A Sustainable Christmas – part 2


If you listen very, very carefully, you might just hear the jingly, twinkly sounds of Christmas sneaking up on us. But fear not Shambalans, our second edition of the Shambala Guide to a Sustainable Christmas is here, to take you by the hand and lead you through this maze of panic buying, thoughtless consumerism and waste, towards our final destination: A sustainable, ethical, thoughtful Christmas, bursting at the seams with sparkle and good cheer!

This week, we’re shining our big, festive (energy saving) spotlight on Babs Behan, the Botanical + Mineral Artist/ Designer behind Botanical Inks. Babs forages wild plants, harvests organic produce and re-uses food waste for creative textile design. Sound complicated? It really isn’t. Botanical Inks have been kind enough to share with us a simple step by step guide to dip dying your very own gorgeous, one of a kind gift tags, and it’s about as difficult as making a cup of tea.

Dip Dye your Own Gift Tags

We’re using blackberries for their range and depth of colour, but any seasonal berry of your choice will work too!


1 cup berries

1 pint water

1 tsp clear white vinegar

1 tsp salt

recycled paper tags

Boil your berries in water for 30mins of until the water turns dark with colour. Strain with a sieve to remove the plant material from your dye. Mix in the vinegar and salt, which will act as preservatives.)

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Prepare your tags for dyeing! (Babs recommends using paper tags that are made in the UK from recycled post consumer waste)

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Now dip the tags into the dye bath until you get the desired depth of colour (the ones in our photos only took around 30 seconds!).

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Gently place the dyed tags into a bath of clear water to rinse off any excess dye sitting on the surface. This leaves behind only the true colour which has dyed the paper fibres.

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Clip the tags to a clothes line and hang them to dry. Be careful when you’re handling them , as they’re particularly fragile when wet, and the colours will smudge on other surfaces whilst they are drying.

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Dry for 30 minutes or until they are dry to the touch. If you’d like a deeper colour, you can repeat the process. Easy! Same process works brilliantly for Christmas cards too! If you give this a go, we’d love to see pictures.

For more advice and information on dying with foraged and botanical inks (from bundle dying with flowers, to tie-dying with local plants) check out the Botanical Inks websitetwitter and instagram.

Love, the Shambala team x