Recently, my friend Sally, of Simmer and Boyle, dyed some fabric in a pot on her stove, using just avocado seeds and they turned the most beautiful shade of pink! I honestly had no idea that the tannins in an avocado seed could dye linen or fabric, and after seeing how well it turned out for Sally, I thought “I’m going to give this a whirl!”
And, if I’m ever going to partake in any sort of “D-I-Y activity”, you can be sure it’ll be something to do with linen!
I used 10 x avocado seeds and I filled my pot with quite a bit of water (enough to dye 4-5 linen napkins). Also, my linens were already a pale oatmeal shade (not white) but I just wanted to lightly tint them pink. Enough so they had a pretty blush tone.
Avocados are perfect to use for dyeing fabrics as they contain a natural mordant. This means they will naturally help the dye bind to the fabric without any additives and the colour is less likely to fade after washing.
Here’s what I did and how they turned out!
I pre-soaked the napkins in water then filled a large pot 3/4 full of water, added the washed avocado seeds and let it boil for about an hour (after about 30-40mins I did top the water up a little). While the pot was boiling, I also added all the skins from the 10 avocados as these also have tannins and can be used for dyeing fabric too.
After about an hour, I turned the burner off, removed all the seeds and skins and added the 4 napkins to the pot of liquid (which was looking more orange than pink) with a plate on top to keep the napkins fully submerged (so they would colour evenly)…. and I waited. And waited. Another hour passed with them sitting in the liquid and they weren’t changing colour. So I just left them in the pot and got on with dinner. And every 30-60 mins I would turn the burner back on and bring it back up to the boil.
After a couple of hours, I checked on them and….. VOILA! And they were a blush pink! Not orange. Phew! I was SO excited but still wasn’t sure how the colour would hold once I washed them, so I just rang them out and left them to dry on a clothes horse. I then waited about 2 weeks before I washed them on a warm wash in the washing machine and the colour remained completely!
I have plans to dye the whole colour wheel using natural dyes and recently bought a fantastic book from Rebecca Desnos in the UK. Her book goes into all the natural organic botanicals you can use and what colour they turn. It’s my new obsession!
Let me know if you have a go at this as I’d love to see how it turns out for you!