dyeing butcher’s twine and spice sacks.

April 11, 2017

pastel-colored butchers twine with natural dye | reading my tea leavesIf you’ve gone to the trouble of dyeing a batch of Easter eggs, consider a very quick project to add a bit of springtime cheer to your Easter basket and to wring a bit more out of that natural dye you already made.

Pastel-colored twine and muslin spice sacks might feel like craftsy overkill until you realize that once you’ve already endeavored to dye eggs, this next step requires hardly any extra effort at all and gives you another festive addition for an Easter basket or other celebratory offering. In other words, we’d all be silly not to put that dye to good use.

I like to to think of it as a low-stakes natural dye project. With the exception of the splash of vinegar I added to the dyes for the eggs, there’s no mordant for color-fastness so these strings and pouches wouldn’t survive a trip in the washing machine, but for the realm of gift-wrapping and short-term cheer-making, they’re perfect. Here’s what I did:
pastel-colored butchers twine with natural dye | reading my tea leaves
After fishing our eggs out of the mason jars where they took their dye bath, I plunked in a few small muslin spice bags and a few lengths of plain cotton string. The turmeric and beets worked their magic in well under an hour. The cabbage, I left to work overnight.
pastel-colored gift wrap with natural dye | reading my tea leavesWhen the cotton had reached the desired color, I wrung them out, rinsed them off, and set them to dry, which they did in no time at all.
pastel-colored gift wrap with natural dye | reading my tea leaves

I filled the muslin pouches with vaguely egg-shaped treats from the bulk section of the grocery store: yogurt-covered raisins and chocolate-covered almonds, and something called toffee-covered pistachios which taste like chocolate, but who’s complaining?
pastel-colored gift wrap with natural dye | reading my tea leaves

Brown paper parcels got a little extra festive with brightly-colored twine.
pastel-colored gift wrap with natural dye | reading my tea leaves

I finished off the basket by filling up the empty space with a small bottle of fresh daffs. Prettiest basket filler there ever was and I promise no one will miss the fake grass. More clutter-free Easter basket ideas right this way.

PS. Before you plan on dunking your favorite pillowcases in with your beets or cabbage, know that while they produce potent colors for eggs, their colors tend to fade quite quickly on fabric. This method works great for quickie dyeing projects, but you’d want to experiment with other dye stuffs for longer-lasting color. If you’re interested in natural dyeing, I still heartily recommend Rebecca Desnos’s e-book Botanical Colour At Your Fingertips.

For the curious: Twine and spice sacks found locally at A Cook’s Companion. Mini bolga basket found at Acorn Toy Shop.

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  • Reply Monika J April 11, 2017 at 11:28 am

    I discovered these this year: http://www.goldencockerel.com/en-us/easter-eggs/blanks-and-craft-ideas/blank-hollow-wooden-egg-275-inches.html

    Will make for a waste free and much prettier Easter Egg hunt! 🙂

  • Reply Rebecca April 11, 2017 at 11:42 am

    freaking adorable, and accessible. thank you!

  • Reply Breanna Marie April 11, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Such a lovely idea! I love how much waste this nixes!

  • Reply Brianna April 11, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Beautiful, Absolutely beautiful.

  • Reply Susana C. Galli April 12, 2017 at 3:17 am

    Such a good idea! I don’t have any of those wee bags but I’ll use a few squares of fabric to wrap the sweets, and maybe a few ribbons too…

  • Reply jane April 12, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Prettiest Easter basket I’ve seen in a long time!

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