Scientists have revealed that acorns and rust could be perfect green substitutes for tie-dying cotton clothes.
Although many kits are available for people to brighten up their clothes with colourful tie-dye patterns, US expert Julian Silverman says even common garden finds could help get the same results.
In the peer-reviewed Journal of Chemical Education – published by the American Chemical Society (ACS) – researchers said acorns, rust and vinegar can all be used to achieve colourful tie-dye patterns.
Using renewable resources, fashion fans can enjoy tie-dying their clothes in safe conditions with minimal supervision.
Natural materials have been used to create dyes and mordants to fix compounds on different fibres for thousands of years.
In one example, researchers said acorns can be used to achieve a brown-coloured tannin that can bind with orange-coloured iron mordants to create a dark blue colour on fabrics.
Silverman and colleagues said that similar natural dyes can create patterns in brown, orange, white, and blue-black when applied to cotton napkins.
The patterns will depend on how the napkins are wrapped in elastic bands and the order they are soaked in the natural dyes of acorn, rust and vinegar solution.
Even though the natural dyes are safe to dispose of down the drain, researchers advised wearing gloves, goggles and a lab coat to prevent them from staining the hobbyist’s clothes or skin.
The ACS is a non-profit organisation chartered by the US Congress that aims to advance broader chemistry enterprise for the benefit of the planet.
Using chemistry-related research and information, the ACS is a leading force in promoting science education through its peer-reviewed journals, eBooks, and scientific conferences.