Natural Dyeing with Spruce Cones

Kathryn Davey

March 14, 2023

Dye sources
natural dyeing
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I’m a author, self-taught designer & natural dyer sharing the beauty of natural dyes and plant based colour with anyone that's interested :) 

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Hi, I'm kathryn

When it comes to natural dyeing with Spruce cones, the process couldn’t be simpler. For my February Colourway, I looked at colours from the cones of the Norway Spruce. The fastest growing of spruces, the Norway spruce, is a common tree in the forests of Ireland.

The bark is greenish or greyish brown, with mature trees showing scales & shedding. The leaves are dark green & needle-like. These needles are slightly curved & smooth, falling from the branches after 2-3 years. The cones are orangey-brown and narrow with rounded scales.

dyeing with spruce cones

The wood of the mountain spruce is firm & durable making it a common choice for timber, furniture, instruments, paper-making, beer & essential oils. It was used by violin makers, who valued it for the resonance it provided. In shipbuilding, spruce woods provided reliable/long-lasting ship masts.

As a natural dye source, the branches, bark & cones can all be used to produce colour. As they are high in tannin, they make a strong dye that will bind to your fibres giving you good results from a small amount of plant parts. Spruce trees are a wonderful dye source & depending on the variety you use, colours can range from tans to pinks, plums & greys.

To learn more about how to get the colours above sign up for my monthly membership, The Colourway.

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