From Green Husk to Dye

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Introduction: From Green Husk to Dye

Green husks are very easy to use for a deep brown dye! You can use it as paint or dye for paper and textile.

Step 1: Collecting, Drying and Crumbling Green Husks

Green husks are the green shells around walnuts. The best time to get the green husks is in September. Then the husks will shrivel, turn black and fall of the tree. After collecting them, you have to dry them by spreading them on a sheet and put it on the heater.

After drying the husks you can crumble them easily. On the last photo you see three steps of crumbling. The second step is good enough to get a brown color!

Step 2: Boiling

How longer you boil the water with the pieces of the green husk, the darker the color gets. Click on the last photo to see how long I boiled it to get the specific color. If you want to dye a piece of textile, you can boil it together with the water and pieces green husk.

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    11 Comments

    Very creative and understandable. No walnuts around here but I'll keep looking.

    Cool I know where to get those... But how will the dye keep in the laundry?

    4 replies

    Joekevdv : Nice work, well written!

    A cursory search for "dye mordant" or "mordanting" along with "'walnut" appears to show that wool dyed with walnut husks does not require a mordant to hold fast the color. (No special treatment required to keep the color.) Do be sure to keep the first washing separate from other fabrics.

    Sorry, posted before I meant to (on mobile). Black walnut dye will stay in your clothes when washed, but the first wash I would do without other clothes. Be really careful when you are using this as an ink or dye though because it stains everything and is impossible to get out. That includes your hands: wear gloves or they will be black for several weeks!

    keeps pretty well!

    Good question! I didn't wash the piece of textile yet, but I will keep you updated about the color when I do!

    Wow, I had no idea this was possible!

    I've got loads of walnut trees around my house, so I'll have to give this a go. Thank you very much for sharing this!

    3 replies

    What should the ratio be of ground shells to water?

    The best time to get the green husks is in September. Then the husks will shrivel, turn black and fall of the tree. After drying the husks you can crush them easily!

    That will give you liters of dye!
    I would say 1 (green husk) to 2 (water). I used 30ml for 4 tablespoons of crumbled green husks, but after boiling it for 40 minutes it was practically boiled dry.