Inspiration ~ Natural Dyes

black bean heart

Last week I mentioned I had plans to experiment with natural dyes and well sure enough that’s exactly what I did on Friday.

For many years I’ve wanted to try using natural dyes but never seemed to find the right time. My love for dip dying and ombre crafts at the moment, kind of made it feel like the right time to give it ago. I saw this great post on Free People recently about Dying with Black Beans. Instantly I knew I had to use them, I loved the colour they gave to the lace, beautiful!

My intentions had been to create a natural blue dye to create a hanging dip dyed ombre piece, however as you will soon see my intentions were not achieved this time around.

The Process

Making a natural dye was much easier than I had anticipated it would be. Honestly it was really simple.
All I needed was an old saucepan (or bucket or bowl), water, dried black beans and a fabric suitable for dying (I used linen).

You simply pop your black beans into your pot, cover with water and allow to soak for around 12-15 hours. Make sure there is plenty of water to cover the beans as they soak it up, if need be add a drop more water a few hours before you plan to use your dye, that’s what I did and it turned out okay.


tools 2

Once I had allowed the black beans to soak overnight, they had created a murky brown liquid. I panicked at this point, this wasn’t the blue I envisaged. I gave it a go any way.

I decided to do the dying process in the bathtub just in case of spillages. Since I was attempting a dip dye effect I put about 1/3 of the material into the dye bath and every 15 minutes pulled a few inches out of the dye bath.

dye bath 3

During this part of the process, the fabric took on a beautiful blue and the ombre effect was working. Whoo!

Dye bath 4

I loved the effect shown in this picture. I can promise you there are no filters on this photo or any of the photos today, this is the natural look.

Once I reached the end of the length of linen I squeezed any excess water out and hung it out to dry.

This is where I wanted to cry. You see as the linen dried the ombre effect disappeared. It was clearly down to the concentration of water remaining in the fabric that allowed for this effect to be created. But never mind, as it dried the concentration reduced and thus the single colour resulted.

I did create a beautiful blue piece of linen perfect for working with on a future project however so I don’t really mind.

final fabric


I’m eager now to create natrual dyes in other colours. I’m already eyeing up the blackberries that are growing along side the railway track.
For more inspiration on natural dying check out this post over at Free People – DIY Natural Dyes.

Inspired? Ever tried it yourself? Tell us your ideas or tips in the comments below.


Victoria Signature



9 thoughts on “Inspiration ~ Natural Dyes

  1. I love the way the fabric turned out! I’d be interested to know how you get on with using blackberries as there are a lot of wild ones growing near me. I’m really tempted to give natural dip dyes a go myself now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. I love the colour that the beans have produced!! Have you tried using a mordent to pre soak the fabric in, it might help when trying to get the Ombre effect to hold, both vinegar and lemon juice work pretty well.


  3. It still turned out well! I really like that colour, very subtle&sweet! I was gonna do some natural dip dyes as well but maybe when the berries are on sale lol(it’s expensive here in melbourne). Xx❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Inspiration ~ Dip Dyed T-shirt | Me Oh My!

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