Introduction: Dyeing Reed for Colorful Baskets

Dyeing reed with liquid dye for fun, colorful basket weaving.

Step 1: Picking Color/Gathering Supplies

This is an easy, fun, messy way to dye reed for basket weaving. I use Rit Brand dye, it is available in the laundry section of most department stores. Other items needed for this project are: hot water, cold water, salt (optional), a shallow tub, a hose or bucket, containers for unused dye, and of course, your undyed reed/basket.

Step 2: Dyeing and Rinsing

Place the raw reed in the shallow tub, add enough hot water to cover the reed, carefully add the liquid Rit dye, how much you add is up to you, more dye will make the color darker/brighter. Adding a tablespoon of salt is optional, salt helps to 'set' the dye, and also makes the color brighter. If you do not use salt, you will get a more 'watercolor' effect. The amount of time you let the reed soak will also determine the final color, longer soak=darker/brighter color. When you are happy with the color, carefully pour the dye into the empty container. Now the reed will need to be rinsed in cold water. Lots of cold water. Rinse until the water runs clear (as clear as possible, this is difficult on dark colors).

Step 3: Drying the Reed

Hang your drippy, wet reed somewhere to dry. You'll want to put newspaper under it, to catch the colorful drips. I used some broomsticks set between chairs.

Step 4: Save the Unused Dye

These are washed out peanut butter jars that I use to save/store any unused dye. You could use mason jars, spaghetti sauce jars, or the like. Recycle! Write the name of the color on the lid. You can use this dye again and again, for other projects, or more baskets.

Step 5: Have Fun Weaving a Basket

Use your colorful reed to weave a basket. Please refer to my previous Instructable: "Pack Basket" for weaving instructions for the backpacks pictured above. (I'd advise wearing an old shirt if you are going to use a dyed backpack...color transfer). If you have any questions, let me know, thank you for reading, and good luck!

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