Your undyed bags are a blank canvas, so flex your creativity and come up with your own designs. Or make it a fun art project with the kids and see what they create. Don’t let them add too much decoration though, because you don’t want to add much weight to your bags. We would love to see your creative embellishments and encourage you to email photos of your decorated bags.
1. Make a stamp out of a potato cut in half and stamp patterns on your bag with vegetable dyes. Kids love this project! See ehow.com for instructions.
2. Dye each bag a different colour so you know what’s stored inside, i.e. brown for potatoes, red for apples, etc. Use some rubber bands and play around with tie dying.
3. Embroider words on your bags for produce you usually have stored in your pantry, i.e. “Spuds”, “Onions” or “Apples”.
4. Use food coloring to “paint” a design on your bags. (Don’t use real paint as it could contaminate your food.)
5. Embellish your bags with lightweight buttons, beads, lace, ribbon or fabric.
Each month I will experiment with a different plant dye and share my results with you here.
I’ve always wanted to have a go at dying with plant materials, so I am going to dye a yellow bag by using turmeric. We will need:
- 1 measuring cup
- Aluminum pan
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- Newspaper to protect work surface
- Rubber bands if you want to tie dye
- Stir stick (turmeric will dye wooden spoons).
First untie and remove the drawstring if you want it to keep its original colour. Put 3 cups (750 ml) of water and 3/4 cup (175 ml) vinegar into a pan, add your bag and heat on low/medium. Simmer for 1 hour. The vinegar acts as a mordant which helps to fix the dye into the fabric. I read on a few plant dying blogs that aluminum pans also act as a mordant, so that’s why I’m using one. After an hour, pour off your vinegar/water bath and wring out your fabric. Start a new pan of 3 cups of water and add 2 teaspoons of turmeric. Stir to dissolve over medium heat then add your fabric.
You can use one or more rubber bands to create a tie dye effect.
Continue stirring until you get the color you desire. Remember that wet fabric will be several shades darker than the finished dry fabric. Remove your fabric from the pot and rinse out in a pan of water until all dye is removed. Remove the rubber bands if you’ve used them and rinse again in fresh water. Hang bag out to dry.
After drying your bag, you can use a safety pin to work the drawstring back into the hole at the top of the bag. Pull it through and re-tie.
Voila! A pretty new yellow bag for transporting and storing my onions.
I thought I would make a brown potato bag since I often buy unwashed potatoes at my local farm shop, might as well have a dirt-coloured bag for the spuds. What I did was boil up some water in a pan with 3 teabags, added my large-size SAXbag and let it soak overnight in the tea. Don’t forget to remove the drawstring or it will dye too. The colour came out bit patchy in places and there were a few dark brown spots –not sure why since I did stir quite a bit- but it doesn’t really bother me. After all, it’s just a potato bag.
Next morning I soaked the bag in a bowl of clean water until all the tea was rinsed out (this might take 2 or 3 soakings). After drying the bag, I took some ribbon I had lying around and hand sewed it onto my bag whilst watching reruns of Doctor Who with the kids.
And there you have it, a unique produce bag that makes the repetition of the weekly shopping just a little bit more fun. Can’t wait to hear what the checkout girl at my local farm shop has to say about it since she already thinks SAXbags are fabulous!