I wash my fabric with a 1 part soap to 2 part water mixture. If you are using any bottle of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap, then you’ll find that this ratio is perfect for many household uses. If you don’t have the soap I recommend, find a natural one that isn’t loaded with harsh chemicals. We don’t want the fabric to change the pH of the dye bath! Fill your bowl with hot water and soap. Dunk the fabric in and start washing. If your hands don’t tolerate the heat, just wear your rubber gloves to protect them. Then, rinse until all soapy residue is removed. Rinse the soap from the bowl. Fill with hot water again. Throw the fabric in, set it aside and let it sit for at least two hours. To ensure the fabric takes the dye evenly, it’s best to let it soak overnight.
    Your fabric has soaked and is ready for its next destination. Wring it out as best as you can. If you have a second stock pot, you can save time and cook the fabric while you cook the dye. Use 1/3 cup salt per 6 cups water. Bring the water to a boil. Then down to a simmer. Add in the fabric. Cook for 1 hour. Let cool, then wring it out again (it’s very important to extract as much of the liquid from the fabric as possible).    
    A great thing about making natural dye is that you’re reusing what is essentially waste. In this case, you need blueberries and not foodscraps. It’s a shame to use fresh blueberries. But if you’re like me and you eat an excessive amount of blueberries, maybe you forgot about a package in the back of the refrigerator and find it a few weeks later. Those are perfect! If you don’t find yourself in that situation, try asking your grocer for the fruit that they’re going to toss. When you explain your intent, they’ll usually be happy to give you a few packages at a discounted price. Please note that even though old berries are what we’re looking for, moldy ones are no good. If all else fails, frozen blueberries are your best bet. They’re less expensive than fresh berries and work just as well for dyeing.    
    The amount of blueberries you need varies, depending on the size of your stock pot or how much dye you’re attempting to make. Keep in mind that you must be able to completely submerge your fabric in the dye bath. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 part blueberries to 2 parts water. Always dump the blueberries into the pot first so you can see how much water to add. Put it on the heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 hour. Cut off the heat and let it cool until it is no longer steaming.
    Grab that large bowl from earlier. Put it in the kitchen sink. Place the strainer on top of the bowl and carefully dump the contents of the stock pot in. Save the berries for composting or throw them away. Pour the dye back into the stock pot.
   Let the dye cool to room temperature before using it to achieve bluer hues. Once it has cooled, dip a test strip of fabric in for 5-8 minutes. Observe the color. Add in a few tablespoons of the iron mordant you’ve made. Use 1 spoon at a time, stir after each addition. After 3 spoons, monitor the color change. Dip a test strip of fabric in for 5-8 minutes. If the strip comes out about 2-3 shades darker than the first, the dye is ready to use. If you feel it isn’t dark enough, repeat the process. Keep in mind that you can always add more mordant, but you cannot remove it.  
(Deep purple after test dip.)


After everything reaches room temperature, you’re ready to start dyeing! Wring out your fabric again. If you’d like to do a tie dye pattern, this is when you should tie up your fabric. Make certain it is room temperature. Bring your dye bath into the bathroom and set it in the bathtub. Though it is not