Extract your own vegetable dyes for food, fabrics and leather. (2023)

For theFireplaceinsidethrow awayManager




Introduction: Extract your own vegetable dyes for food, fabric and leather.

For theFireplace

More from the author:

Info: I'm a biologist and I'm interested in everything that has to do with natural sciences. I love figuring out how things work and doing my own thing whether it's food, woodworking, electronics or sewing.More about fireplace »

It all started with a leather bag I made. After creating the pattern, I thought it would be nice to add some color for a change. Of course there were no colors available and to get one I had to order and wait a week for delivery. I didn't have the patience for it, so my next thought was; “Hey, humans dyed leather and fabric for thousands of years before industrial production and internet ordering was an option. Let's see what I can produce myself."

Fortunately, plants are full of different colored pigments in their leaves, roots and flowers. We just have to extract them.

(Video) Making Natural Dye Using Vegetables | GRATEFUL

At this point I extracted red beet, yellow dandelion and green grass. I will update this instructable with more pigments as I try them out.

Step 1: Equipment

Making colored plant extracts doesn't require a lot of equipment.

- Glass or steel bowl. Plastic containers work well, but they can become permanently soiled with color pigments.

- Blender, grater or mortar.

- Cloth to filter extracts

- Water the ethanol as a solvent.

- Airtight container for storage.

Step 2: Solvent

Different color pigments require different solvents, but are generally soluble in water or oil.

Most colored plant pigments are water soluble, but chlorophylls are hydrophobic (water repellent) and dissolve best in a hydrophobic solvent. Petroleum (hydrocarbon) solvents or acetone work best, but are obviously not food safe.

Ethanol is an excellent solvent for most plant pigments. Using 60-70% ethanol, you can dissolve both hydrophobic and hydrophilic (water-loving) pigments. Ethanol is sometimes classified as a soluble hydrocarbon. I won't go into chemistry further, but the gist is that ethanol can act as a solvent for both hydrophobic and hydrophilic substances. Practical, right?

Ethanol is also easy to work with as it is not very toxic. As a bonus, it is food safe and acts as a preservative, allowing you to preserve the colored extract for a long time.

Step 3: Yellow Dandelion

The first step is to collect a bunch of dandelions.

The next step is to separate the flowers, leaving only the orange trees. If you don't remove the green bits, you're extracting chlorophyll in addition to the orange flavonoids we're looking for.

Step 4:

Once you have all the petals you want, add some ethanol. It is not necessary to completely cover the petals, just moisten them. Use a spoon to mash the petals with the ethanol and let them rest for about an hour. Using too much ethanol will dull the color of the extract, so try to use as little as possible while keeping things moist.

Step 5: Filter

Place a piece of cloth in a container and pour the soaked petals over it. Close the cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Step 6: Bottle and use

Pour the finished color extract into an airtight container for storage. Natural color pigments break down faster in light than most artificial pigments, so color extracts last longer in a dark place.

Step 7: Red Beetroot

Beetroot is extremely colorful and a great source of red pigment.

Step 8: grate, soak and filter

Grate the beetroot and soak it in ethanol for about an hour. Beet red pigments dissolve very easily in water. So if you want to use the extract right away and don't want to store it, you don't need to use ethanol.

Place the beets in a cloth and drain all the liquid.

You now have a nice red colored extract. It has almost no flavor, so you can safely use it in various foods, such as cake frosting.

Stage 9: green chlorophyll

All green plants have chlorophyll, but since there are several types of chlorophyll, the color you get will vary. The herb gives a beautiful deep green color so I used it for this extraction.

(Video) Easy home made walnut brown dye for leather, fabric, wood and leather

The herb has a rather strong odor, so this might not be the best extract for edible use. You can also use herbs like mint and basil to add flavor and color to foods.

Step 10: Puree, Soak and Strain

Leaving the weed in the ethanol won't give it much color. First you have to manipulate the grass with a little violence to break the leaves. I put my herb in a blender to grind it up a bit.

After grinding the herb, I put some ethanol in it and let it sit for about an hour. It is not necessary to add large amounts of ethanol. I just moisten the grass pulp with it and stir it with a spoon from time to time. After about an hour, most of the color to be dissolved is dissolved. You can leave it longer if you like, but the intensity won't change much. The next step is to strain the pulp through a piece of cloth and that's it, you already have your green extract.

Step 11: Natural Beauty

In just a few hours, we've created several beautifully colored extracts to use in a variety of projects limited only by your imagination.

Step 12: Use

My original intention with this extract was to color leather and it works great for that. The color is quite faint on leather so the intensity should be increased by applying several coats. Ethanol is beneficial here because it evaporates quickly, so you don't have to wait long between uses. Colors will lighten when fully dry, so consider applying more after a few hours when you feel the intensity of drying.

I have no experience using these extracts on fabrics. There are lots of fabric dyeing guides out there, so check them out if you want to try them out. Remember that when dyeing fabrics, you need a dye to fix the color.

All these extracts are suitable for food. Keep in mind that the extract retains some of the flavor of the plant used, so adding too much can add a touch of freshly cut grass or flowering dandelion to your dish. This can be used to your advantage by making colorful herbal extracts that enhance both the flavor and color of the dish.

I would love to hear about your experiences with these types of color extracts in the comments.

Happy coloring!

Extract your own vegetable dyes for food, fabrics and leather. (5)

rainbow contest 2016

Be the first to share


    3D printed climbing switch Mountain diorama lampthrough thejulho1050insideup until


    IKEA lantern trick made with molten glassthrough theSharon Warreninsideup until


    (Video) Hardcore Leather Dye: Vinegaroon

    Chain Chomp wall lampthrough thea strange guyinsidevideogame


    Viking helmet made of copper and steelthrough thejoleothetallinsidemetallurgy


    • anything goes competition



    Question3 years ago instep 9

    Do you want to use a natural oil-based colored soap? Does the color smell like grass?


    Answer 3 years ago

    If you use grass for the green color it will have a slight grassy odor, but I don't think you would be able to smell it in a bar of soap. You can also use different green herbs like basil and get the aroma as a bonus.

    Dr. A. S. HS

    6 years ago

    (Video) Natural Blue Dye with Concord Grapes!

    If you get the chance, check out Purple Yam / Purple Sweet Potato. I bought some here in Berlin and they are the most colorful vegetables I have ever seen. It tastes good too.
    Have fun extracting!


    6 years ago

    Isn't ethanol a carbohydrate?


    Answer 6 years ago

    Yes, but it is also sometimes classified as a soluble hydrocarbon. I made it clear in the text. Thanks for the tip.

    DIY tricks and instructions

    6 years ago

    (Video) The Leather Element: Six Ways to Dye Leather

    It's really impressive how many colors you can make with everyday things at home.


    How do you make vegetable dye for fabric? ›


    Gather at least one cup of leftover fruit and vegetable bits. Chop the fruits and veggies to allow more color to saturate the dye. Add the chopped food scraps to a saucepan and cover with twice as much water as the food quantity. For one cup of scraps, use two cups of water.

    How do you extract dye from vegetables? ›

    Chop up your vegetables, combine with water, bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour. Then you pour the mixture through a strainer and the dye liquid is ready to use. My ratio of food stuffs to water was 1:1 which means use 1 cup of chopped veggies to 1 cup water.

    What vegetables can be used as dyes? ›

    Choose a food that has lots of tannins—Pinterest can help you identify which make good dyes, but here are some favorites: black beans for blue, red cabbage for purple, beets for pink, avocado skins and pits for peachy pink, yellow onion skins for yellow-orange, ground turmeric for golden yellow, spinach for green.

    How do you make fabric dye with food coloring? ›

    Mix 1 cup (240 mL) of water in a water bottle with 6-8 drops of dye. Use a plastic bottle for each color you want to incorporate, and fill each one with the 1 cup (240 mL) of water and at least 6 drops of food coloring—you can add more, though, if you want a darker shade.

    How do you make fabric dye from plants? ›

    Chop plant material into small pieces and place in a pot. Double the amount of water to plant material. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour. Strain and return dye to the pot.

    How do you make vegetable extract? ›

    A process for making a fruit or vegetable extract including diffusing, screening, and pressing the pomace, and spinning, filtering and concentrating juice from the pomace to form an extract. Also, the pomace may be hydrated at various points during this process by water or by reclaimed condenser condensate.

    Which of the following plants is used to extract the dye? ›

    Solution : Indigo (blue dye) is obtained from the leaves of indigofera tinctoria and `I`. Suffruticosa. The leaves contain a colourless chemical which on exposure to air turns bluish.

    How do you dye clothes with fruits and vegetables? ›

    Dye. Put 1 cup of fruit and 4 cups of water in your saucepan. Bring the water to the boil, then add your fabric. If you have several yards of fabric, you will need to keep increasing the recipe, in a 1:4 fruit to water ratio, until your fabric is fully submerged.

    How to make your own dye? ›

    What Can You Use to Make Natural Dyes?
    1. Red and pink: Fresh beets or powdered beetroot, pomegranates, red and pink rose petals, avocado pits.
    2. Orange: Carrots, turmeric, butternut seeds or husk.
    3. Yellow: Marigolds, sunflower petals, paprika, celery leaves, onion skins.
    4. Green: Spinach, mint leaves, lilacs, artichokes.
    May 13, 2021

    What is the most common food dye? ›

    The most popular food dyes are Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. These three make up 90% of all the food dye used in the US ( 3 ).

    What is the best dye for dyeing fabric? ›

    The Best Fabric Dyes
    • Best Overall. Dye Liquid Craft County. ...
    • Best for Synthetic Fabric. Synthetic Rit Dye Craft County. ...
    • Best Budget. iDye Jacquard. ...
    • Best for Leather. Leather Dye Angelus. ...
    • Best for Suede. Suede Dye Fiebing's. ...
    • Best for Furniture. ColorShot Instant Fabric Color Tulip. ...
    • Best Spray. ...
    • Best Powder.
    Sep 9, 2022

    What is the best fabric to dye? ›

    Natural fibers—such as cotton, linen, silk, and wool—take dye much better than synthetics do. Dyeing is as much an art as a science, so don't hesitate to experiment.

    How do you make natural dye easy? ›

    Chop 1 cooked beetroot and add to the water. Beetroot will create a strong red-coloured dye that you can combine easily with other colours. Again, if you want to create a double batch, use 2 beetroots and double the amount of water to 1.4 litres (about 6 cups).

    How many types of fabric dye are there? ›

    There are three categories: Cellulose fiber dye. Protein fibers dye. Synthetic fibers dye.

    What are the ingredients in fabric dye? ›

    Natural dyes are made from plants and minerals, then are combined with starches and seaweed to make sure it takes to the material. Synthetic dyes are usually made from coal tar and petroleum. They vary so much because different materials require different chemicals to make the dye adhere.

    What fruits can you use to dye fabric? ›

    Red fruits, such as strawberries, cherries and cranberries, produce beautiful pink dyes. Blueberries, blackberries, black currants, mulberries, black plum skins and other dark fruits generally produce shades of blue to purple.

    Where is vegetable extract from? ›

    Vegetable extract is a concentrated liquid obtained from vegetable juice or powder obtained from any dried vegetable. The vegetables can be beetroot, kale, onions, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, parsley or any other vegetable. They can be be used to flavor savoury dishes.

    What extracts can be made at home? ›

    Orange Extract: 1 large orange rind, peeled into strips + 8 ounces vodka. Mint Extract: 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves+ 8 ounces vodka. Coconut Extract: 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh coconut meat + 8 ounces vodka. Cinnamon Extract: 4 sticks whole cinnamon + 8 ounces vodka.

    What is natural dye example? ›

    Lichens and mushrooms are source of natural dyes, and they produce violet and purple colours.

    What are the most common natural dyes? ›

    Some of the most common natural dyes include tyrian purple, cochineal red, madder red and indigo blue. Tyrian purple was one of the most important natural dyes to have ever been found.

    Why is natural dyeing important? ›

    Why Natural Dyes. Natural dyes are a nontoxic alternative to conventionally used synthetic dyes that are causing irreversible damage to the planet. By using natural dyes, we are directly cutting back on the toxic chemicals being released that are associated with synthetic dye.

    Which tree is used as a dye? ›

    Tree barks like birch, oak, alder, ash, apple, pear, willow, elder and elm can create beautiful shades of color. The natural dyeing process is a bit more elaborate though. To extract the dye color from the bark, it has to be soaked in water for several days or even up to a week before it can be used.

    What plants can you dye fabric with? ›

    Many of the plants we grow like lavender, nettles, goldenrod, and elderberries can be used as natural dyes for fabrics like cotton, linen plus wool and silk.

    How do you dye clothes with beetroot at home? ›

    Instructions. Chop the beets into 1 inch pieces (no need to peel unless they are extremely dirty). Place the beets in a pot and cover with enough water to cover the beets by two inches. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, simmer 'til the beets have turned a lighter shade of red and are easily pierced with a fork.

    How do you dye clothes with salt and vinegar? ›

    Salt and vinegar won't do the trick.

    Although there is a popular belief that using salt and white vinegar to set dyes in your fabrics work, it actually does not. The acid in the vinegar helps set the dye, but is only essential in the dying process and does not really work for cotton dyes.

    What is used to make dye? ›

    The majority of natural dyes are derived from non-animal sources: roots, berries, bark, leaves, wood, fungi and lichens. In the 21st century, most dyes are synthetic, i.e., are man-made from petrochemicals.

    Are there natural food dyes? ›

    Natural Food Coloring

    Natural dyes have been used for centuries to color food. Some of the most common ones are carotenoids, chlorophyll, anthocyanin, and turmeric. Carotenoids have a deep red, yellow, or orange color.

    Why is food dye used? ›

    A color additive, as defined by regulation, is any dye, pigment, or other substance that can impart color to a food, drug, or cosmetic or to the human body. Color additives are important components of many products, making them attractive, appealing, appetizing, and informative.

    What fabrics are easiest to dye? ›

    A few natural fabrics prefer to be washed by hand and do better when coloured with hand dye. These include the likes of silk, wool, cashmere and mohair. For the most part, however, natural fabrics are the ideal dye candidate so you can dye your cotton shirts, canvas shoes and linen anything with unbridled abandon.

    What is the easiest material to dye? ›

    1. Know your fabrics
    • Cotton: Go for it. ...
    • Nylon or Rayon: These are synthetic, but happen to be very porous so they tend to take dye well. ...
    • Silk: Silk dyes well, but tends to shrink, pull, and lose its luster in the process.
    • Linen: Linen dyes well, too, but may leave you with a little bit of shrinkage.
    Feb 17, 2022

    What are basic dyes give examples? ›

    Basic dye is a stain that is cationic (+ve charged) and so will react with material that is (-ve) negatively charged. Alizarin prominent red dye is a basic dye. Some other examples of basic dyes are methylene blue, crystal violet, basic fuchsin safranin.

    What are the two types of natural dyes? ›

    Natural dyestuffs can be divided into two groups; I) Non-mordant dyes (Substantive) and II) Mordant dyes (Adjective). The majority of natural dyes need mordant, which act as a dye fixing agent forming a link between dyestuff and fibre.

    What are the two kinds of dyes used for Colouring clothes? ›

    Many, but by no means all, natural dyes require the use of a mordant. Synthetic dye: Dyes derived from organic or inorganic compound are known as synthetic dyes. Examples of this class of dyes are Direct, Acid, Basic, Reactive dye, Mordant, Metal complex, Vat, Sulphure, Disperse dye etc.

    Can you dye your own fabric? ›

    Immerse your fabric.

    Soak your fabric in warm water in a sink. Once it is wet, place it into your dye bath and use a stainless steel spoon to stir it around to ensure an even coating. Stir it nonstop for about ten minutes, and let the fabric get a little darker than intended.

    Why do natural fabrics dye better? ›

    As a general rule, if a fabric absorbs water well, it will absorb dye well too. Natural fibers are great absorbers. Nylon (the first synthetic fabric), has a unique chemistry from other synthetics, that lets it absorb dye as well!

    How do you make green vegetable dye? ›

    If you want to know how to make spinach dye without a blender, simply chop up the spinach or other veggie pieces and place them in a small saucepan. Add twice as much water as you have spinach, bring it to a boil, then allow it to simmer for an hour. Once the product has cooled, strain it well.

    How long does vegetable based dye last? ›

    Women tend to change the color of their hair more often than others depending on the occasion, mood or dress. The best part about using vegetable dye is that it is not permanent and can be washed off in 8- 10 shampoos.

    How do you make edible green dye? ›

    Food Coloring Recipe

    Light green dye: Combine spinach and water in a frying pan. Heat on low-medium flame, and stir until spinach is wilted. Process in a small food processor, and then strain through a fine mesh sieve. Pale purple dye: Combine berries and water in a tall cup.

    How can I make my natural black hair color at home? ›

    To dye your hair with coffee:
    1. Brew a strong cup of dark-roast coffee.
    2. Mix about 1/2 cup of coffee with 2 tbsp. of coffee grounds and 1 cup of leave-in hair conditioner.
    3. Apply the mixture to clean, damp hair.
    4. Let the mixture set for at least an hour, and wash it out when you're done.
    5. Repeat if necessary.
    May 3, 2017

    What plants can make green dye? ›

    Rubber rabbitbrush, a western native, can be used to create both green and yellow dyes. The bark produces green dye while flowers produce yellow dye. Not only is stinging nettle edible, it can be used to create a green dye. Stinging nettle can cause severe skin irritation, but is useful for dyes, fiber, and food.

    What are the 7 Colours of vegetables? ›

    Vegetables can be divided into five main colour groups – red, orange/yellow, white/brown, green, and blue/purple. Choose from each colour group each day; some vegetables give you the goodness of more than one colour e.g. cucumber with its green skin and white flesh.

    What are the 4 color pigments of vegetables? ›

    In fruits and vegetables almost all colors are caused by just 4 groups, or families, of pigments:
    • Chlorophyll (green)
    • Carotenoids (yellow, red, orange)
    • Flavonoids: anthocyanins + anthoxantins (red, blue, purple)
    • Betalains (red, yellow, purple)
    Apr 4, 2022

    Is vegetable dye safe? ›

    They are mostly made of vegetable extracts and are extremely safe to use. Temporary hair dyes do not last very long on your hair, but can be used for touch ups as and when you wish, without fearing allergies.

    What is the best natural hair dye for GREY hair? ›

    Henna powder is a good choice for coloring gray hair. Henna comes in several colors and is easier to control than some other types of home-dying plant-based techniques, like coffee or tea.

    How do you tone gray hair blonde? ›

    The Basics of Going from Gray Hair to Blonde
    1. Assess the Percentage and Distribution of Gray. First, take a good look at your client's hair. ...
    2. Choose a Lightener to Add Highlights and Lift Locks. ...
    3. Pick the Best Blonde Hair Color to Cover Gray. ...
    4. Start Where Gray is Most Prominent. ...
    5. Use Heat to Speed Up the Process.
    Jan 20, 2021

    What is the best natural green dye? ›

    Spinach. Spinach, Spinacia oleracea, is an edible plant native to central and southwestern Asia. It is an annual plant that may survive winter in temperate regions. Not only is spinach nutritious and good for Popeye, but it also makes a wonderful green dye when the leaves are boiled with water.

    What is the easiest natural dye to make? ›

    What Can You Use to Make Natural Dyes?
    • Red and pink: Fresh beets or powdered beetroot, pomegranates, red and pink rose petals, avocado pits.
    • Orange: Carrots, turmeric, butternut seeds or husk.
    • Yellow: Marigolds, sunflower petals, paprika, celery leaves, onion skins.
    • Green: Spinach, mint leaves, lilacs, artichokes.
    May 13, 2021

    How do you make green color naturally? ›

    In a blender or food processor, blend the spinach and water together until completely smooth. Pass through a sieve to remove the leaves. Store your green coloring in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator. Add your Homemade All Natural Food Coloring to icings, frostings or batter.


    1. How to Use Food Waste to Dye Fabric, with Circular Union
    2. Colors of Nature: Extracting Natural pigments from plants
    (Alhibe Farm)
    (Margaret Byrd: Color Quest)
    4. Grow your clothes: grass dress, algae shoes, kombucha fabric
    (Kirsten Dirksen)
    5. MAKE your own SILICONE MOLDS on a budget
    (Tiffany Solorio)
    6. Making Your Own Texture Paste!
    (Lynnea Hollendonner)


    Top Articles
    Latest Posts
    Article information

    Author: Melvina Ondricka

    Last Updated: 17/08/2023

    Views: 6117

    Rating: 4.8 / 5 (68 voted)

    Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

    Author information

    Name: Melvina Ondricka

    Birthday: 2000-12-23

    Address: Suite 382 139 Shaniqua Locks, Paulaborough, UT 90498

    Phone: +636383657021

    Job: Dynamic Government Specialist

    Hobby: Kite flying, Watching movies, Knitting, Model building, Reading, Wood carving, Paintball

    Introduction: My name is Melvina Ondricka, I am a helpful, fancy, friendly, innocent, outstanding, courageous, thoughtful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.