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Blackberry Dyed Bead Necklace

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 -Large bowl -Wooden beads -pH-neutral soap -Ribbon

Source , The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes: Personaliz...

Step 1

Crush the blackberries with a mortar and pestle. Put the crushed blackberries in a bowl, add the water, and stir. The dye bath will be thick.

Step 2

Add the wood beads to the dye bath, submerge them, and soak until they reach the desired color.

Step 3

Wash the beads with pH-neutral soap, rinse thoroughly, and set out to dry.

Step 4

Once dry, string the beads with string or thick ribbon and knot to secure.