It is exciting to consider how many kinds of material beyond textiles can be dyed with botanical color. I dyed wooden beads with blackberry dye and strung them on a length of fabric cord that I dyed steel-gray. Other beads that work for naturally dyeing are those made of bone or other natural fibers like wool felt or silk. Using your fabric dye scraps for a bead cord can be a great way to accent naturally dyed beads.
Porous wood works well for dyeing beads. You can create a deep rich dye bath without heat, since wood readily absorbs blackberry dye. To crush the ripe blackberries, grind them with a mortar and pestle. Blackberries make a dye that is shades of deep purple and maroon on light-colored wood.
Excerpted from The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes: Personalize Your Craft with Organic Colors from Acors, Blackberries, Coffee, and Other Everyday Ingredients by Sasha Duerr, published by Timber Press. Photographs by Sasha Duerr.
Materials and Tools:
-1 oz (28 g) blackberries
-4 fluid oz (118 mL) water
-Mortar and pestle