Using natural dyes at home

Tea Dyed top

I’ve done quite a bit of tie dying. See – here – here –  and – here.

The reason I dyed this top was because it acquired a massive stain. Tea dying is so easy and a great way to save my top. Stain it all over!

You can use quite a few ordinary items to dye at home. All of which are non toxic. Turmeric gives a gorgeous yellow colour. Beetroot juice is a potent pigment. Try the juice from green leaves,

Place tea bags in a pot and bring to boil

flower petals, coffee . . .

Think of all the things that normally stain clothes. Staining is dyeing.

Add a mordant – vinegar or salt

The trick with making your colour penetrate is to use a bit of heat. Simmer your tea or for a few minutes. DO NOT boil or you may affect the colour. And add a mordant to make sure you “set” the colour. Vinegar or salt will do the trick.

Allow the garment to stand in your colour solution for at least 20 minutes. Shorter time or a quick dip will give a lighter colour. Allowing the garment to stand longer in the solution will make the colour darker.

The fun part is making designs. I used elastic bands.

Tie elastic bands around wet cloth

I randomly grabbed bits of fabric and tied the bands as tightly as I could so the dye mixture could not pass under the bands.

Depending on how you tie your bands you get different patterns. With bands it’s mostly circular shapes or lines. You can also splash or drop colour onto the item you are dying. Or how about dipping one half of your garment in the colour solution?

And, you can use more than one colour. Do bear in mind that if you put two colours on top of each other, you get a mix of both of them.

In my

Immerse in a bucket

experience the resulting mix of colours is often brown. And one last but not so eco friendly technique is to reverse the colouring process and use bleach to lift colour.

A person can have loads of fun. Old sheets can become new fabric designs. You can make one of my easy shift dresses or a fun scarf with your fabric.

Visit the Greenie Galleries at the top of this page to see older DIYs. I’ve shared myriad fashion upgrades from FREE sewing patterns to tutorials for making jewelry from food packaging.

As always, I try to up-cycle or recycle.

I will be back with more next week,


Remove from bucket and rinse