DIYdiy projects

Printable Freebie: Natural Dyes Chart

by Maxwell Tielman

Design*Sponge | Printable Natural Dyes Chart

If there’s one thing that can strike fear in the hearts of the eco-conscious and health-minded, it’s the thought of chemical textile additives. From the oh-so-dreaded flame retardants that bathe some of our most innocuous, everyday items to the elusive artificial dyes that impart a supernatural vividness to our clothes, these ghastly things are seemingly everywhere and—today especially—utterly inescapable. This, I am happy to report, is not quite the case. While it may indeed be difficult to gain complete freedom from artificial (and potentially toxic) dyes, there are steps one can take to avoid them. Reading fabric and clothing labels is a great first step. And, when all else fails, turn to the age-old, tried-and-true method of hand-dyeing with natural colors! The notion might be intimidating at first, but to help give you a jump start on your DIY dyeing, we’ve got a fun little treat—a free downloadable natural dyes chart. Print this bad boy out, laminate it, and keep it on hand for whenever you hear the siren call of a fabric dyeing project! (Hint: our DIY archive has tons of ’em!) Continue below for the download link!—Max

Design*Sponge | Printable Natural Dyes Chart

To download the printable image file, click here.


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  • I love the wonderful illustrations and you helped me indeed regarding an actual challenge :) Thank you <3
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  • Love the pretty print – thank you!
    I’ve used natural dyes for Easter eggs the last 2 years & it’s been interesting. They’ve never changed the flavor of the boiled egg either. I can’t wait to try some of these ingredients on fabric :)

  • Question–how do you fix the dye? So it doesn’t wash out. Is there another step?

    • You can fix with an iron. Colours also change when a piece of copper or iron scratch pad are added, and the addition of these metals can help it stick too. So there is so much to play with.

  • Love this post!! I am thinking of dyeing a sofa cover and I never thought to use coffee grounds – I shall be collecting my grounds and the acorns from my walks to start this project – thanks!!

  • Katherine – you can fix the dye using another house hold ingredient – alum. It’s often used in pickling. Basically, measure out 10% how much the cloth you’re dying weighs (If you’re dyeing a tee that weighs 100 grams, measure 10 grams of alum). There are different ways to add alum to your cloth – either simmer it with your cloth alone for an hour before you dye, or some people add it right into the dye pot. You’ll achieve different colour results with the two ways. It can also help your cloth pick up darker, more vibrant colours. 5% cream of tartar added to the mix can make the colours brighter too (it will change the colour you get though, so if you LOVE your marigolds without tarter, do some tests before you add it to a precious pot). Also, be careful with beets – they produce beautiful colour but aren’t colourfast (it’ll rinse out and fade A LOT over time). Great graphic!! Natural dye colours are so beautiful!

  • I took a workshop at the Textile Arts center in brooklyn a few months ago- most of these “dyes” listed are not actually colorfast, and will quickly wash out of the fabrics! There are natural, easy to find dyes though- marigolds, tumeric, onion skins, many different kinds of flowers. Also, some things like the onion skins and cabbage will not create the color you would expect. As Rachel writes above, it is very important to have a mordant for most natural dyes- Alum being the most common.

  • This is great!
    When you say “1 Part” what unit of measurement could I use that as?

  • Thank you for your post…..
    I am try this with my Girls Scout group the girls will have fun..