Natural Fabric Dye from Roses


Original Fabric


Pink Dyed Fabric

On Sunday I made my own fabric dye from a bouquet of withering roses that my boyfriend gave me. I figured I didn’t want to throw them out yet, but I knew I would have to within the next few days because they were starting to look sad. Then I though about what I could do with them. And I remembered that I had some leftover canvas fabric from a previous project and I decided to dye the fabric with the roses so they wouldn’t go to waste.

Materials needed:
Flower buds
Lemon Juice
Fabric (washed and dried)

The first step is to take the flower buds, full bloom, and chop them up into tiny pieces. Place this into a pot then add double the amount of water to the flowers.

Rose Petals
Place this on the stove and bring to a boil, then turn the burner to low and simmer for about an hour. Meanwhile, place you fabric into a separate pot or bowl of three parts cold water and one part vinegar. Let the fabric soak in the solution for an hour, or until the dye is ready. After the fabric has soaked, rinse it out under the faucet then squeeze out excess water.

Boiling Rose Petals

When the dye is done simmering, strain then toss the petals. If any uncertainty arises, the petals will all lose their original color. There will be excess dye soaked into the petals, so squeeze it out to make the most of your materials. Add lemon juice to activate the alkaloids and the color of dye will be a brilliant pink. Next, add the fabric to the pot and let soak for a few hours or overnight depending on the shade of pink wanted.

Dyeing Fabric

Don’t toss the excess liquid!

It can be strained once again to make sure no petals go through the first straining. The rosewater juice and lemon juice should be sufficient as rosewater lemonade by adding a litter sugar to sweeten it up or left as is depending on your taste buds. Or it can even be shaken with some ice and a shot or two of vodka to make a mixed drink.

Rosewater Lemonade

Photos by Kat

Care instructions: All dyed fabric should be laundered in cold water and separately.

Tips: Muslin, silk, cotton and wool work best for natural dyes and the lighter the fabric in color, the better.