Natural tie-dye

The present moment provides a high level of awareness regarding the pollution of the textile industry. Everywhere in the media, the notions related to sustainability and fashion are explained. The life of a garment can be extended through care, but what other actions can be considered? So, the natural tie-dye method is a simple but high-impact way that can radically change the way a garment looks. It is interesting that nature can offer us, free of charge, natural dyes, which we can use at home in the upcycling process.

Although this method is now a fashion trend, it has its origins in traditional painting techniques from Japan or India, being a way of expressing the identity of a culture. This method bravely stepped in recent fashion in the 60s, but gained great popularity in the 70s with the hippie culture, when everyone adopted psychedelic looks at the old-school festivals.

Stella McCartney, RTW, Spring, 2019
Credits: Luca Tombolini,

The natural tie-dye is a sustainable method that reduces pollution of the textile industry and does not use chemical dyes. Thus, this alternative is a creative one and works best on natural fiber materials, such as cotton. For example, we all have a forgotten white T-shirt in the closet that we just don’t want to wear anymore. This situation can be saved by this method of upcycling. After choosing the material, this method of tie-dye must be described in detail.

So, this method is based on boiling natural dyes from plants, fruits, or vegetables. Depending on the chosen dye, the fabric will firstly be soaked in water with salt or vinegar. This step is for fixing the colors in the fabric and it is super important. Painting can be done uniformly or in a custom way with the help of rubber bands. Pigments can be chosen according to personal preference and next they will be boiled for an hour or longer so that the color will be more intense. Natural colors can be obtained from onion peels, berries, spinach, orange peels, coffee, lavender, pomegranate, avocado peels, flower petals. Everyone’s creativity and imagination can contribute during this step, combining pigments and using more at the same time on the garment, but in different proportions.

Story mfg

Therefore, the clothes can change radically, and the process represents a whole relaxation. It is proven that if a human is involved in the creative process of a garment, it will be so much more loved, for a longer time.

To recap, the steps for natural tie-dye are: preparing the piece for fixing the pigments in a bowl of water and salt or vinegar, boiling the plants/fruits/vegetables for an hour or more, for a greater intensity of color, putting rubber bands on the garment to create a pattern and soaking it in a bowl large enough to infiltrate the pigments. After the garment takes on the desired color, the rubber bands can be removed and eventually rinsed with cold water. This activity is worth trying for all ages, being safe even for kids.


An article by Evelina Tanasie

Check also: Love the way you Are.


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