Organic dyes
Dye Plants – Growing and Making Dyes

Dye Plants – Growing and Making Dyes

If sourcing and making organic dye is something you love to do or are interested in learning, then it can be very satisfying to grow your own dye plants if you have a suitable garden space. However even if room is a problem some plants can even be grown on a balcony or indoors in pots.

By growing the plants and producing your own organic dye you know exactly what is in it and what has been sprayed on the plant and you can ensure that it is indeed an organic dye and that no nasty toxic chemicals have been used. However many dye plants are quite toxic or poisonous themselves and often the mordanting process to enable dye to be colorfast can also use quite dangerous, although natural, chemicals.

Growing dye plants for natural dyeing and extracting dye from them can be a rewarding experience.  You don’t even need to have a ‘green thumb’ as most dye plants historically are weeds, which as we all know, grow very well with little attention and often in poor soil conditions.

Growing Dye Plants

Click on the plant to go a page of how to grow and dye with each specific plant. Extracting dye from plants can be very specific to each plant type with some requiring long soaking in ammonia solutions, to others that need to be boiled for hours and then the gentle plants that cannot be overheated or the color will spoil.

(This area of the site is constantly being updated so please check back regularly)

Coreopsis

Dyeing with Coreopsis
Coreopsis

 

Hibiscus

Dyeing with Hibiscus
Red Hibiscus

Japanese Indigo

Dyeing with Indigo
Indigo

Madder

Dyeing with Madder
Dried Madder Root

Onions

Dyeing with Onion Skins
Red and Yellow Onions

 

Poke Weed

Dyeing with Poke Berry
Poke Berry

Queen Anne’s Lace

Dyeing with Queen Anne's Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace flower head

Red Cabbage

 

Woad

Dyeing with Woad
Woad

Coming Soon

Sumac

Black Beans

Avocado

Marigold

Chamomile

Cosmos

Golden Rod

Other sources of organic dye can be found growing naturally in local forest or bushland. Some fungi, bark, leaves, seeds and hulls, all make great organic dyes. However dying with natural products usually require some kind of mordant or fixative to ensure that it does not fade or wash out of the fabric or wool too quickly. Please refer to the page on Mordants and Fixatives on this site for more information.