DIY Avocado Seed Dyed Linen

Recently, my gorgeous 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!

Avocado Seed Dyed Linen - Cottonwood & Co
Cottonwood and Co - avocado seed dyed linen napkins

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!

Cottonwood and Co - avocado seed dyed linen napkins

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.

Cottonwood and Co - avocado seed dyed linen napkins

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.

Cottonwood and Co - avocado seed dyed linen napkins

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!


Cottonwood and Co - avocado seed dyed linen napkins
Cottonwood and Co - avocado seed dyed linen napkins
Cottonwood and Co - avocado seed dyed linen napkins
Cottonwood and Co - avocado seed dyed linen napkins
Cottonwood and Co - avocado seed dyed linen napkins

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!

Nicki xo

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  1. Jane Alwen says:

    Hello Nikki – I love your woven wood kitchen blinds. Could you tell me the brand and color. Hopefully I can find in the us.

    Thank you, Jane

    1. Hi Jane, I’ve actually got a whole blog post dedicated to these very questions! Here is the link. Just keep in mind these suppliers are now trade only, so you will have to find a stockist. Hope that helps. Nicki 🙂

  2. Sharronne Ashbridge says:

    Hi Nicki
    I have a Ecru colour Matalesse Portuguese bedspread.I would love to change its colour to blush pink. It is 100%cotton. I recently washed the pillow covers and the washed really well. Thought I would try them see If It works. Have you any idea on how I could do the bedcover, it is QB. Thought I could make the solution first then put it into a bath tub. Thinking how to keep the heat in the bath(Where is my mother’s copperand wringer) we had at our farm, when I was a child Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Sharronne, I definitely think you could give it a try, although my only concern/advice would be to make sure you have enough dye (you’d need lots of avocado seeds if you wanted a solution that’s enough to fill the bath) and you’d also have to make sure the bedspread would be fully submerged the whole time, otherwise it won’t dye evenly. It’s probably better for smaller amounts of fabric, but if you’re happy to give it a go then why not! Maybe try it first on pillow cases in a sink or bucket to make sure it works for you? Let me know how it goes if you do it! 🙂

  3. Alice Landale says:

    Dear Nicki,
    I’m currently cutting up an old white linen sheet and making napkins. I’m going to try and dye them with the avocado pips. Do you think it will work with white linen?
    Also, where did you get your round place mats from, they are lovely?

    1. Hi Alice, I actually think white would work best so I say go for it! You probably won’t nee to leave them for long in the liquid either but watch them and see how they go. Just make sure you keep them submerged and move them around every so often so the colour is even. Let me know how they turn out! Oh and placemats from a wholesale supplier but Suzie Anderson Home sell them in Moss Vale and Bowral! xo

  4. so beautiful Nikki!

    1. Thanks Sal! Still so thrilled that they turned out and now I want to dye everything! ha. xo

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