Pure Cloth Dye | The best way to Make the most of Meals Scraps-Candy Potato Soul

Blue and yellow tie-dyed shirt.

Pleased Earth Month! April is the month for celebrating Mom Nature and the gorgeous earth she gave us to name residence. We should always rejoice daily 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 method to rejoice than with a DIY craft to upcycle clothes and material you have already got at residence. Making pure material dye is extremely simple and also you most likely have already got all of the components you want: meals scraps!

Dried black beans used for natural fabric dye

Giving meals scraps a brand new function is a good way to cut back private meals waste. Scraps can all the time 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 might be frozen and later used to make vegetable broth. When you develop your individual carrots or purchase carrots with the tops nonetheless hooked up from the farmer’s market, you should use these greens to make a scrumptious carrot high 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 residence, plant some flowers within the backyard, attempt to use much less electrical energy and water for the day. That makes this a terrific stay-at-home exercise as a result of the objects wanted for this venture are generally discovered round the home and yard.

Pure Cloth Dye Supplies

To dye at residence you’ll want a chrome steel pot and one thing to stir with. It’s all the time a good suggestion to make use of gloves when working with dyes, too. Additionally, you will want a high-quality mesh strainer.


In fact you want some kind of material that you simply’ll be adhering coloration to. Pure fibers work greatest 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. Steer clear of 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 Attempt to use materials you have already got at residence; outdated sheets, tea towels, white shirts, or clothes all work nice. Upcycle what you possibly can!

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 can too forage exterior for issues to dye with reminiscent of flowers (we’ll discuss extra about that later), ferns, grass, and bark. All the time be sure that to not take an excessive amount of from the place you’re foraging. Assume; what stains your clothes whenever you spill meals on it? These will work good for dyes.

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

The best way to Make Pure Cloth Dye

There are a couple of steps to finish earlier than dyeing material. Separate the meals scraps by kind; 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 should put together it with a coloration fixative.

White fabric in a pot with alum mordant.

Mordant the Cloth

Generally 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 return by may already be in your spice cabinet–alum! Convey a big pot of water to a boil (use a pot which you could hold separate from cooking. place to search out one is the thrift retailer). Fastidiously scoop out a number of the water right into a measuring cup, and add alum, stirring till it dissolves. The alum quantity ought 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 answer 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 greatest to pressure the dye first, then add material. You’ll be able to 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’ll be able to additional set the dye by ironing or placing the fabric within the dryer. The material’s coloration could fade over time, however you possibly can all the time re-dye it!

Onion skins turning water yellow.

Dyeing with Flower Petals

One other enjoyable method 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 venture. When you don’t need to use tape or plastic, organize the design after which fold the fabric in half over high of it for a mirroring impact. Utilizing the hammer or a rubber mallet, gently hammer the petals and greens; this can launch their pure dye into the material leaving the design you’ve organized. You must mordant this material, too, for the design to remain longer. It might nonetheless fade after washing.

I’ll all the time advocate for utilizing pure components in an effort to keep away from dangerous chemical compounds, particularly throughout Earth Month. That is a simple method to be inventive with out being wasteful. Plus, you possibly can all the time 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)
  • Purple 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 chance 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 venture. Check out various things and don’t be afraid to mess up; you may create one thing unintentionally lovely by doing so! Go away a remark beneath and let me know what meals scraps you intend on upcycling your clothes with.

Blue and yellow tie-dyed shirt.


Pure Cloth Dye | The best way to Make the most of Meals Scraps

This Earth Day DIY venture might 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 not put on.

Prep Time2 hrs

Lively Time2 hrs

Whole Time4 hrs

Writer: Jenné


  • 1 Chrome steel inventory pot
  • 1 Wood or stainless-steel spoon
  • 1+ cups meals scraps separated by kind. You may want double the quantity of water.
  • Alum 10-20% of dried material weight



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

  • Convey giant 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.

  • Observe: 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 possibly can prepare dinner them and eat them. In any other case, compost the beans.

  • At this level you possibly can add a small quantity of alum dissolved in heat water for a richer coloration. In any other case, it is 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 prepare dinner with the onion!

  • Add the skins to a pot of water and convey 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