Let’s get started! Most people do not realize that you need a fixative for the color to adhere and stick to the shirt. This is true when using natural products to dye your fabric to ensure the dye really seeps in and you get the beautiful color you are looking for. You will want to use vinegar with your cabbage, beets and other products similar — 1 cup vinegar to 3 cups water. Boil this and bring it to a simmer. For all of your berries, you will need 3/4 cup of salt to 3 cups of water and boil this, then let simmer as well.
There are so many fabulous resources on the internet where you can find fabulous banding techniques to give your shirt the most fabulous designs! Do this first and then you will be placing that white t-shirt, already banded with rubber bands, into the fixative solution we just created! Let them simmer in the pot for 1 hour. Take your shirt out of your pot and “cool it off” by rinsing it in the sink with cool water.
Now that your shirt is prepped and ready for dye, let’s get started creating the dye solution! How incredible is it that we are able to use natural products from our gardens to be able to dye? I absolutely love it, I think it is incredible! To start, choose which product you will be using. Whether it be berries or cabbage, you will chop up 1 cup and add 2 cups of water. Bring this to a boil and let it simmer for about an hour. The longer you let it simmer, the more vibrant the color! After simmering, you will pour your solution into a flour sifter or through a cheesecloth into a bowl.. this will make sure to leave you will only your liquid dye and have no leftover berries or remnants of the product you use in your dye.
Submerge one shirt at a time into the dye in your bowl. Mason jars can also be used in place of a large bowl if you have a group of children. This will give them their very own “dye station” how much fun! This is where your creativity comes into play! You can dye these however you prefer for your end look. You may also use multiple colors at this point. The longer you let the color sit in the dye, the more vibrant and rich the color will be!