Dyed and DED


Leaving this log here for anyone interested in natural dyes.

Disclaimer: some of the pictures do not accurately reflect the final colours. Will update this post after testing for light exposure and fade.

Fabric Preparation

All dyed are tested on cotton fabric. The cotton was boiled in a vinegar solution for 1 hour and then left in the dye bath for approximately 24 hours. To keep things safe and non-toxic in my kitchen, I’ve not used any mordants.

Beet Root


Beet root bath consisted of about 1.8kg of beets (6 medium/large beets) chopped up and boiled for 1 hour. Liquid was strained and further reduced by half.

After soaking for 24 hours.


After initial rinse (above)


Beet root – final colour. Light brownish with slight tinge of pink.




For the coffee stain, I used leftover grounds and boiled them for an hour before straining the liquid out and letting the cotton sit in the solution overnight. There was a lot of sediment/fine grain caught in the fabric that required washing out.


The final colour is a shade lighter than above. And I also find that the dye doesn’t take up evenly, so the result is a bit splotchy. But coffee is a pretty safe bet to get colour into your cotton. I’ve tried dyeing with black tea as well, and I find that quite good too.



I had high hopes for tumeric. The colour stayed quite intense after rinsing.


It loses colour from sun exposure. ):
These pictures (below) are before the fade caused by sun exposure. Will update this post with a photo.


Next things to try:

I’m interested to see what pomegranate skins and onion skins will do. Those are the next two I’ll most likely attempt. (Am dehydrating pomegranate skins currently, in hopes it will enhance the colour during extraction)

I’m also curious to see the effects of avocado skins, avocado seeds, mango leaves and mangosteen skins. However, on that last point, I don’t particularly like eating mangosteen, so I’m not sure how to acquire the material without wasting the flesh.

And in any case, all this home testing makes me so conscious of how much colour and, therefore, dye there must be in my wardrobe. And I also don’t recommend doing this very often, I find that it requires so much water to conduct each experiment >> water to extract the dyes, water to pre-soak the fabrics, and then to wash the fabric to test how well the colour stays on the fabric.

DED. Too much effort.