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Natural Tie-Dye

This simple craft encourages kids to utilize natural elements ─ that probably can be found in your own backyard ─ as an eco-dye alternative. It’s time to extract color from your favorite flowers and plants!


  • Natural-fiber fabric (cotton, silk, or wool). Note: Natural fibers hold color better than synthetic fibers; silk or wool works better than cotton.
  • Fresh or dried flowers (rose petals, hibiscus, golden rod, pansies, etc.)
  • Rubber bands
  • Large pot with a steamer rack


We tested this craft using flour-sack towels to create custom placements and kitchen clothes. Experiment with household fabrics or, if desired, clothing garments.

  1. Wash fabric to remove residual chemicals or dirt. Or make a fabric fixative by mixing 4 parts water to 1 part vinegar prior to dyeing.
  2. Lay fabric flat. Sprinkle flower petals and leaves onto a section of fabric; fold over. Continue distribution and folding in sections.
  3. Bind the ends and middle of the fabric with rubber bands.
  4. Set the flower-filled fabric bundle onto a steamer rack over a pot of water set to low heat. Let the bundle steam for about an hour. Periodically check to ensure am ample amount of water remains in pot.
  5. Turn off heat; allow bundle to cool. Remove from steamer rack, unroll, and discard flowers. Note: The colors may look vivid but will dry lighter.
  6. Give the fabric a quick rinse in cool water; hang to dry. Your floral-inspired fabric is ready to be used as a placement or other desired function.