Thursday, February 19, 2009

fern leaf dye experiment

This is an old once upon a time aluminum pressure cooker pot. In the quart canning jar are 3 1/2 oz. of wild fern leaves covered with water and 1 tbls. of ammonia. I kept them simmering on my fireplace wood burner insert for 2 weeks. I shook the jar 3 or 4 times a day. Every 2 days I would pour the liquid into the aluminum pot, and then cover the leaves in the quart jar with 1 tbls. ammonia and water.
At the end of 2 weeks I added enough water to the pot to fill it up. I had kept the pot on simmering the entire time. I added wetted wool to the pot and simmered for 3 hrs. I removed the pot and removed the aluminum foil cover. I allowed it to cool until it could be handled. I rinsed and washed it and rinsed until the water ran clear. I got a pretty green color, I would say it almost glows:
I put the leaves from the quart jar into this gallon jar and added fresh leaves and covered them with water and ammonia, I set it aside for a future dye experiment:
This is the 3 1/2 oz. of leaves that I stuffed into the quart jar. I only picked the small green leaves:
Most of the plants looked like this one:


  1. Hi, congatulations for the experiment, the color is most unusual and really nice. The ferns seem different than what we have here, but I hope you don't mind if I try your method with our ferns next summer?

  2. I don't mind if others try my methods. I wish you luck with your fern experiment.