Natural Dye DIY: Avocado

Natural Color with Avocado Dying

by Carol Hargus of Art & Soul Design

Botanically Dying with Avocado is one of many fruits that yield a lovely color to enhance an array of textiles, wether you are want to revive a garment that you love but feel it is lacking a “soul”or you want to start with something new.

This technique can be very rewarding or you may find it frustrating if it doesn’t yield the results you are expecting, so learn to expect the unexpected and embrace the outcome. Follow these simple guidelines and you most likely will be rewarded with a great sense of the joy of experiencing art through nature.


Materials Required:

-clean, blank organic fabric (natural fibers only)

-avocado pits/skins (12/14)

-large stainless steel pot

-clean bin or bucket for washing fabrics


-non-iodized salt

-tongs and spoon


-food thermometer

Step 1:

Eat a lot of avocados- everyone knows they are sooo good for you. Instead of discarding the skins and stones (aka pits), gently wash clean of all fruit residue and air dry (a scrub brush works wonders). At this point it is best to throw them in an air tight container in your freezer until you have collected minimum of 12-14 stones and/or skins.

Step 2:

Remove from freezer and thaw. In a non-reactive stainless steel pot that is dedicated to your dyeing “experiments”- (ie: do not use for cooking ever again) cover your avocado skins or stones (either or, not both together) with 2x as much water as plant matter. Add 1/4 cup non- iodized salt and bring to a simmer, keeping temperature at or below 160 for about 45 minutes.

Step 3:

While you are cooking your dye, pre-wash your textile in hot water, rinse and gently squeeze excess water out. After your avocado has completed the dye extraction process in Step 2, you should have a lovely shade of dye bath ranging anywhere from a light amber color to a medium rosey shade.

Step 4:

Immerse your wet textile in dye pot and cook for 30- 60 minutes, regulating the temperature between 140-160 degrees (if you go over the color will brown), diligently and gently stirring with a wooden spoon often. The recommended ratio of textile to water is 1 gallon to 1/4 lb of fabric (for example: 2 pillowcases is almost too much) Strain out pits or skins using colander.

Step 5:

Allow to cool in dye pot, remove, gently squeeze out excess liquids, hang to air dry out of direct sunlight, gently rinse, hand wash in hot water with few drops PH neutral soap, repeat rinse and hang to dry. Enjoy your new creation and stay tuned for more plant magic journaling.

Please note:

-Color varies based on the season, region the avocados come from, the soil conditions, etc.

-Some dyers may advise using Soy Milk as a “mordant” but I have found it to be unnecessary in my experiences and color studies using avocado.

-If you are trying to “cover up” a stain on a used piece of fabric this method is not going to work, the dye will avoid the area. A better method is a Bundle Dye method as this style MAY allow the stain to appear blended into the pattern. There is no guarantee in covering a stain with natural dye, especially if the stain is made from a chemical source.

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Melissa HargusComment