How To: Make Your Own Natural Dyes

Wool to dye for.

Illustration by Olivia De Salve Villedieu

Back to the land — it’s officially back.

Magazines, conferences and books devoted to the DIY ethos abound. But learning practical skills doesn’t have to mean signing up for a lifetime of lumpy, beige bag dresses. Making your own dye is one those practical skills that brings fashionistas and homesteaders together.

And it’s possible to find all your fall wardrobe colors growing in the garden (or at the supermarket, we won’t tell). Anyone who can make a pot of tea can dye a skein of wool or yard of plain linen. Cool-weather crops like cabbage, fennel, stems and flowers, and red and yellow onion skins produce an amazing array of vibrant colors, including red, purple, green and yellow.



Photograph: Tom Schierlitz

How To: Make Your Own Natural Dyes