Skip to content Skip to navigation


You are here: Home » Content » Dying textile fabrics


Recently Viewed

This feature requires Javascript to be enabled.

Dying textile fabrics

Module by: Siyavula Uploaders. E-mail the author


Grade 5


Module 13



Colour makes the clothes that we wear much more interesting. Which colours do you like wearing? Why?

Right across the world colour plays a significant role in the clothing worn for particular occasions. What colour plays an important role at funerals of white people?

What is the reason for this?

What is the traditional colour of the wedding dress of a bride among white people?

It is interesting to note that the mourners at Chinese funerals wear white clothes and that the guests at a wedding in Lapland wear red clothes.

Assignment 1


Are there specific colours that play an important role in the cultural group to which you belong? Explain this (in three sentences).

[LO 3.1]

Textile fabrics are coloured with dye. In the past, natural dyes obtained from plants and animals were used. Purple dye, for instance, was obtained from a small sea snail. Natural dyes produce soft colours, but it is difficult to obtain the exact shade of a colour time after time. Nowadays, dyes are made from chemical substances that provide bright, predictable colours that are also colour fast.

Assignment 2

Design and Manufacturing

We will be using dyes for colouring fabric. Put on an apron to protect your clothes and wear rubber gloves. You can obtain a natural dye from turmeric, spinach leaves, rooibos tea, beetroot leaves and many other edible plants that you may get hold of easily in your environment, by boiling it in water for approximately ten minutes. Allow the mixture to cool and remove all plant material from the liquid. Strain the remaining liquid. This provides a natural dye that is dissolved in water.

[LO 1.3]


For this project you must remember that boiling water is dangerous, because you may get burnt. Keep a first aid kit at hand and do the assignment under the educator’s supervision.

Assignment 3

This is a tie-and-dye project. You will make a fashionable T-shirt or headscarf, but you should not attempt this exercise without adult supervision.

Requirements: Dye; white cotton fabric (a hemmed 50cm square cloth) or a white cotton T-shirt; string for tying the cloth or shirt; rubber gloves; 2 basins for water; a large pot and a plastic bowl; a wooden spoon or a long stick; a heat source (electric or gas stove).

Figure 1
Figure 1 (graphics1.png)

a ) You may have to consult a book on tie-and-dye craft if you have not done this before. Fold and tie the cloth according to the pattern you want to create. Experiment or use ideas from the book you have consulted. You will find that areas that are tied securely will remain white when you dye the fabric, so be sure to wrap the string tightly and to tie it securely.

Figure 2
Figure 2 (graphics2.png)

b) Remember that you need to protect your clothes (apron) and hands (gloves). Also remember the safety precautions when you work with boiling water.

Figure 3
Figure 3 (graphics3.png)

c) Bring the dye solution (the natural dye that you have made) to a boil. Wet the fabric in a bowl of clean, cold water and wring out all excess water.

Figure 4
Figure 4 (graphics4.png)

d) Place the damp fabric into the boiling dye solution and stir it, using the stick or long-handled wooden spoon, until it comes to a boil again.

Figure 5
Figure 5 (graphics5.png)

e) Remove the pot from the stove.

Figure 6
Figure 6 (graphics6.png)

f) Leave the fabric in the dye solution until the liquid is cool.

Figure 7
Figure 7 (graphics7.png)

g) Rinse the cloth in a bowl of water with a little detergent

Figure 8
Figure 8 (graphics8.png)

h) Now rinse it thoroughly in cold water.

Figure 9
Figure 9 (graphics9.png)

Remove the string.

Figure 10
Figure 10 (graphics10.png)

j) Iron while the cloth is still damp.

REMEMBER! An iron can also burn you. [LO 1.8]

Assignment 4


Assignment for the Educator

Use the questionnaire in Learning Unit 4 en replace the word “mat/carpet” with head-cloth, T-shirt or product.

Assignment for the Learner

Complete the questionnaire on your product as honestly as possible.

[LO 1.10; 1.11]


LO 1

Technological Processes and Skills

The learner will be able to apply technological processes and skills ethically and responsibly using appropriate information and communication technologies.

We know this when the learner:


1.2 finds out about existing products relevant to a problem, need or opportunity, and identifies some design aspects (e.g. who it is for, what it looks like, what it is for, what it is made of).

1.3 performs, where appropriate, scientific investigations about concepts relevant to a problem, need or opportunity using science process skills:

planning investigations;

conducting investigations;

processing and interpreting data;

evaluating and communicating findings.


1.4 writes or communicates, with assistance, a short and clear statement (design brief) related to a given problem, need or opportunity that demonstrates some understanding of the technological purposes of the solution;

1.5 suggests and records at least two alternative solutions to the problem, need or opportunity that link to the design brief and to given specifications and constraints (e.g. people, purpose, environment);

1.6 chooses one of these solutions, giving reasons for the choice, and develops the idea further.


1.8 uses suitable tools and materials to make products by measuring out, cutting or separating, shaping or forming, joining or combining, and finishing the chosen material.


1.10 evaluates, with assistance, the product according to the design brief and given spesifications and constraints (e.g. people, purpose, environment), and suggests improvements and modifications id necessary;

1.11 evaluates the plan of action followed and suggests improvements and modifications if necessary.


1.12 produces labelled two-dimensional drawings enhanced with colour where appropriate.

LO 2

Technological Knowlede and Understanding

The learner will be able to understand and apply relevant technological knowledge ethically and responsibly.

We know this when the learner:


demonstrates knowledge and understanding of how materials can be processed to change or improve properties (e.g. strength, fire resistance, waterproofing, taste, volume, texture).

LO 3

Technology, Society and the Environment

The learner will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the interrelationships between science, technology, society and the environment.

We know this when the learner:

Indigenous Technology and Culture:

3.1 recognises how products and technologies have been adapted from other times and cultures.

Impact of Technology:

3.2 suggests ways to improve technological products or processes to minimise negative effects on people and/or the health of the environment.

Content actions

Download module as:

PDF | EPUB (?)

What is an EPUB file?

EPUB is an electronic book format that can be read on a variety of mobile devices.

Downloading to a reading device

For detailed instructions on how to download this content's EPUB to your specific device, click the "(?)" link.

| More downloads ...

Add module to:

My Favorites (?)

'My Favorites' is a special kind of lens which you can use to bookmark modules and collections. 'My Favorites' can only be seen by you, and collections saved in 'My Favorites' can remember the last module you were on. You need an account to use 'My Favorites'.

| A lens I own (?)

Definition of a lens


A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

What are tags? tag icon

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

| External bookmarks