Naturally Dyeing and Printing Fabric for Pencil Cases

I was researching how to naturally dye fabrics a couple of months ago, and blueberries turned out to be in season, and we had some extra beetroot – so I thought why not?  This is a picture of the Blueberry dyeing process. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I gave it a shot and I was pretty happy with the results! I pre soaked the calico, boiled the blueberries with some water and reduced it until there was pretty much just blueberry chunks left. This is probably most definetly not the right way to do it.

I was feeling a bit adventurous, and had a couple of yards of calico, so I decided to try out some Tea Dyeing as well. I remember seeing an image of colour stains from tea bags on paper, maybe this was banked in my subconscious somewhere. I grabbed some Asda brand blackcurrant tea bags (left), and regular tea bags (right), boiled some water, cut out fabric the size I usually use for making my pencil cases, and bunged them together into a jar. The jars here have boiling water, plus two tea bags each. I let them soak for over a day, with the lids on.

The dry fabric you can see is the blueberry dyed fabric (left) and the Beetroot dyed fabric (right). I am fairly certain I could have gotten more vivid colours if I had of followed some kind of instructions! I’ve used Beetroot in my artwork (Picture below!) before and the colour has been so vibrant it’s amazing!


Beetroot, I love you!

Here are some initial swatches where I was trying to figure out what I was doing. These colours are alot more vivid here than they were after I thouroughly rinsed out each piece. I imagine these colours are achievable though if you use the right mordants and methods… Love love love that first colour on the left, amazing!

My blueberry, and I think first rasberry tea testers hanging out to dry!


Out of my initial tests, I think the blueberry one was the most successful colour wise. Since I knew I was going to make whatever the results were into a pencil case, I thought i’d make use of my lino cutting tools and fabric inks to try some potato printing of geometric pattern…

I gave it a quick iron, following the directions and protecting the fabric with Greaseproof paper. This set the design into the fabric.

I was going to use this Aubergine-ish coloured zipper, but as you can see from the next picture, I must have changed my mind somewhere and decided to go with a green one!

Voila! My first naturally dyed / hand printed pencil case!

I decided to do some decorative stitching on the Blackcurrant tea dyed fabric! ‘Folking Awesome’.


These guys are available to buy over on my Etsy shop if anyone is interested! I wish I had a need for extreme multiple pencil cases, as I’m up to my eyes in them!


Blackberries are in season, (well, just out of season!) and I went picking last week; have some in the freezer and it has just dawned on me that they have AMAZING colour! Excellent 🙂


2 thoughts on “Naturally Dyeing and Printing Fabric for Pencil Cases

  1. These are so wonderful! You should try dying with spices next! You can get some great colors and your kitchen will smell delicious! I’ve used curry, chili powder, turmeric, and mustard seed among others.

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