Monday, November 9, 2020

T Stands For Grape Juice


Today I'm at my kitchen table.  I won't be drinking, but I will be dyeing.  This post will also take the place of my Second Thursday Tutorial. 

As with all my tutorials, I'll begin with the materials I will use, starting back left and working clockwise:
Wax thread
Grape juice (with a "use by" date in 2007)
Various fabrics to dye, none of which are 100% cotton
Grape juice (with a "use by" date in 2007)
King size pillowcase, 100% cotton
Glass bowl 

Before we begin the dyeing process, I want to say a little about "fixatives."  If you want to dye something using grape juice you want to wash (like a tee shirt, blouse, or skirt), you will need to use a fixative.  Since my dyed projects will be for my art quilts, which will NEVER be washed, I'm not concerned about fixing the dye.

You have two choices of a fixative when dyeing with any fruit or veggie.  That includes grape juice.  You can either use salt or vinegar for this.  I should point out if you are dyeing wool felt, you must use the vinegar fixative.  There were several sites on the internet that included the recipe, so I will just share what I learned:


Bring your fixative mix to a light boil, then add your fabric. Simmer your fabric in the fixative for at least an hour.  After an hour or so, carefully remove your fabric from the simmering fixative. Allow the fabric to cool slightly, then wring it out completely.  Your fabric is now ready to be dyed and you can be assured the dye will not wash out the first time you launder your fabric.

The first thing I did was deconstruct the cotton pillowcase.

I took this closeup so you could see the beautiful detail in this pillowcase.  I hope it shows in the final product, too.
Now it's time to tear a piece of fabric to be dyed.

I never realized how long a king sized pillowcase is.  That's not the full length, either.

I decided to twist the fabric in the hopes it would be mottled after it sat in the dye.

Since I have practically no grip in my finger, this was difficult.

Even harder was adding the wax linen string in places the twist wasn't evident.

It was time to add the various other fabrics to the bowl,

along with both bottles of old grape juice.  Now it was time to wait overnight and allow the grape juice to wick up some of the other fabrics that were not completely submerged.  
Those of you who have seen my other tutorials using kitchen ingredients will remember that I caution to keep your dyeing materials (like the glass bowl) separate from your food materials.  Even though the ingredients originated in the kitchen, I do NOT recommend using the same materials for food that you use for art.  A few materials/containers such as glass bowls, stainless steel pots, measuring cups, and measuring spoons are inexpensive at garage sales and thrift stores.  I mark my kitchen materials when I take them to my craft room so everyone knows these are for crafts ONLY.  Better safe than sorry.

Here are all the fabrics I dyed, except the pillowcase, which is drying on a different ledge.

This is the fabric that had been dyed once before by ice dyeing it.  This time it was much darker.  If you want to see it in the dye bowl, it is the fabric standing straight up.

This is what was originally a white poly cotton blend.  I liked how it came out.  It was the piece using a clothes pin to create the marks.

I was less enthused about the lace.  It didn't take on the color as I'd hoped.

I tried to get artistic with this backlit shot, but I'm not sure it turned out as nice as I'd hoped.

The twists I nearly killed my fingers for didn't turn out well at all.  I did too many twists and didn't allow enough of the grape juice to penetrate the fabric.  This will definitely have to be over dyed again.

The lighting in my kitchen is so warm during the day, the white fabric didn't look much different from the dyed fabric.

1.  I worried when I used the old grape juice, it might have turned colors, but I felt I had nothing to lose by using it.  As you can see, the grape color it should have produced had the juice been fresh, turned brown with age.  It also had little bits of sediment in it that stuck to the various fabrics, even after they were washed.

2.  This is the first tutorial I have created using the "new" blogger.  I had to load each photo separately, because when I loaded more than one photo at a time, I got the grape juice going in the bowl before the supplies were listed.  Frustrating, but still worth loading one at a time.

Now you've seen my drink of choice today, show me yours, please.  By now you more than likely know the rules.  Please share your own drink related post.  It can be gifts you received, photos, a place you visited, movies, postcards, mail art, junk mail, catalogs, books, sketches, mixed media, drawings, paintings, tags, scrapbooking, or other art that is digital, hybrid, or traditional, as long as it in some way relates back to a drink, any drink.  Regardless, please share below and Bleubeard and I, along with the rest of the T gang will be by to visit.   Please link only your T post and not your blog in general.  Bleubeard would like to remind you that old photos are acceptable because they may be taken any time, not just on Tuesday and not just this year. 

Several asked how I found grape juice so old.  These were behind my scanner, which I had to move when I moved my phone.   They were there a LONG time, because I had used them to hold rippled papers in place on my previous scanner.

This is Day 10 of AEDM, and I hosted a drink link up party, and created my monthly Second Thursday Tutorial a couple days early.

32 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

It looks like you had fun with your grape-juice. Your material took on some interesting colours. Happy T day, hugs, Valerie

Mae Travels said...

How did you happen to save a bottle of grape juice for all those years? Inquiring minds want to know.

be well... mae at

Eileen Bergen said...

Your fabrics look beautifully aged - great for junk journals and altered books. Plus you learned something. That's a win-win to me.

Happy T-Day! Stay safe and stay well. Hugs, Eileen

CJ Kennedy said...

The color was a surprise to me as I was expecting purple. I use salt and cold water to set red clothes that I buy before I wash them so the red dye doesn't bleed and stain other clothes.

Lowcarb team member said...

Yes, I too thought it would be more purple!
Many thanks for the pictures and tutorial.

All the best Jan

Lisca said...

Oh you had fun with your grap juice. Although I had the impression you were a bit disappointed with the results. Like most other commenters, I thought the colour would turn out more wine coloured I suppose.
Where on earth did you find out of date grape juice? Found it in your basement?
Re new blogger: yes, I too load each photo individually, so I can get it where I want it. I have now gotten used to loading one at a time as I go along. It works for me.
Happy T-Day,

Susan Kane said...

Seeing all the strips of fabric drying the sun makes me feel good.

Barbara said...

What I feel here is that you were a bit disappointed with the results. Next is to be grateful for all you learned, and to also find ways to use the transformed fabrics. I’m sure you will with your limitless art journals and altered books! I envy the enthusiasm of those who enjoy dyeing fabrics. I will never do it though, it’s just too much like cooking for me. 😉

Linda Kunsman said...

a detailed and great tutorial along with wonderful results Elizabeth! I am always so tempted to try it out, but, hesitant only because my endless list of things to make/do/try is not getting any smaller:):) I really love the lace especially.
Thanks for sharing and happy T day!

Halle said...

I really would have thought the color would have been darker. Although I do remember drying a t-shirt with beet juice as a kid and was sad when most of the pretty color disappeared.
Happy T day!

My name is Erika. said...

I always enjoy seeing what I get when I dye fabric or paper. It's exciting. And I never thought about using old juice. You've done more dyeing than me, so I like reading and picking up new tips and info. This is a fun T day post for sure. Have a great T day. Hugs-Erika

Kate Yetter said...

Your dyed fabrics are lovely. I have always wanted to try this but have never set aside fabric to do so. I love that you used basic household supplies for this project. Thank you for sharing your process.
Happy Tea Day,

RO said...

One never knows what can be lurking around the house(lol). I just found something I had been looking for since last year!(lol) Interesting colors showed up, and I learned a lot about this type of process. Hugs, RO

Iris Flavia said...

Oh, that poor pillowcase-fella looks like a mummy!!! Which just suits my entry a wee bit.
I remember when my dear Grandma had moved we found canned fruit from the mid-70´s. Oh, soooo sad, we did not dare to try them.
But I also have something for some T-day some time and was surprised it read "best before 2010"... time flies!
Hmmm, I expected the outcome more purple, yet bet you come up with something cool after all!

NatureFootstep said...

this is fun, I did it with a shirt long ago and still use it :)

You better check the link at AEDM 10. You happened to copy it the wrong way.
:) :(

Kokopelli said...

Must check out your other tutorials using kitchen materials. I immediately thought about dyeing with grape juice. Thanks for sharing! I missed out the last two weeks, as I was on vacation, but this week I'm back. Have a nice day!

Serena Lewis said...

What a excellent tutorial, Elizabeth! I love how your dyed fabrics turned out too. Great tips on fixatives. Thanks. :)

kathyinozarks said...

Dyeing is always so fun, I have been thinking about those black walnuts I collected last year, but I have been getting the leaves raked up and burned.
sometimes those lace scarves have a bit of polyester in them and that doesn't take up natural dye easily-or you just never with dyes as long as it's fun Happy T hugs Kathy

Let's Art Journal said...

What an interesting and fun T Day post! It was fabulous to see how the grape juice dyed the different fabrics; for some reason I wasn't expecting the colours that resulted but I should have known as the muslin I use to make grape jelly turns this colour ...ha ha 😀. Thanks for sharing and wishing you a very Happy T Tuesday! Hugs, Jo x

Eileen Bergen said...

Good morning Elizabeth. You commented that you don't know what edema is. From Medline: "Edema means swelling caused by fluid in your body's tissues. It usually occurs in the feet, ankles and legs, but it can involve your entire body." Imagine the Michelin Man trying to do those yoga poses. LOL. Hugs, Eileen

Anne (cornucopia) said...

I like the aged look, even if it turned out brown instead of grape colored. Good point about keeping craft "tools" like bowls separate from food bowls, even if one uses food ingredients in the craft bowl. Better safe than sorry, as you said. Happy T-Day!

DVArtist said...

Really wonderful tutorial. My mom and I used to die all kinds of items. I miss doing that with her.

Divers and Sundry said...

A clear tutorial, even if it didn't turn out as you'd thought it would. I would think grape juice would give a darker color. It does on my clothes when I don't want it to lol

Happy T Tuesday!

craftytrog said...

You got some wonderful effects Elizabeth. Thanks for a great tutorial!
Alison xx

LA Paylor said...

every stinkin' time I spill grape juice on me it stains instantly and permanently! good pics for your tutorial!

pearshapedcrafting said...

Well done for not letting that grape juice go to waste! What fabulous and interesting vintage style colours you got too! Dashing around a bit at the moment. Happy T Day, Chrisx

Sandra Cox said...

Lots of work went into this one. I have problems with my fingers too.

Jeanie said...

It looks like it turned out well. The sediment could be interesting. Do you ever load all at once and then just cut and paste to move the pix in the right place? It's worth a try.

Jackie McGuinness said...

I'm hoping you can get my creative "juices" going!!

Sharon Madson said...

I would never had thought to dye fabric with grape juice, maybe Easter eggs but not fabric. It is interesting the different shades on different fabrics. Grea T day post, Elizabeth. I hope all is going well for you, now. Happy T Day!

aussie aNNie said...

Beautiful work, as always, great post. xx

Anne (cornucopia) said...

P.S. I've been meaning to take a photo of my cat, to post on my blog, so everyone can see he is still doing okay, after his horrible ordeal and surgery in June. Thank you for asking about him. :-)