Solar Dyeing

Before heading off to Adelaide for New Years Eve last year I set up some solar dyeing jars, using an old singlet top and some silk scarves. The idea was they’d be something for me to open after a month of travelling.


The jars had been sitting on the west side of the house, getting the afternoon sun. They’d obviously had plenty of heat, as one of the rubber seals was all cracked and stuck shut.

When I took the singlet top out it smelled like tea and lemons – quite nice. I’d wrapped it around some lemon gum leaves and seeds and the result was pretty good:


When I took the silk scarves out of the other jars, however, they stank rather badly. The nasturtium leaves and flowers worked quite well but smelled of rotten vegetation:


But the camelia and flame tree leaves stank of vomit and didn’t dye particularly well. This is fine – I can overdye with something else.


I washed everything thoroughly and hung it out to dry. Unfortunately, the stink has got into the skin of my hands, and I’m regretting pouring the dye water out in the garden near the kitchen window. Next time I’ll definitely be using gloves, and emptying the jars a looong way from the house!

One thought on “Solar Dyeing

  1. As you wash your hands with soap rub them on the faucet, the metal will help remove the smell. Don’t ask me how it works but it does. I do this all the time when I am cooking fish.

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