I have to admit my husband looked less than convinced when I excitedly tried to explain, this, my latest crafty light-bulb moment. "Why on earth would you want to put stains on something" he said, "surely people mostly try and remove them?". Fortunately my kids were far more impressed by my creativity, and we spent a fun afternoon testing out my theory; you can use stains as dye!
This is what we did...
We used natural cotton bags, and prepared them by simmering them in a fixative (1 part vinegar to 4 parts water) for about an hour. We decided to try tomato ketchup and Mustard for our dyeing experiment.
We sketched our designs on the bags lightly in pencil, so we had a guide to follow, and then painted on our stains.
We left our designs to dry, and then covered them with a tea towel and ran over them with a hot iron. Breath held, they were then popped into the washing machine and run on a rinse cycle to remove the mustard and ketchup.
Having spied the dodgy bottle of wine left on the side, we decided to try some tie-dyeing! Elastic bands were wrapped around the bags, before they were popped into the wine for a couple of hours. We then simply rinsed them under the tap.
We are really happy with how our bags turned out! The ketchup pattern isn't as vibrant as the mustard and red wine, but still looks really pretty in the flesh. Next time we're going to try cocoa powder and blitzed up grass cuttings!