Wednesday, 15. 4. 2020

Painting with natural dyes from the fruits of staghorn sumac

Many invasive alien plant species are cultivated as ornamental plants. One of them is staghorn sumac, whose fruits can be processed into natural dye. Natural dyes can be used for coloring and drawing. They can be used as tempera or watercolors.

It takes two hours to prepare a dye from a staghorn sumac. The dye is stable and can be stored for long periods of time.

Preparation of dye: fruits of staghorn sumac (50g), scissors, stove, pot, water, ethanol (ethanol solution, 50%).
Acid and base solution preparation: citric acid, sodium bicarbonate, water, two glasses.

Step by step instructions:

1. Remove the staghorn sumac fruits from the stem. 


2. Add to the pot: the fruits of staghorn sumac (50 g), citric acid (10 g) and ethanol solution (50 %, 300 mL).


3. Stir and heat the solution for about 1 h.


4. Cool down the solution and filter the fruits.


5. Red colour can be used for colouring and drawing.


If we overpaint the red colour on the paper with the base solution, the colour turns green. The reverse process takes place when an acid is applied to a green coloured sheet.

Preparation of the acid solution (for colour change): 1 g of citric acid add to 5 mL water and stir until dissolved.
Preparation of the base solution (for colour change): 1 g of sodium bicarbonate add to 5 mL water and stir until dissolved.

Used fruits of staghorn sumac can be disposed of in organic waste.

Authors of the recipe: Monika Horvat, Jernej Iskra, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana


3D model of the staghorn sumac

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