Updated: Jan 5, 2021
In the dyeing process, you will hear people speak about "mordants". A mordant is a plant or metal-based fixative that is used to maintain the color of natural dyes onto your fabric. One of the magical things about avocado puts is that they contain tannin in the seed that acts as a mordant that binds wonderfully to natural fibres. The depth of hues you can achieve depends on how many pits you use and how long you leave the solution to steep.
First things first, avocado dyes PINK ! yes pink ! how unexpected and sweet is that. Mother Nature always has surprise tricks up her sleeves.
This makes it so that anyone can do this at home as you don't need extra ingredients to prepare your fabrics.
The hues of pink you get will vary due to many factors. When buying your avocado, look for purple pink skins, they will have the most color to release, rather than the very green skinned avocados.
Make sure to wash your skins and stones very well.
Check (if you can) that the water in your pot is more alkali to get the most vibrant pinks
Use a big pot to allow your fabrics to move around, Any folds and creases will not let the dye penetrate well
Heat water gently. if too hot and bubbling, you will be over cooking your skins and stones and your color will be more of a brownish pink (I love that color though.See picture above.)
Check every 15 min by dipping in a piece of your washed fabric, if the color is where you want it.
The longer you leave your fabric in your dye bath, the deeper the color. Try to dye for 1 hour and try overnight to see a difference.
Now you don't need to mix your skins and pits in the pot. If using only the skins, you will have to prepare your fabric with a mordant (oak gall or soy bath or alum, all which will alter your out coming color). The skins and Pits will give you different hues, so you can also play around with those differences. See what you like best.
I am wearing a linen bucket hat dyed with avocado skins and pits.
Preparing your Fabrics
Pre-wash and soak the fabric & fibres of your choice in hot to warm water with a gentle fabric soap. The fabric can be left to soak overnight to best take the dye evenly. Rinse everything and keep it damp before adding to your dye pot.
Use natural materials such as linen, cotton, silk, bamboo fibres, wool etc. Every material will react differently to the dye which is so beautiful.
Keep in mind that if you plan on dyeing wool or animal fibres make sure to place them in the dye pot once the colour has been extracted from the seeds and removed off the heat. Let them sit overnight for best results. When your done, just give everything a gentle rinse and let dry naturally!
Preparing your Dye Bath
Make sure you use a stainless steel pot for there to not be any metallic effect on your dye. If you have a copper pot, you can use that and it will change your dye bath which is fun to experiment with.
Gather around 3-4 avocados for your dye bath. That is largely enough to dye several pieces.
Bring your water to medium heat and put in the pits and skins. Wait around 20-40 min for there to be any noticeable change in your bath. I recommend straining the bath through a thing fabric twice so as to catch all the little bits of avocado floating around.
You can now put your fabrics in the pot. You can experiment with different shibori folding techniques to get some patterns. Try tie dye as well for a 90s look!
Use a wooden spoon to not affect the dye, and make sure you wear gloves so as to not stain your hands.
Going Further With Iron
So if you wish to seek for another creative challenge, bring iron into the mix. It's all natural, but definitely wear gloves when handling anything to do with iron or those hands will be stained for days and it will be aggressive on your skin!
As you can see, when you put a piece of fabric that was just taken out of an avocado bath, the color will turn a greyish purple. The strength of the change depends on the depth of the pink color, and how much iron you have in your water iron crystals bath. Iron reacts to oxygen, so all you need to do is dip your wet dyed fabric in the iron bath for 5 seconds , squeeze the excess out, dip into a clean water bath and then put up to dry. You will see the color change before your eyes over the next 15 minutes.
Here is a link to buy FERROUS SULFATE to experiment with !
Thanks for reading !
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