Eucalyptus Dyeing Might Not Be For Everyone
As I travel through my natural dye journey I get and read ALOT of suggestions on plant dyes. Yesterday I took another artist's advice and used Eucalyptus to dye handspun wool for the first time... Sad to say I'm simply not a fan.
To start, I researched Eucalyptus before I used it. It's a relatively stable plant with a low toxic rate but it's still strong so I only used 2 oz of fresh leaves in my dye bath. Eucalyptus has natural tannins much like acorns so no mordants are necessary but I still used an alum mordant pot and a teaspoon of cream of tartar to mordant my wool. I filled the stainless steel pot almost halfway and placed my mordant wool in the steeping dye bath.
At first, Eucalyptus smells wonderful... AT FIRST!
With just a little over a handful of leaves, it managed to overwhelm 1,000 sq feet of space. I felt yucky and dizzy and needed to open all the windows. Please also note that I am sensitive to strong lung affecting odors. It felt like I swallowed an entire bag of peppermints. Eucalyptus is relatively non-toxic once diluted with water unless you swallow a large quantity of the pure oils so I knew there would be no harm done but the odor is strong and like Yarrow, I would suggest dyeing with it outdoors using a solar dyeing method.
The dye results were completely underwhelming considering I almost choked from the smell. I got the results I wanted but I also added a few avocados pits to speed the process because I had to get rid of the dye bath. I just couldn't tolerate the smell anymore.
In closing, based on the fact that I could get this color variation WITHOUT the use of Eucalyptus I can't see myself using it again. I know I sound like another Eucalyptus internet hater but the end results didn't measure up to the pain of using the plant. For those of you who love it, that's great but I'm not into it and if you have small pets and children I would definitely stay clear of using an Eucalyptus dye bath indoors.