Experiments in Natural Fabric Dyeing

I’ve been playing around for the past few weeks with natural fabric dyes, as in: dyeing fabric with plant materials. The urge dropped into my head over the holidays, and so I went-a-searching online for ideas and recipes. I found this website (with a great video at the bottom) and this website and then got started messing around.

I also got inspired from some tie-dying tutorials I saw on YouTube and started trying to create designs by tying off parts of the fabric with string. I’ve mostly had success with using red and yellow onion skins—they create great, rich earthtones. I especially love the effects of red onion skin!

I’m looking forward to more blooming weather when I can start looking around for plants I can try for other colors, but so far it has been great fun and I would recommend it as top-notch textile play for anyone who has these sorts of leanings. Here are some pictures (although the photos don’t do the colors justice). I think they look especially vibrant with sun shining through.

9 Responses to “Experiments in Natural Fabric Dyeing”


  1. 1 Arlete January 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Walnut shells and husks might be a good material. Next fall I can supply you with lots from Justin’s orchard. Let me know if you find any reference for making henna-like tattoo cream, but using walnut-shell dye.

  2. 2 Erica January 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    You should try red cabbage – it dyes things blue!

  3. 3 Kerri January 27, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try this! Do you know of India Flint? Google her and die of joy! Also there is an amazing textile artist who is very into this too. Her name is Lotta and her blog is http://www.inleaf.blogspot.com. So beautiful! Love these Nicole!

  4. 4 Kerri January 27, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Oh I must add one thing, look at Lotta’s blog post from November 18, 2011. The pecan leaf prints are mind blowing! Her etsy shop is worth a look too.

  5. 5 Nicole | Blue Bicicletta January 30, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Oh, thanks Ladies for the encouragement, ideas, and links!

  6. 6 ristinw February 8, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Interesting experiment!

  7. 7 Ruben February 20, 2013 at 6:56 am

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  8. 8 Candice April 18, 2013 at 3:50 am

    I was wondering if you ever considered changing the page layout of
    your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so
    people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?


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Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
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~Rumi

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

~This Work ~

Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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