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How to Use Natural Dyes on Fabric

If you haven’t done any kind of natural dye for fabrics, you are in for a new hobby that you are going to love. It is such a fulfilling activity. From turmeric to hibiscus to indigo – we are obsessed. We have used natural indigo dye for so many projects. Denim, chambray, indigo and any shade of blue has always been our favorite color. Five or so years ago we started our obsession with using natural indigo dye. Melissa has even done workshops in her town. 

Today we are sharing some of our favorite natural dye projects that we have made over the years. Indigo, hibiscus leaves, turmeric and soon to be avocados. 

How to use Natural Dyes on Fabric

It is best to use natural fabrics when using natural dyes. A few tips for dyeing include prepping your fabrics (washing and allowing to be completely saturated for dye process. Prepare your natural dye by simmering whatever skin, seed, leaf, etc that you are using. You can find details on how to dye with natural indigo, turmeric and hibiscus below. 

Color Chart

Blue: indigo, red cabbage, elderberries, red mulberries, blueberries, purple grapes

Yellow: marigolds, sunflower petals, dandelion flowers, paprika, turmeric, celery leaves

Pink: hibiscus, avocado skins and seeds, cherries

Orange: carrots, gold lichen, onion skins

Reddish brown: pomegranates, beets

Green: spinach, artichokes,, peppermint leaves

Brown: tea, coffee

Natural Indigo Projects

Needless to say that if you have been a reader of Alice & Lois for a while, you know our love runs deep for Indigo projects! You can tell we’re addicted to shibori and indigo by all of the projects we’ve featured – Pillows, this Wall Hanging and our very first shibori tutorial. We love to use the shibiri folding method when dyeing with indigo. There is something so magical about using natural indigo dye… there is a specific process to it all. But the excitement when revealing the deep indigo color and pattern you create is so inspiring. 

Turmeric Dye

Turmeric is not just a spice for cooking… we used this spice to dye a cotton tablecloth. The yellow color that you get from this natural dye is stunning. You can find the full tutorial HERE. A little bit of turmeric goes a long way. We only used 3 tablespoons to dye a cotton tablecloth. 

plate silverware linen

Hibiscus Dye

We made dishtowels using dried hibiscus leaves (what you use for loose tea). White vinegar is mixed with water to set the dye in the fabric. Simmer the leaves into to get the natural dye to come to life. We are obsessed with the pink color that the hibiscus gives to the fabric. You can find the full tutorial HERE

Avocado Pit Dye

I cannot wait to use Avocado Pits to dye some fabric. I have been saving pits in my freezer for a while. You need roughly 3-4 pits per 1/2 pound of fabric. The more pits you use, the stronger the color. 







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