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Pure Material Dye | Find out how 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 technique 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 in all probability 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 objective is an effective 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 will be frozen and later used to make vegetable broth. If you happen to develop your individual 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 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 an ideal stay-at-home exercise as a result of the objects wanted for this challenge are generally discovered round the home and yard.

Pure Material Dye Supplies

To dye at residence you’ll want a chrome 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 superb mesh strainer.


After all you want some sort of material that you simply’ll be adhering colour 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 received’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 Attempt to use materials you have already got at residence; outdated sheets, tea towels, white shirts, or attire all work nice. Upcycle what you may!

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 also forage exterior for issues to dye with reminiscent of flowers (we’ll discuss extra about that later), ferns, grass, and bark. At all times be certain to not take an excessive amount of from the place you might be foraging. Suppose; what stains your clothes while you spill meals on it? These will work excellent for dyes.

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

Find out how to 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 colour out of them, then add to a pot with double the quantity of water. Simmer the scraps and water till the specified colour is reached, then pressure. Earlier than you add your material, it’s essential put together it with a colour 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 colour fixative earlier than dyeing. One of many best to come back by may already be in your spice cabinet–alum! Convey a big pot of water to a boil (use a pot which you can preserve separate from cooking. An excellent 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 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 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 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 colour 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 colour might fade over time, however you may at all times re-dye it!

Onion skins turning water yellow.

Dyeing with Flower Petals

One other enjoyable technique 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. 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 challenge. If you happen to don’t wish 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; it will 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 at all times advocate for utilizing pure components with a purpose to keep away from dangerous chemical compounds, particularly throughout Earth Month. That is a straightforward technique to be inventive with out being wasteful. Plus, you may at all times 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)
  • 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 (pink/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 preferred the colour. When rinsing in chilly water, the hibiscus dye turned a pleasant purple/blue colour, 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 best way it turned out!

Shirt dyed with hibiscus.

Pure material dye is a complete trial and error challenge. Check out various things and don’t be afraid to mess up; you may 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 Material Dye | Find out how to Make the most of Meals Scraps

This Earth Day DIY challenge will be completed with issues you have already got in your house and kitchen. It is an effective way to upcycle and provides new life to clothes you not put on.

Prep Time2 hrs

Lively Time2 hrs

Complete Time4 hrs

Creator: Jenné


  • 1 Chrome 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 based mostly on dry weight of material.

  • Convey massive pot to a boil; fastidiously take away some scorching 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 may prepare dinner them and eat them. In any other case, compost the beans.

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

  • Add material to water and let soak till desired colour 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 colour is reached. Pressure and compost dried hibiscus, or reuse for tea.

  • Add material to dye pot. Let soak till desired colour 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 produce to a boil. Scale back to simmer.

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

Rinsing the material

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

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

  • Get pleasure from your upcycled garments!

Colorful natural fabric dye



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