Thursday, March 24, 2011

Phoenician Purple Dye - The Color of Kings

We're making purple dye this week as we study the Phoenicians (The Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times), a continuation of our classical study of history. The Phoenicians were well-known for their purple dyes, extracted from a type of sea snail and boiled for over a week. Cloth dyed with this purple hue was so expensive, only the very wealthy could afford it, making purple the "color of kings."

I got some helpful tips from this site:

We'll need:

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 8 cups water
  • large pot
  • blueberries (we used 4 cups)
  • water
  • colander/strainer
  • cotton t-shirts 
  • rubber bands, if tie-dying
Band your fabric if tie-dying. Simmer the fabric for one hour in the salt fixative: 1/2 cup salt dissolved in 8 cups cold water. Rinse and squeeze excess.

In the meantime, boil blueberries in water (water is double the amount of blueberries). Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for one hour. Strain the liquid into a large pot.
Place fabric into dye bath and simmer until desired color is achieved.
KID 1 banded his own shirt (far left). I banded KID 2's shirt as per her instructions on placement (far right). We even made a shirt for Mommy...won't I just feel like royalty in my purple?

1 comment:

Contact us directly at
growinggreatkids (at) gmail (dot) com
(Trying to discourage auto-spam)