Dyeing with Avocado - A DIY Guide



I love dyeing with avocado, it is an easy one for beginners and yields a variety of beautiful peaches and pinks. These are my notes brought together from several dye sessions and I will continue to add and evolve the journal as I go along my natural dyeing path. Keeping notes of your proportions of dye stuff and weight of fabric for each dye session is useful, to have a base for further experimenting with plant colours. This guide covers dyeing with avocado stones and mordanting fabric in organic soy milk before dyeing.


Equipment needed

- stainless steel or aluminium pot 

- plastic bucket for mordanting in soy milk

- avocado stones

- stainless steel or plastic strainer

- tongs

- natural fibre fabric


Weigh your fabric while dry

Weigh your dry fabric to have an idea of how many stones to use if you wish to work out proportions as mentioned below in "Preparing a Dye Bath'.


Prewashing fabric

Prewashing your natural fibre fabrics is an important step in the process as it removes oils/waxes that can interfere with the dye bonding and evenly coating the fabric.  You can either do a normal machine wash with a plant based liquid detergent which is what I do or you can scour fabrics by boiling in hot water. The plant based liquid detergent I use is from an Australian business called The Dirt Company, love it! 


Mordanting with soy milk

A mordant helps the dye bond with the fabric fibre to achieve more colourfast and even colours. There are several types of mordants that can be used but for avocado dyeing I use organic soy milk as it is easily bought from the supermarket. Using a plastic bucket, use a 1:10 ratio of soy milk and cold water. Immerse your pre washed fabric and leave in the soy milk for roughly 12 hours and stir occasionally. Make sure there is room in the bucket for fabric to move freely and get an even coating.  Remove your fabric after 12 hours, spin dry in washing machine and hang to dry. Wait atleast 7 days before dyeing. This allows time for the soy to bond with fabric fibres.



Storing avocado pits

wash the avocado pits, put them in a plastic bag and freeze them for later use OR if you have enough fresh pits ready to go, rinse them off and prepare dye bath straight away



Preparing a dye bath

When extracting colour from the avocado stones, the key is low and slow! As in heating on low heat to gently extract the colour.  Place your stones in a stainless steel or aluminium pot used for dyeing only and cover with enough water so pits are submerged. Heat gently for an hour or so. You can get a decent amount of colour from 4-6 stones, the more you use, the more potent the colour will be.  Aim roughly for a 2:1 ratio of weight of fibre and pits, example - 200 grams of fabric / 100 grams of stones. Experimenting is the key and each natural dyer has their own methods.  You can repeat the above process to extract more dye stuff from the stones and combine with first dye bath. When the dye bath is ready, strain the liquid through a strainer to remove the stones and any other bits, then return liquid to your pot and add pre washed and mordanted fabric, immerse thoroughly and leave in dye pot for atleast 12 hours (can be longer), remove fabric, rinse with cold water and hang to dry.



Caring for naturally dyed textiles

Please refer to the 'caring for naturally dyed textiles' in the footer menu of my website. 


I hope you find my journal useful and good luck with your dyeing projects x






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