Butterfly Pea Fabric Dye

Butterfly Pea Fabric Dye

A quick natural dye experiment with butterfly pea flowers. Because butterfly pea flower tea has such a beautiful dark ink blue color, I tried to dye fabric blue with it. Butterfly pea fabric dye tried on silk and cotton fabric.

Butterfly Pea Fabric Dye

Butterfly Pea Tea – Natural Blue Food Dye

Butterfly pea flowers – clitoria ternatea – are a naturally blue food dye. I used them successfully in the past to dye ice cream, cake and icing blue. So I wondered if they’d dye fabric blue too.

Butterfly Pea Natural Fabric Dye Experiment

For this dye experiment I used powdered butterfly pea tea. I poured boiling water over one bag butterfly pea tea and let it steep for some minutes. Then I let the fabric soak overnight in the dark ink blue liquid. I tried to dye cotton and silk fabric – cotton is more alkaline and silk more acidic.

The next morning, both fabric pieces were blue and stayed blue even after I washed them in warm soapy water.

Light & Wash Fastness

The color seems to be wash fast. But after some month exposure to direct sunlight, both fabric pieces faded to light blue and then finally back to white. So unfortunately the beautiful blue color isn’t light fast!

More Natural Blue Fabric Dyes

2 thoughts on “Butterfly Pea Fabric Dye

  1. This is fascinating! I live the idea of using the tea to color food products such as ice cream and fisting. I wonder if the fabric would have been more fast if you had used a mordant. I might try that with alum mordanted silk.

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