Pure Cloth Dye | How you can Make the most of Meals Scraps-Candy Potato Soul

Blue and yellow tie-dyed shirt.

Completely satisfied Earth Month! April is the month for celebrating Mom Nature and the gorgeous earth she gave us to name dwelling. We should always rejoice day-after-day by being eco-conscious of what we do and what we eat, however I like celebrating holidays. April 22 is Earth Day and what a greater strategy to rejoice than with a DIY craft to upcycle clothes and material you have already got at dwelling. Making pure material dye is extremely straightforward and also you in all probability have already got all of the substances you want: meals scraps!

Dried black beans used for natural fabric dye

Giving meals scraps a brand new goal is a good way to scale back private meals waste. Scraps can at all times be composted, however there are different sensible makes use of for them, too. Meals scraps like onion skins, carrot peels, mushroom stems, and herb stems could be frozen and later used to make vegetable broth. If you happen to develop your personal carrots or purchase carrots with the tops nonetheless hooked up from the farmer’s market, you need to use these greens to make a scrumptious carrot prime pesto. Do you know it’s also possible to use these scraps to dye your garments?

One of the best ways to rejoice Earth Day is to do nothing; keep dwelling, plant some flowers within the backyard, attempt to use much less electrical energy and water for the day. That makes this an awesome stay-at-home exercise as a result of the objects wanted for this mission are generally discovered round the home and yard.

Pure Cloth Dye Supplies

To dye at dwelling you’ll want a stainless-steel pot and one thing to stir with. It’s at all times a good suggestion to make use of gloves when working with dyes, too. Additionally, you will want a nice mesh strainer.


After all you want some sort of material that you just’ll be adhering coloration to. Pure fibers work finest like cotton, wool, or silk. Wool and silk aren’t vegan, so the clothes I have already got at house is both artificial or cotton. Avoid full synthetics when utilizing pure material dye as a result of the colour gained’t take as evenly or in any respect. Attempt to use materials you have already got at dwelling; outdated sheets, tea towels, white shirts, or attire all work nice. Upcycle what you’ll be able to!

Papery onion skins in water

Meals Scraps

The enjoyable half is saving all of the meals scraps! Some examples of meals that can be utilized for pure material dye are avocado pits, avocado skins, onion skins, purple cabbage, black beans, tea, spinach, blackberries, blueberries, and beets. Have enjoyable experimenting with this half! You may as well forage exterior for issues to dye with akin to flowers (we’ll speak extra about that later), ferns, grass, and bark. At all times be sure that to not take an excessive amount of from the place you’re foraging. Assume; what stains your clothes while you spill meals on it? These will work excellent for dyes.

If you happen to gained’t be dyeing instantly, retailer your meals scraps in an hermetic container within the freezer till they’re prepared to make use of.

How you can Make Pure Cloth Dye

There are just a few steps to finish earlier than dyeing material. Separate the meals scraps by sort; these will all be completely different colours. Chop them up into small items to get extra coloration out of them, then add to a pot with double the quantity of water. Simmer the scraps and water till the specified coloration is reached, then pressure. Earlier than you add your material, you want to put together it with a coloration fixative.

White fabric in a pot with alum mordant.

Mordant the Cloth

Typically pure dye has a tough time sticking to material. On this case, you’ll want a coloration fixative earlier than dyeing. One of many best to come back by would possibly already be in your spice cabinet–alum! Carry a big pot of water to a boil (use a pot that you may preserve separate from cooking. A great place to seek out one is the thrift retailer). Rigorously scoop out a few of the water right into a measuring cup, and add alum, stirring till it dissolves. The alum quantity needs to be 10-20% of the dry weight of your material, so that you’ll have to measure utilizing a meals scale. Add the alum resolution again to the pot and stir till evenly distributed. Add the material to the water and let it simmer for about an hour, however don’t let the water attain a boil. Stir sometimes. Take away from the warmth after an hour and let the answer and the material cool. Your material is able to dye!

White fabric in black bean dye.

Dyeing the material

If the material has dried since mordanting, moist the material in heat water. Beforehand, I’ve left the meals scraps within the water whereas leaving the pot to simmer with material for a pair hours, however this will create splotchy outcomes. It’s finest to pressure the dye first, then add material. You possibly can simmer it or simply let the material soak till the specified coloration is reached. When the colour is best for you, rinse the material with chilly water, and let dry. You possibly can additional set the dye by ironing or placing the fabric within the dryer. The material’s coloration might fade over time, however you’ll be able to at all times re-dye it!

Onion skins turning water yellow.

Dyeing with Flower Petals

One other enjoyable strategy to dye material is with plant leaves or flower petals. All you want is a few recent petals or greenery, a hammer, and a sheet of plastic or tape. Prepare the greens and petals on material and canopy with the sheet of plastic or tape the design down. I like to make use of a reusable sheet of plastic so I can have a zero-waste mission. If you happen to don’t need to use tape or plastic, organize the design after which fold the fabric in half over prime of it for a mirroring impact. Utilizing the hammer or a rubber mallet, gently hammer the petals and greens; this may launch their pure dye into the material leaving the design you’ve organized. You need to mordant this material, too, for the design to remain longer. It could nonetheless fade after washing.

I’ll at all times advocate for utilizing pure substances to be able to keep away from dangerous chemical compounds, particularly throughout Earth Month. That is a simple strategy to be inventive with out being wasteful. Plus, you’ll be able to at all times compost the scraps after making the dye!

Dried hibiscus spilling out of jar

Getting Began with Pure Cloth Dye

These meals make nice pure dyes.

  • ​Turmeric (orange/yellow)
  • Crimson cabbage (blue/purple)
  • Acorns (brown)
  • Berries (purple)
  • Avocado (peach/pink)
  • ​Hibiscus (purple/blue/pink)
  • Black beans (purple/blue)
  • Nettles (inexperienced)
  • Celery leaves/different greens (inexperienced)
  • Onion skins (yellow/orange)
  • Cherries (purple/pink)
  • Tea (brown)

Blue and yellow tie-dyed shirt.

I selected to work with onion skins, dried hibiscus, and black beans as a result of these are all issues I already had round the home. After mordanting my material on the stovetop in a saucepan, I put the materials within the completely different dyes I pre-made to allow them to soak till I favored the colour. When rinsing in chilly water, the hibiscus dye turned a pleasant purple/blue coloration, however the material by accident touched the yellow shirt. I made a decision to tie-dye to make it look intentional, and I like the way in which it turned out!

Shirt dyed with hibiscus.

Pure material dye is a complete trial and error mission. Check out various things and don’t be afraid to mess up; you would possibly create one thing unintentionally stunning by doing so! Go away a remark under and let me know what meals scraps you propose on upcycling your clothes with.

Blue and yellow tie-dyed shirt.


Pure Cloth Dye | How you can Make the most of Meals Scraps

This Earth Day DIY mission could be achieved with issues you have already got in your house and kitchen. It is a good way to upcycle and provides new life to clothes you now not put on.

Prep Time2 hrs

Energetic Time2 hrs

Whole Time4 hrs

Creator: Jenné


  • 1 Stainless-steel inventory pot
  • 1 Picket or stainless-steel spoon
  • 1+ cups meals scraps separated by sort. You will want double the quantity of water.
  • Alum 10-20% of dried material weight



  • Measure alum quantity in grams primarily based on dry weight of material.

  • Carry massive pot to a boil; fastidiously take away some sizzling water and dissolve the mordant, then add again to the pot.

  • Scale back warmth and add material. Simmer for an hour, then fastidiously take away material to let cool.

  • Notice: It can save you the water and add meals scraps for a fair stronger coloured dye since there may be already mordant in it.

Dyeing with black beans

  • Cowl black beans with double the quantity of water. Soak for 48 hours.

  • Take away black beans with slotted spoon. If these have not began to ferment, you’ll be able to cook dinner them and eat them. In any other case, compost the beans.

  • At this level you’ll be able to add a small quantity of alum dissolved in heat water for a richer coloration. In any other case, this can be a chilly dye course of.

  • Add material to water and let soak till desired coloration is reached.

Dyeing with dried hibiscus

  • In a sauce pan, add a beneficiant quantity of dried hibiscus and water as if making tea.

  • Simmer till desired coloration is reached. Pressure and compost dried hibiscus, or reuse for tea.

  • Add material to dye pot. Let soak till desired coloration is reached.

Dyeing with yellow onion

  • Peel the outer, papery layer of the onion. Refrigerate or cook dinner with the onion!

  • Add the skins to a pot of water and produce to a boil. Scale back to simmer.

  • Add material to dye pot. Let soak till desired coloration is reached.

Rinsing the material

  • Rinse the material in chilly water till the water runs clear. Grasp to dry.

  • Additional set the dye by ironing or drying in dryer for a couple of minutes.

  • Take pleasure in your upcycled garments!

Colorful natural fabric dye