Students Create Wreaths and Plant Dyed Fabrics

This December, Hornby Island students produced some beautiful wreaths and plant dyed fabrics as part of our student education program.

First, several students participated in plant dyeing. They wrapped various native plants (salal, oak, huckleberry, lichen, etc.) and seaweed in fabric.  After waiting a few days it was time to reveal the results: the fabric had turned beautiful fall colours! We might repeat this project and see what colours are created in the springtime.

How they did it: The silk was pre-mordanted in vinegar. After the bundles were made, they were placed in jars with vinegar, water, and a couple of rusty nails or screws and one or two pennies. The iron oxide was the mordant which worked to draw the pigment from the plants and make it stick onto the fabric. The copper is supposed to brighten the colours. The jars needed to be kept warm for about a week as the heat makes the process work. After removing the bundles from the jars the kids took off the plant material and rinsed the fabric in water and baking soda which removed the vinegar.

Next, the whole school was involved in making wreaths for the holidays. The older kids made two each and gave one to someone they know who is elderly, homebound, or a neighbor. 

Thanks to all the natural history volunteers who gave them time and expertise to make these fun fall/winter activities happen!

Click on any photo to start viewing the slideshow from the plant dyeing process, plant dyeing results, and wreath making days.


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