Bundle dye kit tutorial & magical reveals

Posted by Melanie Hasan on

One of our most popular in-person workshops is botanical alchemy, bundle dyeing. I truly enjoy teaching this workshop because the expression of students when the magical reveal occurs is priceless. Bundle dyeing is one of my favorite natural dye techniques. For starters, it's incredibly easy, unpredictable, and magical. I enjoy how versatile its capabilities are to bring character to old garments and woven fabrics. You can purchase a kit here, but materials are easy to come by with a little imagination and checking in with your household pantry.
This tutorial is based on our bundle dye kit sold at our studio, but of course you can acquire materials based on what’s suitable for your personal dyeing project. I encourage you to take advantage of kitchen waste and garden flowers, I’ve created beautiful pieces using avocado in its entirety, yellow and red onions, herbs, and cut flowers.
Our bundle dye kit includes:
(1) 100% silk bandana scarf
(1) dyestuff bundle of red onion skins, hollyhock, hibiscus, and dyers chamomile
Alum + soda ash for fabric preparation
How-to note card
Additional materials: 
Apron (optional)
Dedicated dye pot and steaming system (never mix your dye pots with pots used for food consumption)
Heating source
Measuring tools
String, twine, or rubber bands
    Once you have all your materials it’s time to bundle dye friends!
    Fabric preparation
    Determine your WOF (weight of fiber) of dry goods and clean your bandana with 2% WOF of soda ash with 1 teaspoon of pH neutral laundry detergent. This process can be achieved using your household washing machine on the hottest setting or to save water I encourage you to use a dedicated dye pot and cleanse on the stove with a gentle simmer for 1 hour.
    Washing machine method: Once cycle is completed, prepare for mordanting.
    Stove top method: Complete cleansing process until water runs clear. Remove bandana with tongs, USE CAUTION your bandana will be HOT. Rinse clear. 
    Next, using your WOF measure 10% WOF of alum into a low simmer dedicated dye pot with water. Ensure your bandana can loosely move in the dye pot. Gently simmer for 1 hour. Allow too cool or remove immediately and rinse.
    Roll, Bundle, Steam
    Lay your bandana right sides up on a clean surface. Using the dyestuff bundle located in the kit. Arrange, sprinkle, and design your bandana. Next, roll your bandana to the top (like making a sushi or cinnamon roll, yummy) and starting from the end of the roll, continue to roll into a snail shape or equal folds. The goal is to have a firm bundle at the end. Once you have a small bundle use twine, string, or rubber bands to secure in place.
    Create a steaming system or use a dedicated pot/steamer and allow a pot of water to simmer with the lid on to create steam. You can create your own steamer by using cheesecloth, old cotton muslin with rubber bands to secure in place, pasta colanders, old bamboo steamers, etc. The goal is to create steam bath for 45mins to 1 hour.
    Once your steam bath is going along, add your bundle to your steaming system and allow your bundle to steam for 45mins to 1 hour. You may also choose to submerge your bundle for other effects.
    Afterwards, remove your bundle and allow to cool. Once cooled reveal your bundle by slowly unrolling your magical bundle and removing dyestuff contents. Once you take in your beautiful creation, rinse clear and use a pH neutral detergent for final cleansing and hang dry.
    PRO TIP: Give your bandana a soda ash after bath and admire the change in color :)
    If you have any questions or wish to attend a workshop I am always available to help! 
    With peace + flowers,

    Leave a comment