Dyeing Diary - part 1, dyeing with onion skins

Hi everyone, hope you are having a wonderful week! During the past week, I have been experimenting with natural dyes.

I dyed a Cotton fabric into a lovely shade of earthy pink using onion skins. It was my first experiment with natural dyes, so I decided to use onion skins which are simple and easy to work with.

It turned out great, and I wanted to share the process with you!



I started by bathing the fabric in a soy-milk mordant. I mixed 0.5 litres of soy milk with 2 litres of tap water and let the fabric soak the mordant overnight. I dried the fabric and repeated this stage once more.

I read that onion skins dye can be used without mordant; however, I wanted to be sure that the colour won’t fade and therefore decided to mordant my fabric anyway...


When my fabric was ready, I peeled the red onions (you can also use white onions which create a yellow dye). This stage involved lost of tears and was the least fun thing in this dyeing adventure (;





After peeling what seemed like an endless amount of onions, I started preparing the dye bath.

I filled a large pot with water and put all of the onion skins inside. I then placed it on the stove, brought it to boil and cooked it on a low fire for 1 hour.


I let the onion skins sit in the water overnight; in this way, the water soaked all of the colour from the onions- a thing that led to a more vibrant dye.



I then strained the water from the onion skins. After that, my dye was ready to use!

I put the cotton fabric inside the pot and simmered it for about an hour. Again, I let It sit in the pot overnight to make it soak all of the colour from the dye bath.




I took the fabric out of the pot and placed it in a tub filled with warm water. I washed it and changed the water a few times since some of the dye bled and tinted the water.

The last thing was to machine wash the fabric on a gentle circle and hang it to dry.




And that’s it! My fabric turned out to be in a beautiful peachy pink shade. It has a lovely earthy tone that reminds me of flowers and nature!



Hope you enjoyed this dyeing process.

Next time, I plan to dye with madder root, which produces a lovely shade of rusty red. I guess it is going to take some time until I can dye with madder because the madder I ordered is currently stuck in India (it cannot be shipped due to the bloody Coronavirus... yay!).

Anyway, see you in the next post and hopefully in the next dyeing adventure!


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