Dyeing with Avocado Skins Part 2

Dyeing with Avocado Skins Part 2

My next step was to use the avocado skins for dyeing.  Again, the instructions varied.  Some said to tear the skins, others use whole.  I went with using the whole skins.

I used approximately the same amount of wool, thick and thin yarn, silk habatoi, silk gauze and cotton voile.  What I did differently this time was to put everything in before it was heated.  I felt this would save some time waiting to put in the wool after cooling. I’m not sure this changed the outcome.

I let the pot come to a boil,  left it to simmer for almost an hour.  Then let it sit overnight to cool.

The results were interesting and different from the pits.  The color was like a latte for the wool and silk.  The cotton was a very pale pink.

20160123_114840 20160123_115531 20160124_115819 But I couldn’t stop there.  I had saved the dye pot from  the pits and used half and half with the skins and pits.  I also presoaked the wool, silk and cotton in an alum mordant for several hours.


Again, I added the fabrics and wool before heating, heated to boiling then simmered for almost an hour and left it all sit overnight.  I wondered if the colors would be brighter and more intense with the addition of the alum.

Here are the results:


The result a little more coppery except for the cotton.

Now here they are next to each other.  From left to right – pits, skins, pits and skins with alum.

20160125_113312I thought it was interesting that the silk gauze was the deepest color in the mixed batch.

They are all lovely colors. Now to figure what to do with them.  And yes, I’ll continue to save my avocados.

36 thoughts on “Dyeing with Avocado Skins Part 2

  1. Lovely colours love the soft rose and the deeper rose colours the best.

    I probably missed it but how many skins to water?

    Just to pass on info, on Facebook there is a eco dyeing group. They seem to lay leaves petals on fabric, then they roll up and bind up the fabric and boil in mordant (or maybe fabric is soaked in mordant first) for several hours or steamed.Saw one lady used a bamboo steamer.

    1. Thanks MCH! If I remember correctly, there were probably about eight skins (16) halves.

      I tried Eco dying without success, but I’ll probably try it again. The instructions I followed had the silk soaked in mordant first, then heated. Thanks for the tip on the FB group.

    2. Hi Marilyn the Facebook group is called Eco-dying Creating Learning, the title says it all, it’s a public group and they are very active. Good luck.

  2. You got some lovely colours, Marilyn. I cannot decide which one is the nicest. I love the colour you got from skins. How many skins did you use per litre of water? Did you also mordant the fibres/fabrics before putting into the dye?

    1. Thanks Nada! I used about eight avacados skins in approximately 2 gallons of water. (9 litres)?

      The last batch I used alum as a mordant. See explanation above the last picture. I soaked the fabric and wool in the mordant for about 20 minutes then added alum to the pot. I hope that makes sense.

  3. Lovely colours Marilyn – and yes, I was surprised with result considering how different the stones are in colour to the skins.

  4. Some really gorgeous colours there and a very interesting experiment – I wonder if it is repeatable as in, if you used the same quantities you would always get the same colours?

    1. Thanks Marion! I would imagine the results would be similar in the same quantities of a avacados, silk and wool. Unless the water ph or some other factor such as the origin of the avacados would make a difference. But from the pictures I’ve seen the colors are fairly similar.

  5. You got some great results, Marilyn, I really like the mordanted ones. I think I know what Teri Berry will say about that second photo 🙂

  6. All of the colors you achieved by dyeing avocado skins look good and very natural, so I am starting to save my skins and pits! What is your finishing process, Marilyn, and have you determined the avocado dyes to be colorfast?

    1. Thanks Cathy! As far as finishing, I just rinsed the fabric and wool and let them dry. I have no idea how colorfast it will be. There wasn’t a lot of washout though. We’ll find out when I use them in felting.

  7. Great post Marilyn. Thanks for showing the results all together. It’s easier to see the differences. All of those colors could be used together for something and they would look good together.

    1. Thanks Ruth! It was my plan to use them together. I just don’t know for what yet. 🙂

  8. Very nice shades of pink and brown, and really interesting to see the difference in colour between wool, silk and cotton, and between using pits or skins. Very scientifically executed experiment. I need to start saving avocado pits and skins too. 😉

    1. Thanks Zara! It was fun to experiment and be surprised at the differences. I’m sure it would be a fun project to do with the girls, too!

  9. Great results Marilyn. They will all look wonderful together in a project. It’s nice to be able to use something you have been throwing out instead of having to buy stuff.

    1. I have a suggestion how you can use small pieces of pretty fabric. You can make little flowers to tie onto the hair combs. That’s what I’m doing right now. I get really creative. I cut long squares and circular triangles (with a wide end at the bottom of the triangle, so when you gather it, they look like oval petals) out of pretty fabrics that look good together, then hand sew the petals together with a top fabric and a bottom fabric, then turn them inside out and stitch an edge around (you can even use metallic thread gold silver pink etc), then scrunch the bottom part together, put the petals together to look like a flower, then sew some spaghetti-strap ties on them, because when the hair comb breaks, because I use them a lot, then I just untie the straps and tie them onto another comb. You sew into the flower some soft feather, or some little piece of fur, you can add some jewels/crystal/beads/sequins, you can cut thin strips of real or faux leather as ties, oh you can do so much with just some pretty little pieces of beautiful fabrics. Just experiment, and when you find a style you like best, then you have a template.

  10. Thank you! A most interesting report on dye-ing, and although I rarely dye my wool, I often wish that I had the time and knowledge to do so. I like the simplicity of your approach.

    1. Thanks Beverley! Give it a try. I freeze my skins and pits until I’m ready to use them. It’s not hard once you get all the materials in place. Please let us know your results if you decide to try it. Have fun!

  11. You obtained lovely results with all three experiments. I have dyed with avo stones and skins (in separate pots) today for the first time. Impatient to see some results, I immediately placed test strips in each pot: one divided into quarters and the other into thirds (the skins). The one with skins was simmered for 45 minutes and the one with the stones an hour. When it was removed, the skins had dyed a darker pink than the one dyed with the stones, but I understand that the stones should be left at least two days to leach out the colour. So I am very happy with the results. Both dyed lovely pinks; I think it is due to our borehole water, which is very alkaline. But I would like to experiment with alum. How much gram should I add to approximately 10 litre of water (200 gram fabric)? Thank you, lovely stuff you made.

    1. Thanks Hester! I’m glad you enjoyed your experiment. Alum sulfate for protein fibers – use 12% WOF (to weight of dry fiber) Alum acetate for cellulose/bast fibers – use 5% WOF. I hope you get good results. Stop by our forum and show us your results.Have fun!

  12. Hi! I would like to know why many articles suggest not to reuse pots for cooking eventhough no mordant is used and avocadoes are a natural element.

    1. I did use alum on this. Most felters use the same pots for natural and other dying using chemicals. I hope that helps. It’s just easier to keep cooking and dying separate.

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