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How to make natural dyes for crafts

Creating natural dyes for crafts can be a source of both savings and pride. There are many commercial color options, but many artisans prefer to handle natural substances, not least because they are easy to source yourself by growing them. If you are among those who want to make your craft beautiful without using artificial colors, here are some ways you can use natural products to make shades for your craft.

Sources of natural dyes

There are two primary sources of natural dyes used by most artisans ̵

1; mica pigments or natural vegetation. For those of you who chose mica pigmentation, the process is as simple as mixing the pigments with your craft material. However, mica pigments are expensive and must be purchased in large quantities to offer sufficient color options for your work. On the other hand, vegetation-based paint is much cheaper, even if it is labor-intensive.

Mica Pigment Dye

mica powder for natural dye

Mica is best suited for crafts where the pigment is mixed with the craft materials. For example, if you make soap at home, you can simply mix the powder color you want to use in the soap before the saponification stage. You can also use mica pigmentation on crafts such as pots and other clay. In such objects, the pigmentation is mixed with the clay used to make the pot. If you want the pot to have a solid color on the surface, you need to finish making the pot before applying a thin layer of mica pigmentation to the surface.

Herbal dyes

For most artisans, plants are the best option for paint. Plants can be easily reached and offer many options in terms of color diversity. Some of the best plants for dyes include:


Raspberries, beets and red hibiscus flowers


Strawberries, cherries, roses and lavender


Carrots, onion skin, squash and turmeric

natural powders for dyes including turmeric and others


Lilies and blackberries


Marigolds, sunflower petals and dandelions


Spinach, artichokes and peppermint leaves


Red cabbage leaves, blueberries and cornflowers


dandelion roots, oak bark and walnut

Gray or black

Walnut shells, sumac leaves and jade plants

gloved hands squeezing blue dye from the fabric

The only way to prepare your dye from the plants is to dissolve the plant in water or some other solvent so that the pigments are released. Here is a step by step process to prepare natural dye from the plants.

Step 1 – hack

The first step is to chop the plant to be used in an inch thick slices. You can also use a grater to cut roots like carrots into small slices. Use fresh plants to ensure you get the right color. Do not use plants that have been in the freezer or in the fridge for a long time.

Scarpet 2 – Combine with water

For all plant materials you use, combine with water twice as much as the plants. For example, if you use one cup of raspberries, you can combine with two cups of water. Mix the contents in a heatproof bowl or frying pan.

Step 3 – Boil and swim

On medium heat, cook the contents above in a saucepan with the lid on until boiling. When the boiling point is reached, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about an hour or until you get a rich color. Some plants may take longer to release dyes. Check the contents of your pot regularly to see the color changes.

hands twisting fabric in natural yellow dye

Step 4 – Strains

Once you have achieved the desired color, use a strainer or cheesecloth to strain out the plant material. You can use the plant material for your cooking or for another purpose. Allow your dye to cool and apply it to your craft accordingly. Because herbal dyes can be slightly diluted than artificial dyes, you may need to apply the dye more than once. Let the dye dry and add a new layer.

Pro Tips: To use herbal dyes to dye a woven fabric, it is best to place the entire fabric in the pot containing the dye and boil. In this way, the stains are more visible and less likely to fade.

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