came to me, instead of using expensive, often heavy metal dyes - I would try the food safe home food colouring dye available in supermarkets. They cost me .99c each colour and worked a treat. The vinegar cost me about A$2 for 2litres.

1. The 'dyeing wool felt with flowers' Experiment.

One of our beautiful flowers.
Natural food colouring dyes,
I thought to add a hint of backing colour.
Flowers spaced out over felt.
Felt rolled with the flowers inside, and tied with a natural string (ie No Colour)
I placed the roll on a bamboo steamer just above the dye water in the saucepan. Lid on.
Unrolled, after steaming.
The end result.
The hint of purple colour is the result of the flowers.
The separated reds & yellow are from the food dye.

1. The 
'dyeing wool felt with food colouring dye'

Ingredients used.
 I had 3 cups, each filled with half vinegar and half hot water.
A different dye was added to each cup and stirred.
Blank Canvas.
Wool felt cut from fulled cream blanket and the 3 dye cups.
Once I had finished splashing about, I heat set them by a) drying each piece completely in the sun, then b) ironing each piece on a wool setting. Then rinsed in cold water.  NO dye leaked at all.
Drying in the sun after rinsed in cold water.
I am very pleased with these results. I have made a few more (seen in the photo at the top). Trying different methods like boiling in a saucepan. My only disappointment is that I seem to keep being heavy handed with the amount of food colouring dye and the colours are very strong and bright. I would like to achieve more earthy colours and perhaps some paler ones looking a little more natural. It's all a (very addictive) learning curve.
I have no choice, I must head back to the op-shops in search of more cream blankets!


  1. looks beautiful and fun. I'll have to try it thanks...

  2. Yes, lots of fun and a lot of scope for further experimentation I think.
    It was also very easy!
    Thanks for dropping by Mandi.


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