Tuesday 17 January 2017

Avocado Dyeing

Avocado peel & seeds

I recently tried dyeing some calico using the waste from my current addiction to avocado on toast.  I saved the skin and seeds (pits) of the avocados I had eaten for a few days in a plastic bag.  When I had about 4 avocados worth I put them in a stainless steel pan, covered them with water & brought it all to the boil.

Washed, undyed calico

Once the mixture had been simmering for a while I added some undyed calico that I had washed.  The calico had been washed to remove any fabric treatment that might prevent the dye from being absorbed.

Calico added to the mix and left to simmer

The damp calico was added to the mix and simmered for a couple of hours.  Afterwards I washed the calico in soapy water to remove any yucky bits of avocado stuck to the fabric and left it to dry naturally.

Damp avocado dyed fabric

Once dry the fabric had turned a very pale shade of pink/brown.

Dyed fabric above, undyed fabric below

I have to admit I had hoped to get a stronger colour.  Next time I could use more avocado pits and skin and less fabric to make a more concentrated solution.  Also I could soak the fabric overnight or machine wash it to make extra sure there is no fabric treatment left on the undyed fabric.  Another top tip I read about is that coating the fabric in soya milk aids dye absorption.  You can read about how to do that here on Rebecca Desnos's Made in Home blog.  An aluminium pan might also give a different result.

If you eat lots of avocados you could have a go yourself.  Let me know how you get on.


  1. Its always worth soaking non protein fibres in soy milk or another protein as the protein helps the colour to adhere. I would also suggest not washing the fabric afterwards for at least a week, to give the colour a real change of soaking in.
    If buying fabric I buy ready to dye fabric from Whaleys. I must say I haven't had much luck with avocado skins either. Rebecca's book is very good.

  2. Always interesting to try new things! I highly recommend India Flint's book 'eco colour' as she has loads of suggestions and information on a range of dye plants and ways of using them. I found it very readable as well as being a useful reference. I'm looking forward to doing lots of dye experimenting this year!