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sustainability in design = changing mindsets + deeds

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Red Onion Solar Dyeing

Last year I was very interested in exploring solar dyeing techniques using natural dyes. Solar dyeing, as you can probably guess from the name, uses the sun to assist in the dye process, instead of energy wasting techniques that involve boiling the dye. One of the down sides however, is that it takes many months and therefore patience.

I had actually forgotten about this project, hence why I left it for so long with out looking at it. The jar had been sitting outside for 6 months before I came across it while doing some gardening. It contained red onion and a silk scarf I was wishing to colour. Over the six months the onionskins had dissolved completely, making the water a soft ruby colour. This is what the scarf looked like when I took it out:

I have rewrapped the scarf so that other areas of it are exposed and can absorb some of the dye. I may need to add some more onionskins for a stronger colour. I will leave it until I stumble across it again in a few months. As you can see this is a long process, but I think it will be totally worth it.


  1. found a fantastic book on natural dying recently (and in australia too hahaha it was even in borders?!! wonders will never cease. it's called "eco colour" by india flint. honestly i have looked through so many botanical dying books etc and they have not produced anything like the colour and intensity that this lady gets with her techniques. really really worth it I am saving for it at the moment.

  2. gorgeous colour!
    you should teach me how to do it since we have summer all year round in singapore!