Sunday, July 24, 2016

Progress report….Avocado Dye

So this is what happened with the Avocado Dye experiment.

After scouring everything on the subject I could find on line,
I picked out the techniques that made the most sense to me and proceeded this way…..

To prepare the fabric:

I soaked a thrifted silk shirt (that had been previously 'eco' dyed with eucalyptus, walnut and iron),
and small pieces of undyed silk and cotton jersey fabric
in warm water with a squirt of ph neutral dish soap 
(in this case Mrs. Meyer's Lavender).

I soaked these overnight and kept them wet in the solution until I put them directly in the dye pot
(when the dye solution was ready*).

*To prepare the dye solution:

I covered the skins and pits of 15 previously frozen Avocados with cool water in a large stainless steel pot.

I did not weigh the fabric or the dye stuff.

I slowly brought the pot to a 'just before' boiling point and left it there for 1 hour.

While it was simmering, I skimmed (and skimmed and skimmed)
the green slush of the avocado meat from the surface.
All accounts said this is not necessary, however it seemed like the best thing to do,
since I was 'into' it 
and curious….
while waiting for the brew to become the infamous 'pink'.

After one hour of the 'almost boil', I turned the heat off and let the pot cool on the stove over night. 

In the morning I poured the sludgy brew through some cloth placed in a sieve until it's liquor ran clear.

To dye the cloth:

I squeezed the soapy water from the items to dye and placed them in the cool dye bath.

I did not rinse the fabric (of the soap) before it went into the pot with the clear liquor.

I may have added a bit more water to cover the fabric.

I used my tap water for the whole process.

Then I repeated the 'almost boil' process, bringing the pot to almost boiling, and cooking the fabric for one hour.

After the hour I turned off the heat and let the fabric sit in the dye to brew overnight.

The next morning, I extracted the items from the pot,
then ran them through the wash with no soap in cool water.

then I said….

"oh, pink rays of morning sunlight please bless this wet shirt"

(just kidding, I didn't say that)

this was a surprise.

here's the almost dry…

thrifted shirt in the background, 

fabric from left to right…

some kind of silk, PFD cotton jersey from Dharma in the middle, mystery fabric on the far right.

I'm sorry I don't have the 'before' pics of the fabrics

The silk was off white and the cotton was very white.

The results:

The shirt color did not shift as much as I'd hoped,
 however it seemed darker and more uniform in color than before.

Obviously the silk took the dye more than the cotton did.

I did not presoak the cotton in soy milk as is often recommended. 
I'm not sure it would make a big difference, but it might. 
I would definitely go to the trouble if I were to dye a cotton garment with this process.

The dye bath does not seem exhausted, so it's in the freezer for future use.

I'm not sure what I'll do with this information, 

but I consider this experiment a success.

Yes I do.


  1. i love how you wrote this. and the results look very good.

  2. Down under a bit of ash works wonders with avocado pit dye.

  3. I love the photo with the pink rays of the sun . x

  4. this seems close to my results, still bags of avocado remnants waiting in my freezer. And I dyed a lot of wool that still waits to be woven.

    1. That's good to know Jude. I won't try harder next time!