Dyeing with Avocado Stones
Time to transform that white T into an earthy pink goddess? You're in the right place.
Although you can also dye with avocado skins to get a deeper pink colour, I will be using only the stones for this blog post. Because avocados are an essential grocery item at my house it did not take very long to collect the amount of stones I wanted for my dye. An important thing to note is that the more stones you use to create your dye, the deeper the colour will be. I did this process of creating the dye and dyeing my clothes over a 2 day period. For this experiment, I used 7 avocado stones. I will also be dyeing 2 cotton tops in this dye pot for reference.
Don't forget to take a look at our "Intro to Natural Dyeing" blog before starting your dyeing. Find out what fabrics are best for dyeing, which plants give you the best colours, how to properly pretreat your fabric, and how to care for them afterwards.
What You'll Need
Avocado stones (the more you have, the better!)
Medium or large pot with lid for dyeing (depending on how many clothes you will be dyeing at a time)
Medium or large pot/bin to strain your dye into
Sieve or strainer
*** It is preferable that you keep your dyeing equipment (pots, spoons, etc.) separate from your cooking equipment. Depending on the dye stuff you are using, some plants are safer to use than others in your common cooking pots.
Let's Get to It
1. Collect & Store Your Avocado Stones
The first step in this process is to collect enough stones for your dye pot. After eating your avocados, rinse your stones under the tap and store them in the freezer or on your counter to dry. I stored mine in the freezer in a Ziploc bag (don't worry, a Ziploc that has been reused time and time again).
Creating Your Dye - DAY 1
2. Add In Your Stones and Cover with Water
Once you are happy with the number of stones you have collected, add your stones to your dye pot and cover them with water. For my dye pot, I added 7 avocado stones and covered them with about 16 cups of water.
3. Add Some Heat
Put your pot on the stove and heat gently on low for about an hour. Give it a stir every once in a while and don't be afraid to break up the stones - the more surface area you have, the more colour you can extract. After the hour is up, turn off the heat and let it sit with the lid on for about 30 - 45 minutes. Turn the heat back on low for about 30 minutes and then, again, turn the heat off and let it sit with the lid on for about 30 - 45 minutes. Do this a few more times. This method of gently heating up your dye pot slowly extracts the colour from the stones. S l o w is key in this process.
4. Let Your Dye Deepen Overnight
Before going to bed, I turned the heat on low again for about 30 minutes. I then let my dye pot soak overnight to let the colour deepen. Do NOT leave the heat on overnight.
DYE DAY - DAY 2
5. Gently Heat Once More
Happy Dye Day!!! By this point, you should see a nice colour in your dye pot. Gently heat your dye pot on low in the morning for about 45 minutes. Now let cool.
6. Test Your Colour
Before you remove the stones, it is important that you test your dye colour! If the colour is not as dark as you'd hoped, don't be afraid to heat it up a few more times and let the colour seep out. You can leave your dye pot to soak for a few days if you want. Some avocado stones will give more or less colour than others so please remember this step-by-step is a guide, but you can adjust it accordingly! If you like the colour you get on your first day, by all means go ahead and remove your stones sooner. It is also important to note that the colour will darken as your clothes soak longer, and the colour will fade after being rinsed and dried.
7. Strain Out the Stones and Mush
Once your dye pot has cooled and you are happy with the colour, it is time to strain out the avocado stones and any other residue. Because my strainer would not catch the smaller bits, I put a mesh bag over my strainer as well. Strain your dye into a smaller pot or bin. You can then transfer your dye back into your original pot. I decided to use a smaller pot for dyeing my clothes to ensure my clothes were fully submerged in the dye. You can either keep your used avocado stones for another dye pot or you can compost 'em!
8. Scrunch Dye Effect (optional)
To get more of a tie dye, marbled pattern, you can scrunch your fabric before dyeing. Scrunch your item into a flat circle shape and use a mesh cloth or gauze fabric with a string to hold it in place. The tighter the scrunch, the more accentuated the pattern will be.
9. Wet Your Fabric & Submerge in Dye Pot
Before adding the items you're dyeing to the dye pot, it is important that they get wet first. Dunk your items into a bowl of cold water, ring out excess water and then submerge your clothing into the dye pot. Do not add too many items into the dye bath at once, and make sure all items can be fully submerged.
10. Add Heat
Put your dye pot back on the stove on low to medium heat with the lid on. Gently heat up for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on your pot and do not let it boil. Make sure to stir around your clothes frequently and try your best to keep the fabric from resting on the sides of the pot. Once you have turned off the heat, let the pot sit for a few hours with the lid on. Also keep an eye on the colour of your clothes. If you are happy with the colour you can remove the pot from the heat and let cool. I turned the heat back on for another 30 minutes and then let cool for another hour or so.
11. THAT'S IT!!!
Once you are happy with the colour of your fabric, you can remove your clothes from the dye pot. Do this outside or above a sink. I somehow still got dye everywhere. Ring out the excess dye and let hang dry.
Here are some before and after pics from my avocado dye. Very happy with how they turned out!
B E F O R E
A F T E R
How great are these earthy pinks???
And that is it for my how-to on dyeing with avocado stones! Check out our "Intro to Natural Dyeing" blog to see how to take care of your naturally dyed pieces. I would love to see all of your experiments on natural dyeing and see how you brought some new life into your wardrobe. If you give it a try, make sure you let us know how it went! And if you have any other suggestions or questions about natural dyeing, for sure leave them in the comments below!
Much love, TGH xx