Summer 2020 Trend: Natural Tie Dyes

Banana bread. Frothy coffee. Puzzles. The list of at-home experiences and DIY experiments that have erupted into our consciousness in 2020 seems endless. We’ve learned new skills, revisited classics, and as summer is upon us we think it’s a great time to give our favorite childhood summer pastime a modern, sustainable twist.

Tie dying is an incredible way to elongate our clothing’s lifespan. Turning dowdy whites into vibrant patterned pieces can offer the precise pick-me-up that fashion, and humanity, needs.

Traditional tie dying just isn’t cutting it anymore. We’ve come to learn how synthetic dyes are detrimental to the environment when they break down, and that natural dyes are quite easy to make. When blended and mixed with hot water, turmeric, beets, red cabbage, beets spinach and parsley are turn into vibrant dyes that change clothes forever, but leave the earth unscathed. As with every DIY project, Martha Stewart has come up with the perfect recipes and tutorials on how to make your own natural dyes. We’ve abbreviated the directions for you and laid them out below. Find guides to some of our favorite tie dying techniques by reading on after, and enjoy a summer of new-to-you clothing.

Color Guide:
Red: Beets/Frozen Cherries
Orange/Yellow: Turmeric/Onion Peels
Blue/Purple: Red Cabbage
Green: Spinach/Parsley

Chop up your raw ingredients
Boil water
Mix two cups of water for every two cups of ingredients
Mix two cups of water for every two tablespoons of turmeric
Blend to a slurry
Strain through a cheesecloth lined strainer
Dissolve 1 teaspoon of table salt
Decant into bottles

Fixatives (what attaches dye to the clothes):
Berry dyes: Mix one cup of salt with every 16 cups of boiling water
Plant dyes: Mix one cup of vinegar with one cup of cold water

Dying fabrics:
Wash it completely
Dry it completely
Tie with rubber bands or grosgrain ribbon

Dying patterns:
Shirobi (traditional)
Fan fold
Fade (our favorite)

Words by: James Francis Kelley