How to Dye Harakeke (Flax) With Crepe Paper

Опубликовал Admin
17-02-2021, 03:30
Here's one for all of those harakeke (flax) weavers out there. If you’re interested in adding a bit of colour to your latest creations or just want to experiment with them a bit, then the following instructions are for you. Using crepe paper as a dye is a simple, cost effective, and surprisingly easy thing to do. All you have to do is follow the steps below!


  1. Prepare your work space. Have all of the equipment within reach for when the dye is ready. This is the most important thing you need to do before you begin.If you are going to be using your kitchen as a work space, it may be worth while placing an old towel over the portion of bench you will be using to stop any dye from staining the bench top.In addition, ensure that you have a bucket or container at least half filled with cold water, along with the harakeke you wish to dye, and a pair of steel tongs to hold the harakeke, close at hand.
  2. Make your dye. Fill the pot you will be using to dye the harakeke with cold water to at least halfway. Once filled halfway, put it on the stove element. Turn on the element and wait for the water to begin boiling. Aim for a medium to high heat; avoid using extreme heat because the water will boil too quickly.
    • While you are waiting for the water to boil, remove the crepe paper from its packaging and cut it into strips 3 centimeter (1.2 in) wide.
    • Once the water is boiling, add the crepe paper to the pot and leave boiling for a further 10 minutes. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/\/images\/thumb\/e\/e2\/Dye-Harakeke-%28Flax%29-With-Crepe-Paper-Step-2Bullet2.jpg\/v4-460px-Dye-Harakeke-%28Flax%29-With-Crepe-Paper-Step-2Bullet2.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/e\/e2\/Dye-Harakeke-%28Flax%29-With-Crepe-Paper-Step-2Bullet2.jpg\/aid667543-v4-728px-Dye-Harakeke-%28Flax%29-With-Crepe-Paper-Step-2Bullet2.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":306,"bigWidth":728,"bigHeight":485,"licensing":"<div class=\"mw-parser-output\"><p>License: <a target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noreferrer noopener\" class=\"external text\" href=\"https:\/\/\/licenses\/by-nc-sa\/2.5\/\">Creative Commons<\/a><br>\n<\/p><p><br \/>\n<\/p><\/div>"}
  3. Check if it’s ready. Remove the excess crepe paper from the boiling water with the tongs after the 10 minutes are up. Depending on what you want do, you can either put the boiled crepe paper to the side on a tinfoil plate for later use, or discard it. You will be able to tell when it is ready by looking at the tongs; when they come out of the dye, the colour will stick to them.
  4. Begin to dye. Pick up the harakeke you want to dye, by using the tongs, and slowly submerge it into the pot of boiling dye. You can either dye something you have already made (as the example shows), or you can use fresh harakeke that can be woven later. Either way, do not submerge it too quickly, as it may cause the dye to splatter. To ensure an even coat, leave the harakeke submerged for five or six seconds, then remove so that it is still over the pot, but not in the dye. Try not to leave the harakeke in for any longer than the five or six seconds as leaving it in for too long will cook it and affect the final product.
  5. Repeat the submersion and removal technique until you are happy with the colour and shade of the harakeke. If you want a light colouring, then two to three dips may be enough. However, if it is a darker, richer colouring you are after, then it may be necessary to repeat six or seven times.
  6. Remove and cool. Transfer the harakeke using the tongs; place into the bucket of cold water you prepared earlier as soon as you are satisfied with its level of colouring. Taking the harakeke out of the boiling dye and immersing it into cold water stops it from cooking and helps to seal in the colour. Once you have done that, lay the harakeke on the towel and allow it to dry for up to three hours.
  7. Finished.


  • Rubber gloves are also handy to have available, to stop dye from getting on your hands.
  • The more crepe paper you use, the stronger the dye will be.
  • Be aware that the colour will change as the harakeke dries.
  • A useful thing to remember is that the drier the harakeke, the better the dye will cling.
  • Do not try to dye the harakeke if the water is not boiling.The dye will not catch properly.
  • If you want to keep the dye for future use, once it has cooled downpour it into an ice cream container and stick it in the fridge.It can last for up to a month.When you are ready to use it again, pour it back into the dye pot and heat it until it begins to boil.
  • For a rich colour, use bright crepe papers with a lot of dye in them.Pink and purple work really well.
  • Be careful when you are boiling the dye, as it can splatter and leave stains on the stove top.Make sure you cover any surfaces that need to remain clean, using either old rags or towels.


  • Be careful with the dye – it will stain.
  • Use tongs to submerge the harakeke, not your hands.
  • Do not put the towel too close to the stove element while the heating is on.
  • Never leave the dye pot unattended while it is boiling.

Things You'll Need

  • Crepe paper
  • Harakeke (either fresh or dried)
  • Scissors
  • A large pot for boiling dye
  • Bucket or container for cold water
  • Steel tongs
  • An old towel
  • A working stove top
  • Plenty of bench space
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