Black Beans Fabric Dye
Natural way to dye plant or animal-based fibres
Black beans fabric dye is one of the best ways to dye clothes naturally. I have already tried different foods and plants like the blush pink avocado or the blueberries to dye Easter eggs. Now I am planning to try more dyeing with nettles, onion peel, walnuts, oak leaves or cones. There is a diverse colour paletter that you can achieve and the black beans dye will give you a gorgeous lavender blue to deep fuchsia shade.
The best fibres to dye
Natural dye works great with plant or animal-fibres. These would be cotton, linen, wool yarn or silk fabric. You are unlikely to naturally dye any synthetic fabrics because they won’t absorb the pigment very well. For today’s project I chose an old button shirt made of cotton linen blend. It was a great shirt to wear over dresses or with jeans. Initially it was soft white colour but over time the shirt acquired some marks as I accidentally washed it with a dark load of washing. Since then I was planning to dye the shirt to make the marks disappear and save the shirt. Bellow I’ll share with you the process of the dyeing with black beans and the beautiful result that came out of it!
Black Beans Fabric Dye
- a plant or animal-based fibre material
- one pack of black beans (usually 500g)
- medium size stainless steel cooking pot
- approx. 1 1/2l of clean water
- wooden spoon
Put approx. half a kilo of black beans into a stainless steel pot and pour 2l of clean water over them. Let the beans soak overnight in a cool place to allow the pigment to dye the water. After about 12-24 hrs you will have a pot filled with purple-ish black water.
At this stage I tested three different fabric samples to see how the colour turns out. In the first pot I put the dye as it was and soaked the piece of cotton/linen blend fabric for several hours. In a second bowl I used the same dye but only dipped the fabric in for about 5 minutes, then I took it out. The last bowl had the dye and a teaspoon of vinegar in it. The first fabric sample became beautiful blue-ish purple shade, the second was a soft grey lavender colour and the last piece of fabric was deep fuchsia. It surprised me how pink the dye became after I added the vinegar. The colour reminded me of beetroot or elder berries.
Dyeing the shirt
I decided to make the shirt soft lavender so I only dipped it into the dye water for about 10 minutes. Then I took it out and washed it by hand in soapy water to remove any excess pigment. I didn’t use anything to fix the colour because from my experience the fabric stays the same without the dye washing out much. However, I make sure to wash it separately from other clothes just in case. The shirt turned out beautifully!