Dyeing with Pine Cones

Dyeing with Pine Cones

pinecones on a table As Spring arrives, I am slowly running out of saved plant material to dye with from the summer and fall.  As the snow was melting in Southern Ontario, all the pinecones that had fallen during the winter starting poking themselves out of the slush. I remembered I read, at some point that they were used as dye, so I collected a bunch.  All different varieties of pine and spruce cones. (spruce cones? is that a word?) 

Because this was a lockdown, hiking with the dog whim of an experiment, I didn't follow the rules I usually do when working with new dye stuff.  I didn't do any weighing of the pine cones, or of the material I used. I don't recommend being so wishy washy! But in a pinch of fun, Its not the end of the world. ( ill just redo the whole experiment!) 

With any woody dye material I use, bark, wood chips, roots, I always let the plant soak in a pot of water for 48 hours.  pinecones in a large pot of water

Into the pot, hot water to cover and put it aside. 

After 2 days, I brought the pot, (which actually smelled amazing! ) to a boil for about 90 minutes.  I strained the pinecones out, then added my pre-mordanted fabric.  The fabric I used was one larger pieces of hemp/organic cotton, that was pre treated with gallnut and alum. As well as an organic cotton bandana that was pretreat with just alum. I like the non uniform look of tie dye, so I tied up both pieces in various pleats with string. 

fabric in a pot of pinecone dye

I simmered the fibers in the dye for just over an hour, then turned the heat off and left it alone for 24 hours. 

After 24 (ish) hours, I removed the fibers from the pot. I like to spin the fiber out in my washing machine then unwrap them and let them hang up to dry over night, before fully washing them out.  ( check out the unwrapping video at the bottom of this post to see the difference!)  

Finished fabric! I am in LOVE!  I washed the fabric out in a washing machine with eco friendly detergent . I use warm water for the first wash, to really pull any excess dye out. From now on and for the rest of this fabrics life, I recommend cool water wash!

pinky brown fabric folded up on a white table top

The colour is a pinky brown. Actually quite darker than I first assumed it would be. I love surprises! Keeps me curious!  Ive collected a bunch more pinecones to play with. This time I will record weights!!  

Let me know if you've ever dyed with pine cones! What worked for you?!

Thanks for being here!! 

Much LOVE 




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