Natural Dyeing with Avocados

I often find myself looking for new ways to use fabric that I already have to minimize my fabric waste and to give new life to existing materials. I came across a small amount of 100% organic cotton gauze fabric from last Spring in my studio, it was white and I wasn’t feeling very inspired by the colour of it. I thought I’d try to natural dye it with avocados, knowing that they developed a delicate blush pink colour.

Click here to watch the process.

What you’ll need —

  • Fabric | Natural dyeing only works with natural fibres such as cotton, wool, silk, etc.
  • Avocados | Collect the pits and skins of 1-6 avocados, depending on the amount of materials you intend on dyeing
  • Stainless Steel Pot
  • Metal Tongs or Wooden Spoon

The Process —

Start by pre-soaking your fabric, either run it through a short wash cycle or soak material in the sink. Thoroughly wash the avocado pits and skins to remove any remaining green flesh.

Fill a pot of water approximately halfway, or enough to cover the amount of fabric that will be used. Bring water to a boil and collect your avocados. I decided to wrap the avocados in cheesecloth - this will make it easier to remove the avocados from the dye bath when it comes time to add the fabric.

Once water is boiled, bring water to a simmer and place avocados in the pot. Let simmer for at least one hour, I did about three. The longer the avocados are in the water, the stronger the dye bath will be. 

Once the desired colour is reached, remove avocados and place fabric in the pot, let the fabric simmer for about one hour. After an hour, remove the pot from heat and let fabric sit in the pot. Be sure to stir occasionally and move fabric around for even dye distribution.

The longer the fabric is sitting in the dye bath, the stronger the colour will be. Let the fabric sit in the dye bath for a few hours, or overnight if time permits. Note that colour will fade and dry a much lighter colour.

Once desired colour is reached, rinse and squeeze out excess water from the fabric until the water runs clear. Machine wash cold to set the dye and hang to dry.
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