Onion skin – natural dyeing

Today I had a great day dyeing with onion skins. I have collected brown onion skins over time. Brown onions are very common available here in the supermarkets. I haven’t had much room or success from growing brown onions in the garden. However, they cheap to buy. I use them in stir frys and everyday cooking a lot. Plenty of onion skins left around waiting to be use in dye pot. Onions skins are make great dye as one can achieve vibrant colours out of it.

Different colours and variety of onion skins produce different colours. There are red onions plus there are shallots as well.

I had great success today dyeing with the onion skins. First of all I put the onion skins in a pot them boil them for at least 15 minutes. The deep orange colour was seen almost immediately.

I use no mordant and alum mordanted fibers (protein and cellulose). they result is amazing deep colours. Onion skins can be use of add more orange colour in conjunction with other dyes. I have some Tagetes minuta on hand and look at the result. I have use tagetes minuta previously here Tagetes minuta dyeing and  I have growing them in the garden. Growing and harvesting tagetes minuta

I haven’t had much of success of growing onions during last years season. They are also cheap and available in abundance to buy.

Below it’s from left to right silk and wool thread on cotton fabric dyes without any mordant.

onion fabric dye
Onion dyed with any mordant.

Below it’s left to right – wool and silk thread on cotton fiber with alum mordant.

onion fabric dye with out mordant

I have deepen the colour by adding the dyed onion skins into iron after bath. The result it is vibrant dark colour. I have use always use iron as an after bath as I have put aside a pot of just for iron after bath. I don’t use any iron in the dye pot at all. As any traces of iron left in the dye pot will create a duller and deeper colour. Especially if it is not clean properly traces of iron will be left in the dye pot.

In a nutshell fabric dyeing with onion skins is a great result. However, how colour fast they are it is hard to tell. some dyers have reported that they do fade once expose to sunlight over time. So it is good to use for items that aren’t going to be expose to sun often. They also make great food dye like making easter eggs using natural dye instead of ready bought commercial food colouring.

fabric dyeing with onion skin

dyeing with onion skin

dyeing with onion skin

8 thoughts on “Onion skin – natural dyeing”

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