Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Stop! Don't Throw Away That Amaryllis Yet!

After cleaning away all the Christmas decorations yesterday, all that was left was a soggy looking red amaryllis flower on the windowsill.  Pretty raggedy when you looked at it, but still, a splash of colour.  Who can blame me for leaving it out past it's best before date?  As I picked at it's bedraggled petals that were stuck like glue to the window pane the burgundy colour stained my fingertips.  Ah ha!  I remembered the pounded flower techniques that I've only done in my imagination before. 

Not one to let a little pigment go to waste, I quickly got some squares of fabric out.  The first one was a scrap of rust dyed fabric, and the second was a very pale purple attempt at deconstructive screen printing that was either going to be a future rag, or was in desperate need of overdyeing.

Here were my steps:

  • Ironed the fabrics to pieces of heavy duty freezer paper, mostly to help protect my ironing board.

  • snipped the petals off the flower and lay them on the rust dyed fabric.

  • Steamed the petals with the iron on hot about an inch above the fabric.  This further wilted the petals and made them lie flat.  It also moistened them quite a bit, which was a great help.

  • Placed another piece of heavy duty freezer paper on top and then ironed the whole mess until lots of colour came out into the fabric below.
At this point, the petals became stuck to the top piece of freezer paper so they were extremely easy to remove from the fabric.  I dryed the fabric by placing my pale purple piece over top and ironing.  When dry, I gave it another 30 seconds with the iron to heat set the colours. 

Here is a look at the effect on the rust dyed fabric:

I like the watercolour effect that the petals gave.  I felt there was still a lot of colour left in the petals that were stuck to the freezer paper so here is what I did:

  • Steamed the petals again with the iron.

  • Flipped it over onto the pale purple piece.

  • Rubbed and pressed with the iron, and with the back of a spoon.

  • Repeated several times, moving the petal/paper to different areas of the fabric below

  • Dryed and heat set the fabric.
Here is a look at the effect on the pale purple piece:

Here, the effect is more splotchy, but you can see there was still a lot of colour left. (About 50% of the colour came from the flower)  All this from just one flower bulb!

1 comment:

  1. Who could have known it would produce such a rich colour!! Will you be trying out every different flower in your garden this year? I had a thought that you could use wood with dye on it to achieve a wood grain effect. Have you tried that?