The fab Caroline South shows us how you can make your own DIY napkins. And the best part? They’re naturally dyed using a home-grown colour palette. Follow her basic guide, then experiment with different dye materials to create a set of inexpensive, eco-friendly linen.
Be it vegetables fresh from the earth, flowers picked on a countryside stroll, or spices from a kitchen cupboard, nature is full of produce that can be used to create the most beautiful dyes. As they don’t rely on chemicals, using natural ingredients to colour fabric results in the prettiest soft, muted shades. And, by trying this artisanal technique, you’ll be following an age-old tradition, used for thousands of years.
You can use most plants, fruits and spices to create natural dyes, and the final colour will vary depending on both the dye matter and the fabric. Here are a few suggestions, depending on the colour palette you want to achieve:
Yellow – turmeric, celery leaves.
Orange/brown – tea and coffee, brown onion, walnuts, marigolds.
Red/pink – strawberries, cherries, beetroot, hibiscus flowers.
Green – artichokes, spinach, peppermint leaves, nettles.
Blue/purple – blackberries, red cabbage, blueberries, black beans.
You will need
- White cotton napkins
- Dye materials (we used black beans (blue), red cabbage (purple), beetroot (pink) and turmeric (yellow))
- White vinegar
- Large cooking pot
- Rubber gloves
Eco dyeing tutorial – make your own colourful tea towels
About Caroline Smith
Caroline likes nothing better than organising objects neatly, and always has a camera in hand. Taking pleasure from memory keeping, she describes her website as a scrapbook – a place to share the treasures she finds, and her makes created from natural and found items.