Today I’m going to share a very simple lesson on how to dye an item of clothing with avocado skin dye.
The avocado coloring method in this blog post is from my book, Botanical Color at Your Fingertips, an introductory guide to coloring plants. Available in print and digital.
I like to make patterns with scrunch painting, because the paint is very forgiving in the bowl and does not require much mixing. You can place your fabric pack in the paint and allow it to soak for a few hours (or even days) and beautiful marble prints will develop.
Conversely, when you try to paint something with the same color, it takes a lot of effort and time, because you need to constantly mix it so that the paint does not curl and these areas do not darken. You need a pot large enough for the fabric to move freely from the dye. Read even more about coloring in this blog post. With scrunch dyeing, we create the characteristic of natural folds in the fabric and promote the formation of organic patterns.
What do you need
- Clothing made of natural fibers such as cotton, linen, hemp, silk. The top of this blog post is from Thought Clothing and is a blend of hemp and organic cotton.
- Soy milk pre-treats plant-based fibers (not needed for silk).
- Bucket or bowl for soaking clothes in milk.
- Paint container (I use aluminum).
- Avocado skins – I used 10, but you can use less of it and you can add avocado stones if you want.
- Sieve, muslin cloth and utensils to filter the paint.
- Lightweight fabric and rope to provide your compressed clothing set.
Preparation for dyeing clothes
First, let’s prepare our clothes. I wash everything in the washing machine at 40 ° C with natural washing liquid – my favorite brand for the last two years has been Greenscents: The greens are odorless and The greens are lavender.
Then you can choose how to fix your clothes or pre-treat. At your fingertips, as shown in my Botanical Color book, I always choose to use soy (soy) milk pre-treatment. You can read more about this Soy Milk FAQ blog post.
Above: Botanical Color Soy Milk Method at your fingertips
The main method for pre-cleaning soy milk is to dilute soy milk in water in a ratio of 1: 5. Soak for 12 hours, pour the excess liquid into the washing machine and dry. When dry, soak the piece in milk for a short time, pat dry, then immerse and dry again. If you use soy milk, be sure to treat the dry cloth for a week before coloring. This allows the soy protein to stick to the fibers.
Preparation of paint
I used 10 avocado skins for this paint pot, but depending on the depth of color you’re looking for, you can get less of it. You can also add avocado stones (holes) to make the dye more concentrated. Not necessarily this way – you can adapt everything to your situation. I collected the skins for a few weeks and washed them carefully after eating the avocado. Check out this blog post with many tips for washing and storing avocado skins and stones. Both are packed with tips for the most pink paint!
Put the avocado skins in your paint bowl. I like to use aluminum, because the pot has a beneficial effect and the paints are whiter.
Cover with enough water to soak all the skins, then gently heat for about an hour with the lid closed. Do not allow the liquid to boil, as the paint may turn brown. Then turn off the heat and allow the skins to soak in the dye for the rest of the day or all night. When the lid is closed, the paint will stay hot for a long time and the paint will continue to flow into the water.
The next day, look at your paint container and check the color. At this point, you can reheat for 30-60 minutes to remove more paint, or you can decide if you are satisfied with the color.
When you are satisfied with the depth of the color, filter the paint with a piece of muslin placed on a sieve. It is important to stay with a clean dye without a small amount of avocado skin, which can leave darker spots on the fabric.
You will be left with a beautiful clean paint.
Scratching the dress
Let’s start assembling our clothes. I like to use a thin piece like muslin for this, but you can use a cut cover or whatever you have on hand. You also need a long rope to tie your package.
Scrunch painting is as simple as it seems: we just cut the fabric. But if you scan it methodically enough, you can even encourage the development of marbling in all clothing.
Basically, I make the dress in the form of a flat disc, so all parts of the dress are exposed to the same amount of paint. If you enter a ball, the middle of the pack will be more pale.
Moisten your clothes, then start rubbing from the side as shown in the photo below.
Gather the piece with your fingers and pass it over the table. As the clothes are wet, they will keep their shape on the table.
Continue to assemble and assemble the fabric. Pay attention to how the stacks are formed, because these are the folds where the paint will settle and paint the darker areas.
After a few minutes you will be left with a flat disc with a rolled piece.
Carefully lift one piece onto the fabric, ready to tie.
Pull the sides up and carefully straighten them to maintain a flat disc shape. Then tie the top of the piece with string and make sure it is very secure.
Now we are ready to dye our clothes.
Paint your package and fill it with water if necessary. I allow the liquid level to be slightly below the depth of the package and turn it over several times during the painting process.
Heat on a low heat for about an hour, ensuring that it does not boil, as it may fade the color.
You can see that your paint is more pink during the day. The dye from avocado skins and stones oxidizes and creates a deeper shade. Interestingly, the paint left over after I finished this paint was pinker than the first, so the second dress I painted was brighter pink!
Allow your package to rest day and night. If you want, you can reheat during this time. Take a look the next morning and see if you are satisfied with the shade. There is always the option to reheat to further darken the shade.
When you are satisfied with the depth of color, squeeze the package in your hands – ideally while wearing gloves to protect your skin. Then allow to dry in the shade. Try to remove as much liquid as possible so that the dye does not fall to the length of the fabric and streaks do not form.
There is always the option to rinse the fabric immediately after dyeing, but I prefer to allow it to dry after dyeing because I feel it retains more color in this way. The only downside is that it can develop darker areas where the paint drips if you don’t squeeze the paint completely. So keep that in mind.
After a few days of drying your clothes – ideally a week – then wash off the excess paint with a bowl of water, then wash it quickly and gently in the washing machine. This will remove all excess paint. Allow to dry, then enjoy dressing.
How will the colors last?
Over time, the avocado color will fade more and result in a softer peach shade. Years later, I wear some of my avocado-dyed clothes; I love all stages of color. Just like me, you can enjoy a quieter shade or repaint in the future.
For more vegetable coloring, especially avocado coloring, see:
Botanical color at your fingertips to dye fabric and yarn.
Plant Dye Zine and more project to make ink from avocado stones.
Botanical Paints on Wood for painting beads and other types of wood.
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