Creating Colorful (and Natural!) Clothing Dyes

Folk Fibers Natural Dyes

Have you thought about revamping a plain old t-shirt, tote bag or boring duvet cover with colorful dyes? It can be done inexpensively and without the use of harsh dyes full of chemicals. This project is so simple, cheap and its tons of fun to experiment with. You can try out ombre shades, tie dye effects or just all over color. There are a variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices and flowers that might already be lying around your AVA U District home, and many can be used to dye plain white or natural colored materials.

Start out with plain, natural fabrics like silk, wool, cotton, hemp or linen. Dig around your vegetable bin for any produce that might be past its prime, and chances are you have a wilting red cabbage or onion skins lying on the bottom. Also look out for bougainvillea, hibiscus or any colorful flowers around your neighborhood that you can pick a few of. These can all be used to dye your fabrics naturally!


Image: Folk Fibers

The depth and richness of the color will depend on the type of fabric and how long you leave the fabric in the dye bath. It is important to make swatches of different types of fabric if possible. If it’s an old item you don’t mind experimenting with then all the more fun!


Image: Griottes, palette culinaire

Look up different natural dyes online, or try using fruits, and vegetables that you know stain your clothes when you cook with them. Some might require you to boil the color out like red cabbage, but some might just work by using the juice like pomegranates. Experiment with different techniques but most of all have fun! Your boring old tshirt can be turned into a dip dyed turmeric masterpiece!


Image: petalplum