Pure Cloth Dye | Easy methods to Make the most of Meals Scraps-Candy Potato Soul

Blue and yellow tie-dyed shirt.

Completely happy 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 each day by being eco-conscious of what we do and what we eat, however I really like celebrating holidays. April 22 is Earth Day and what a greater approach to have a good time than with a DIY craft to upcycle clothes and cloth you have already got at house. Making pure cloth dye is extremely simple and also you in all probability have already got all of the elements you want: meals scraps!

Dried black beans used for natural fabric dye

Giving meals scraps a brand new objective is an effective 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 will be frozen and later used to make vegetable broth. In the event you develop your personal carrots or purchase carrots with the tops nonetheless connected from the farmer’s market, you need to use these greens to make a scrumptious carrot high pesto. Do you know you can too use these scraps to dye your garments?

One of the best ways 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 important stay-at-home exercise as a result of the objects wanted for this challenge are generally discovered round the home and yard.

Pure Cloth 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.


In fact you want some sort of material 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. Keep away from full synthetics when utilizing pure cloth 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 house; previous 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 cloth 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 outdoors for issues to dye with corresponding to flowers (we’ll discuss extra about that later), ferns, grass, and bark. At all times ensure to not take an excessive amount of from the place you’re foraging. Suppose; what stains your clothes whenever you spill meals on it? These will work good for dyes.

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

Easy methods to Make Pure Cloth Dye

There are a number of steps to finish earlier than dyeing cloth. 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 cloth, you have 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 cloth. 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! Deliver a big pot of water to a boil (use a pot which you can preserve separate from cooking. A great place to search 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 cloth, so that you’ll must 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 cloth 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 cloth for a pair hours, however this will create splotchy outcomes. It’s finest to pressure the dye first, then add cloth. 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 may all the time re-dye it!

Onion skins turning water yellow.

Dyeing with Flower Petals

One other enjoyable approach to dye cloth 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. Organize the greens and petals on cloth 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. In the event 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; it will launch their pure dye into the material leaving the design you’ve organized. You need to mordant this cloth, too, for the design to remain longer. It might nonetheless fade after washing.

I’ll all the time advocate for utilizing pure elements with a view to keep away from dangerous chemical compounds, particularly throughout Earth Month. That is a straightforward approach to be inventive with out being wasteful. Plus, you may 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)
  • Pink 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 cloth 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 cloth by chance touched the yellow shirt. I made a decision to tie-dye to make it look intentional, and I really like the way in which it turned out!

Shirt dyed with hibiscus.

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

Blue and yellow tie-dyed shirt.


Pure Cloth Dye | Easy methods to Make the most of Meals Scraps

This Earth Day DIY challenge will be achieved 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 now not put on.

Prep Time2 hrs

Energetic Time2 hrs

Complete Time4 hrs

Creator: Jenné


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



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

  • Deliver giant 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 cloth. Simmer for an hour, then fastidiously take away cloth to let cool.

  • Word: 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 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 coloration. In any other case, it is a chilly dye course of.

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

Rinsing the material

  • Rinse the material in chilly water till the water runs clear. Cling 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