Natural Tie-Dyes

Using tie-dyes to create multicolored designs for t-shirts and other articles of clothing can be a fun, rewarding experience. Consider using a natural dye, derived from plants or minerals, to change the color of your clothes and textiles.

Different types of wood, roots, bark, leaves, and berries are all great biological sources that can be used to create dyes (in lieu of dyes developed from synthetic sources). Certain organic compounds like indigo work particularly well at giving clothes a deep, dark blue color.

Pomegranate rinds and chestnut hulls are good for dyeing clothes yellow and brown, respectively. Herein lies another great advantage to using these sources for tie-dye: from a sustainability perspective, it is very beneficial.

Food waste products that would normally be tossed right into the trash (e.g., pomegranate rinds) can instead be used for another purpose before they are thrown out (or preferably, composted).  To leverage the inedible parts of a plant in this way is very resourceful, as it cuts down on the need to find alternative sources for dyes. Similarly, the end result between a t-shirt dyed from natural sources and one dyed from synthetic sources is very comparable, which is fantastic in and of itself.

Natural tie-dyes are an excellent option for textile design, and I hope you’re able to research more about the process if you’re ever interested in doing some tie-dyeing!


Written by Dax Emerson, Class of 2021

Photo Credits: Laurentiu Morariu on Unsplash


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