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Pure Material 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 house. We must always have a good time on daily basis 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 have a good time than with a DIY craft to upcycle clothes and material you have already got at house. 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 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 personal 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 you may also use these scraps to dye your garments?

The easiest way to have a good time Earth Day is to do nothing; keep house, plant some flowers within the backyard, attempt to use much less electrical energy and water for the day. That makes this an incredible stay-at-home exercise as a result of the objects wanted for this mission are generally discovered round the home and yard.

Pure Material Dye Supplies

To dye at house you’ll want a stainless-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 fantastic mesh strainer.


After all you want some sort of cloth that you simply’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 house; previous sheets, tea towels, white shirts, or attire 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 even forage exterior for issues to dye with similar to flowers (we’ll discuss extra about that later), ferns, grass, and bark. At all times make certain to not take an excessive amount of from the place you’re foraging. Assume; what stains your clothes once you spill meals on it? These will work good for dyes.

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

How you can Make Pure Material Dye

There are a number of 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 have to put together it with a coloration fixative.

White fabric in a pot with alum mordant.

Mordant the Material

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! Convey a big pot of water to a boil (use a pot which you could preserve separate from cooking. A very good place to seek out one is the thrift retailer). Fastidiously scoop out a few of the water right into a measuring cup, and add alum, stirring till it dissolves. The alum quantity must be 10-20% of the dry weight of your material, so that you’ll must 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 often. 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 may create splotchy outcomes. It’s finest 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 might 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 contemporary petals or greenery, a hammer, and a sheet of plastic or tape. Organize 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. When you don’t need to use tape or plastic, prepare 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 could nonetheless fade after washing.

I’ll all the time advocate for utilizing pure substances to be able to keep away from dangerous chemical compounds, particularly throughout Earth Month. That is a simple method to be artistic 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 Material 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 appreciated 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 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 Material Dye | How you can Make the most of Meals Scraps

This Earth Day DIY mission might be completed 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 hours

Energetic Time2 hours

Complete Time4 hours

Creator: Jenné


  • 1 Stainless-steel inventory pot
  • 1 Picket or chrome 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 based mostly on dry weight of cloth.

  • 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.

  • Notice: It can save you the water and add meals scraps for a fair stronger coloured dye since there’s 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 cook 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, 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 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. Hold 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



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