Natural Dye DIY: Roses

Botanical Dyeing with Roses

by Carol Hargus (owner and artist: Art & Soul Design)

The Rose has been revered throughout history and embraced by various cultures for it’s multitude of medicinal, spiritual, emotional and culinary attributes.

At Art & Soul Design, roses are always present in our shop, whether hanging on the wall to dry, wrapped in our ritual enhancing Smudge bundles, ingredients in our apothecary line or immortalized in our Botanically Dyed Textile line.

There are many techniques used to transfer the magical properties of The Rose into textiles. Extraction is one method that can easily be done in a home kitchen with a pot, heat source, water and roses.

Our preferred method is a steam extraction method that produces lovely imprints of the Rose leaf while infusing the essence of the petals into the textile and immortalizing the natural beauty all the while celebrating the Life, Death, Rebirth Cycle.

We’ll share both methods with you below. Happy Dyeing!



NOTE: Use non-reactive metal ( or glass) for all steps

-Non reactive (stainless steel is best) deep pot (3-4 gal) dedicated to your dyeing projects

-Tongs and long non reactive long spoon (wood is ok)

-Wire mesh strainer

-Measuring utensils


-Ph paper testers

- Water and heat source

-Colander and/or steamer tray

-Multiple pots and buckets

-Kitchen scale

- Eco friendly parchment paper such as “If You Care”

- Natural cord, either hemp or cotton

-Vinegar and Lemon

-Alum for mordant animal fibers, alum sulfate for vegetable fibers

Extraction method (to create a liquid dye bath)

  1. Chop clean petals (free of loose dirt ) into your small bits

  2. In cold H2O at 2:1 ratio, bring to boil H2O and Rose petals, reduce to simmer for 1 hour.

  3. Make sure Textile is clean. Wash in hot H2O with few drops of PH neutral soap.

  4. While simmering Rose petals,make note of weight of textile,then soak textile in vinegar/H2O at 1:3 ratio for 1 hour. Rinse and gently squeeze out excess moisture.

  5. Strain Rose petals and squeeze them to extract all of the essence into your dye bath

  6. Add squeeze of lemon juice and wet textiles to dye bath. Leave to soak for few hours or overnight.

  7. Rinse and hang to dry out of direct sunlight.

Bundle Dye/ Eco Dye Technique

  1. Begin with clean, mordant textile, lay out on flat surface, wet with vinegar/ H2O spray.

  2. Make a “paste” with liquid dye extract and alginate (seaweed)

  3. Either spread the paste over textile and or dip Rose leaves and/or petals in paste over ½ of the textile surface . Press plant matter down on textile.

  4. Fold over textile to “sandwich” the plant matter. Begin to roll up, pressing firmly and lightly spray with vinegar/H2O after other roll.

  5. Roll up tightly in Eco Friendly parchment paper. Wrap tightly with cord.

  6. Steam for 1.5 hours, flipping 3 times.

  7. Remove with tongs, wrap in old towel and let sit overnight or minimum of 12 hours.

  8. Unwrap, shake out as much plant matter as possible it will still be wet), and hang to “cure” ( out of direct sunlight) leave for 2 days , if possible.

  9. Rinse and then wash in hot H2O. At both rinse stages, you will most likely experience some color loss, which is a natural part of the mellowing process.

  10. Gently squeeze out excess moisture and hang to dry out of direct sunlight.

  11. Enjoy

Bundle Dyed Camisole Top Shown with Clear Rose Leaf Imprints^

Bundle Dyed Camisole Top Shown with Clear Rose Leaf Imprints^

Melissa HargusComment