Lesson plan

Plant Dyes

Extract dyes from plants. Make red cabbage dye and vary it's colour with acid/base. Use to dye fabric or wool. Test other plants for their dye colours.
Science content
Biology: Indigenous People's sustainable use of Living Things (K, 2, 3)
Chemistry: States of Matter, Properties of Materials (K-7)
Chemistry: Indigenous People’s Materials/Separation methods (1, 6)
Chemistry: Physical Changes, Solutions, Mixtures and Separating (2, 4, 5, 6)
Chemistry: Chemical Changes (2, 7)

Make red cabbage dye and experiment with how it changes colour in acid or base.
Use different red cabbage colours to dye cotton strips/cotton yarn, to later use for weaving.
Discuss how many plant colours vary with acid and base (as do colours in flowers).

Reveal the dyes in other plants by crushing them on paper, and learn about First People's use of plant dyes.


Brock used red cabbage to dye wool, then found dyes in other plants.

Grades taught
Gr 4
Gr 5
Gr 6