Printing fashion with ecological dyes

As an inseparable complement to the rise of sustainable fashion, ecological dyes emerge. These are an element that adds to the conservation of the environment.

When it comes to sustainable fashion, everything that makes up the garment is included in its entirety. Therefore, the best natural and ecological dye that can be obtained is added.

Once committed to organic, natural and ecological is of prime importance. And we can start by creating that green concept, which promotes a healthy environment in our lives.

Creating ecological dyes
In times of confinement at home, it may be an excellent option to try to create ecological dyes with the elements that we have on hand. From very rudimentary processes at home, to serial productions as an undertaking, the elaboration of ecological dyes is going to be a challenge.

The color, hue or tone that we want to create is unlimited. Simply, because nature provides us with the basic element to perfectly combine an interesting polychrome.

Basic colors to recreate
There are a large number of natural elements to make ecological dyes. They will allow us to develop our imagination and create an endless color chart. Let’s see from which elements we can obtain certain colors:
• Yellow: onion skin, pumpkin peel, carrot leaves and stem.
• Blue: purple cabbage, black grapes and hyacinth flowers.
• Red: beets, hibiscus flowers and purple basil.
• Green: spinach, parsley and artichokes.
• Brown: walnut shell and dandelion root.

And in general, an immense number of sources of inspiration.

Important Recommendations

To obtain the best results, it is essential to follow some important suggestions beforehand:
• If you start in this activity, choose a piece in light colors that allow you to reproduce the desired tone.
• Garments dyed, printed or colored with ecological dyes should always be washed by hand and in cold water.
• Select the container and utensils that you are going to use for the dyeing process. It is advisable to use them exclusively for that purpose, as they will stain.
• Choose in advance all those natural products that you are going to use as a base for coloring (plants, vegetables, fruits, etc.).

Ecological fabrics, the perfect canvas
To obtain a truly sustainable garment, it is ideal to translate the idea onto fabric or any ecological material. Essentially, because the type of fabric will react differently to the same color.
To get started in the art of stamping with ecological dyes, it is convenient to do it on light colors or preferably white. In addition, the ideal is to choose natural fibers as a base. It is essential to previously treat the fabric with a fixative, which will allow the durability of the result.

Fixing the color
Within the ecological environment we must previously elaborate the mixture that will serve as a color fixer in the garment. There are several options, depending on the origin of the dye:
• In the case of using vegetable dyes, prepare a solution with four cups of water and a quarter cup of salt. Subsequently, bring the mixture to boil for a few minutes.
• Next, lower the temperature, and over a low heat, immerse the garment for an hour before dyeing it. In this way, you will guarantee the stability and preservation of the color.
• When the dye to be applied is plant-based, the mixture is 1 measure of vinegar for every 4 measures of water. The fixing process will be the same as mentioned above.
• Alum is also used as a fixative.
• Iron serves as a fixative when boiling the dye in pots made with this material. Another alternative is, placing a piece of rusty iron in the container where the dye is prepared.

Ecological textile paint
Ecological or sustainable materials are those made with 100% organic elements. They are obtained by methods free of chemicals and any other component harmful to health.
Within the market there is a wide range of textile dyes, most of which do not have the nomenclature of ecological products. On the contrary, they are highly toxic and polluting.

Eco-friendly industrial inks
There are a variety of inks on the market promoted as ecological and that are often used for screen printing. Until now, almost all inks for textile screen printing are based on plastisol. This compound causes a great environmental impact, since it contains very toxic chemicals.

Within the sustainable environment, we find the ecological water-based ink called Permaset. This dye does not contain toxic solvents and can be used on natural or synthetic fabrics.

Likewise, it can be used with a brush on a wide variety of surfaces, without a penetrating odor and with a variety of colors. It does not cause secondary damage to the manufacturer, nor to the end user of the garment.

Recycling with color
If you practice recycling garments, you can apply this technique to make the piece more sustainable. By dyeing the garment or designing original prints on it, you can create a new image, and give the piece exclusivity.
It is an easy procedure to do at home. With it you give a second chance to the garment and, generally, with common materials available to everyone. It just takes a little time, imagination and responsibility with the environment.

Taking advantage of confinement
The unsuspected duration of confinement, derived from the global pandemic by COVID-19, has given many people the opportunity to meet again. Staying at home, reconciling with nature and the environment, are the perfect conditions to add color to our projects.