I found wonderful, simple instructions for making natural dyes from 5 Orange Potatoes and decided that would be a wonderful thing to do with the Goldenrod we had collected from our Nature Study. We began the process by preparing the cloth to accept dye. To do this, you must boil the cloth in a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water for about 1 hour. Rinse in cold water. While the fabric was soaking in the fixative, we stripped the Goldenrod flowers off the plant stems and placed them in a pan. Then we added double the amount of water as we had Goldenrod flowers, and added 1/2 teaspoon ground Turmeric to insure color. We then brought the water to a boil, and simmered for about an hour.
We strained plant material from the water by placing coffee filters in a strainer. You could use cheesecloth instead. We strained it into an old plastic dishpan so that the boys could put their own handkerchiefs, still wet from the fixative soak, into the dye, and swirl it around a bit with a wooden spoon. We then put it all back into the pot and simmered the fabric in the bath for a half hour or so. Once the cloth had simmered enough, we let the cloth soak in the water while the water cooled. It was then time to rinse the dyed cloth in cold water until water was clear. We hung the cloth to dry. I am not sure what the kids will use the cloth for but the process of making colored cloth using just plant materials was a lot of fun for the kids This method can be used for any plant material, and I have even heard of people using these natural dyes to dye Easter Eggs...hmmmm.