Avocado dyeing is a simple way to dye your organic fabrics beautiful and delicate shades of beige to light pink. This project has minimal and harmless ingredients that are easy to obtain at your local grocery store. The intensity and shade of the color that is absorbed by your material depends on which organic fabric you choose (cotton, wool, linen, or raw silk) and the number of avocado pits you add to the dye bath. Today, we will walk you through how to dye raw silk with avocado pits. We are excited to show you the results of this fun, all-natural project!
Organic Detergent (you can find this at Whole Foods or other organic food stores)
2.5 yards of Raw Silk or less (Dharma Trading has a great version)
20-25 Avocado Pits
A Large Stainless-Steel Pot
A Wooden Spoon
* Optional: Cheesecloth for straining the dye mixture
Preparing the Fabric
Chemical detergents can hinder the fabric from fully absorbing the natural dye. Therefore, it is important to pre-wash your fabric with a gentle, organic fabric soap. This removes any residues embedded in the fabric during manufacturing and opens the fibers to freely receive the pigment in the dye bath. Any organic washing detergent from the grocery store will be perfect!
Once your fabric has been pre-washed you can start the dye process. Gather all your ingredients and you should be more than ready to begin.
Fill your Pot
Grab your pot and avocado pits. Before placing the avocado pits into the pot, scrub all green avocado residue off the outside; do not worry if the skin of the seed comes off. It will not affect your dye. Once you place all 20-25 avocado pits into the pot you can now begin filling your pot with enough water to cover your fabric.
Begin to Brew your Avocado Dye
Now that you have enough water it is time to place the dye bath over your stovetop. Bring the pot of water to a boil and then reduce the heat until the dye bath is simmering. This is where you get to watch the magic happen! At first, the water will begin to turn a very light shade of a pink. As it continues to simmer, it will roll into a transparent crimson. Because natural dyes will yield very organic colors, it is important to extract as much color from your avocado pits as possible. That way your fabric can soak it all up. Let the dye simmer about 45-60 minutes, or until the water doesn’t seem to be getting any darker.
Submerging your Fabric
Now that your dye is a dark transparent crimson, remove your avocado pits from the pot with a slotted spoon. Next, it is time to add your fabric. We found that raw silk is extremely absorbent, so it may be best to dampen your silk before placing it in the dye bath.
*Small fragments of the avocado pits were left on the bottom of our dye bath. These can settle on your fabric and cause small inconsistencies in color. If you would like to eliminate inconsistencies, we would advise filtering your dye bath with cheese cloth to remove any fragments.
Let your Fabric Simmer
Let your fabric simmer in the dye bath until it is a shade you like. Remember that some color will rinse out of your fabric. We chose to let our fabric simmer for an hour and then allowed it to soak in the dye bath for another five hours until it became a delicate beige (you can soak it overnight if you prefer).
Remove Fabric & Rinse
The final stage is to remove your raw silk from the pot and thoroughly rinse any loose dye out of the fabric using clean running water. Then hang to dry out of direct sunlight.
Now that your fabric is finished, you are free to dispose of your dye bath. The best part of natural dye is that you can compost the ingredients at home. This dye has no negative impact on the environment, so you can use it however you want. If you would like to water your plants with the leftover dye, reuse it to attain lighter shades of color or dump it down the sink, you have nothing to worry about.
The best aspect of avocado dyeing is that you can use it for any organic fabric you would like. I have personally loved the color palette it yields on white linens; it can create beautiful earthy tones of tan or light rosy pinks. In fact, I decided to buy a couple yards of linen and dye it a pink-tan. Now I wear it as a simple, hand-sewn shirt, and it matches everything! Not only that, but you can easily use this recipe to repurpose old white cotton t-shirts, a dingy wool sweater from the thrift store or dish towels for your kitchen. Avocado dyeing is a dynamic project with endless possibilities. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and begin to perfect your own recipe!