Pure Material Dye | Methods to Make the most of Meals Scraps-Candy Potato Soul

Comfortable Earth Month! April is the month for celebrating Mom Nature and the gorgeous earth she gave us to name house. We must always have fun day-after-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 fun 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 most likely 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 goal is an effective way to scale 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 could be frozen and later used to make vegetable broth. Should 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 prime pesto. Do you know you can too use these scraps to dye your garments?

One of the simplest ways to have fun 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 undertaking are generally discovered round the home and yard.

Pure Material Dye Supplies

To dye at house 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 positive mesh strainer.


After all you want some kind of material that you simply’ll be adhering shade 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 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 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 may also forage exterior for issues to dye with resembling flowers (we’ll discuss extra about that later), ferns, grass, and bark. All the time 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.

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

Methods to Make Pure Material Dye

There are just a few 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 shade out of them, then add to a pot with double the quantity of water. Simmer the scraps and water till the specified shade is reached, then pressure. Earlier than you add your material, it is advisable put together it with a shade 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 shade 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 that you could hold separate from cooking. An excellent 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 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 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 shade 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 shade 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 approach 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 undertaking. Should you don’t wish 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 can 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 all the time advocate for utilizing pure elements with a view to keep away from dangerous chemical substances, particularly throughout Earth Month. That is a straightforward approach 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 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 (crimson/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 shade, however the material unintentionally touched the yellow shirt. I made a decision to tie-dye to make it look intentional, and I really like the best way it turned out!

Shirt dyed with hibiscus.

Pure material dye is a complete trial and error undertaking. 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 Material Dye | Methods to Make the most of Meals Scraps

This Earth Day DIY undertaking could 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 now not put on.

Prep Time2 hrs

Lively Time2 hrs

Complete Time4 hrs

Writer: Jenné


  • 1 Stainless-steel inventory pot
  • 1 Wood or chrome steel spoon
  • 1+ cups meals scraps separated by kind. 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.

  • 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.

  • Word: It can save you the water and add meals scraps for a good 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 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 shade. In any other case, it is a chilly dye course of.

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

  • Add material to dye pot. Let soak till desired shade 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 shade 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.

  • Take pleasure in your upcycled garments!

Colorful natural fabric dye

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