I would recommend collecting the turkey tail after a rainy day. The turkey tail will have bloomed and probably grown a bit more.
I look for all stages of development, the younger turkey tail has a lovely cream underbelly that takes the dye brilliantly. The older fungi sometimes has lichen and other growths on them that make them really fascinating. I've also noticed that the older turkey tail is far more velvety, the younger fungi tends to be thinner and more leather like. It's all good!!!
After collecting the fungi , I give them a good soak in tepid water. It's a good idea to get rid of any unwanted critters and debris.
I have experimented with Ritz dyes and Acid dyes..... they work beautifully.
I mixed water and dye according to directions and them simply plunged the fungi into the hot dye mix. I left them in there for 4-6 minutes and them rinsed them well in cold water .
I noticed that the turkey tail lost a lot of their charm once they dried up......
I remembered a technique for preserving fall leaves with glycerin and thought it might work with these fungi.
I had to hunt around for the glycerin, I found some at my local drug store.
I mixed 3 parts warm water, 1 part glycerin.
I revived the turkey tail by soaking them in warm water, I them gave them a further soaking in the glycerin mixture.
I laid them out on a cookie sheet and left them for 24 hrs.
I decided that I wanted them to be more pliable, I gave them another soak in the glycerin. That seemed to do the trick, they now maintained their lovely velvety texture and were soft and pliable.
I'll be using these in my felt mushroom pincushion/sculptures and maybe I'll figure out a way to work them into my brooches!!
I would like to mention that the natural turkey tail preserved with the glycerin is fabulous... they remind me of moth wings. So lovely.
See her photo stream. She's lovely, friendly, and more than happy to share techniques. Thanks Odile!
Dye (see instructions)