Adventures in Natural Dyes


I have had a scarf in my closet for a few weeks that I wasn’t wearing. The color looked much more rich in the store. It was a light, peachy, yellow color that just wasn’t flattering. I decided that it was time to dye it. I gathered beets, yellow onion skins, and turmeric and three pots.


I put the scarf in a pot with 4 parts water to one part vinegar and one palmful of salt. I let it simmer for one hour, then squeezed the extra liquid out.


Meanwhile, I peeled and chopped about two pounds of beets and put them in a covered pot to simmer for one hour.


I used another pot to boil the skins of 2 yellow onions and 1/8 cup of ground turmeric. I let these simmer for an hour as well.


After an hour passed, I squeezed the liquid out of my scarf and set it aside. I then strained the liquid from my beets and onion skins and submerged my scarf in the liquid I drained off. Since I wanted an intense color and my scarf already had some color to it, I left it sitting in the liquid while I went to work. When I returned home eight hours later, I drained off the dye and and rinsed my scarf until the water ran clear. You can let it air dry, but I was excited, so I put it in the dryer. I am really excited with the new color. I got a rich amber/pumpkin color.



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