How to Make Household Stains into Dye

by Sarah - Craft Invaders

I have to admit my husband looked less than convinced when I excitedly tried to explain, this, my latest crafty light-bulb moment.  “Why on earth would you want to put stains on something” he said, “surely people mostly try and remove them?”. 

Fortunately my kids were far more impressed by my creativity, and we spent a fun afternoon testing out my theory. Turns out you can make household stains into dye!

 

How to Make Household Stains into Dye

 

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use household stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best for us.

 

We used natural cotton bags, and prepared them by simmering them in a fixative (1 part vinegar to 4 parts water) for about an hour. Having scoured the cupboard, we decided to try tomato ketchup and Mustard for our household stain dyeing experiment.

 

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use household stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best for us.

 

We sketched our designs on the bags lightly in pencil, so we had a guide to follow. 

 

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use household stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best for us.

 

Then painted on our ketchup and Mustard stains.

 

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use household stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best for us.

 

We left our designs to dry, and then covered them with a tea towel and ran over them with a hot iron.

Breath held, they were then popped into the washing machine and run on a rinse cycle to remove the mustard and ketchup.

 

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use household stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best for us.

 

Having spied the dodgy bottle of wine left on the side, we also decided to try some tie-dyeing! 

We wrapped elastic bands around the bags, and popped into the wine for a couple of hours.  Once they had steeped we rinsed them under the tap.

 

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use household stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best for us.

 

And here are our finished bags. We are really happy with how our making household stains into dye experiment turned out! 

 

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use household stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best for us.

 

The ketchup pattern isn’t as vibrant as the mustard and red wine, but still looks really pretty in the flesh.  Next time we’re going to try cocoa powder and blitzed up grass cuttings!

 

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use household stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best for us.

 

The kids had such fun trying out our household stain dyes, and it’s a great craft to have a play with without spending lots of money. For more fun dyeing ideas check out our DIY Fabric Paint Recipe, our Eco Prints post and Making Dye from Lichen tutorials.

 

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use household stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best for us. #dye #dyeing #dyefabric #kidscrafts

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40 comments

Ickle Pickle February 15, 2016 - 9:35 pm

This looks such fun – what a great idea. Fab post and directions. Kaz x

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 16, 2016 - 7:59 pm

Thanks Kaz, it’s a really fun activity to do with kids 🙂

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Idaintyit February 15, 2016 - 3:46 pm

What a fab idea! And something fun and different to do with the kids. Love this

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 16, 2016 - 8:02 pm

Thank you, my kids love doing this craft 🙂

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Jolene monaghan February 15, 2016 - 3:20 pm

what a fantastic idea.. im not crafty but i use to love tie dieing my tshirts in the early 90,s … i would love to try this with my little one x

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 16, 2016 - 8:04 pm

Any of the tutorials on our site anyone could do I promise! Let me know if you give it a go 🙂

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Mudpie Fridays February 15, 2016 - 7:38 am

I did a science experiment at school where we used vegetables to dye cloth. It was great fun I think from memory (24 years ago!!) red cabbage worked quite well as well? I think this is great idea and very educational x

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 16, 2016 - 8:08 pm

I’ve read that red cabbage is great as a dye. Lots of the things I try with the kids are inspired by hazy memories of what I did as a kid – think the one I was keenest to do with them was the owl pellets 🙂

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Laura February 14, 2016 - 5:35 pm

What a good way to pass a day with the kids. I wonder how many times you’ll be able to wash it before more of it fades?

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 16, 2016 - 8:15 pm

Oh that’s a good question. Because they are bags I only ever washed them the once. I’ll try it on a T-shirt some time and experiment 🙂

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Miranda (Anosa) February 14, 2016 - 4:59 pm

These is definitely a nice craft, using stains as dyes is an ingenious idea and I love it.

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 16, 2016 - 8:16 pm

Thank you Miranda, I was ridiculously pleased with myself when I thought it up!

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Ana De- Jesus February 14, 2016 - 2:50 pm

What a clever idea! I think this is especially useful if you have young kids because chances are their clothes will get stained daily so this is a fantastic way of utilizing those stains!

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 14, 2016 - 3:08 pm

That was the inspiration Ana 🙂 Made a change to want things to stain rather than not!

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Zoe February 14, 2016 - 12:48 pm

What a great idea! I love the way you’ve done this post – loads of great pictures and clear instructions. I might have to give this a go with my kids.

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 14, 2016 - 2:46 pm

It’s great fun Zoe, and you can use anything you have in the kitchen, so its really simple 🙂

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Emma February 14, 2016 - 11:08 am

Great idea for a rainy day, love how the mustard turned out!

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 14, 2016 - 2:49 pm

The mustard is fab isn’t it 🙂 Someone suggested beetroot which would be lovely as well – I was thinking you could cut a stamp straight into it and it’d be self inking!

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Kerry norris February 14, 2016 - 3:53 am

What a clever idea. I never would have thought to do that. The bags have come out really well x

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 14, 2016 - 2:51 pm

Thanks – I was so excited when I thought this one up and the kids had such fun messing around with it 🙂

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Nia February 13, 2016 - 5:49 pm

That’s a really fun idea, safer than actual fabric dye I bet. X

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 14, 2016 - 3:12 pm

I would imagine so Nia, I am not sure what they use in commercial dyes but I suspect it’s a pretty nasty process making it 🙂

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Leah Miller February 13, 2016 - 3:37 pm

The mustard design turned out brilliantly, we have always used fabric paint to create our own bags, but this seems like a much cheaper, and just as effective, way of doing it! It would be great to try on an old t-shirt too, try to give it some life back!

xx

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 14, 2016 - 3:15 pm

Be perfect for a T-shirt. Using stuff from the kitchen is great because its all already to hand 🙂

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Yvonne February 13, 2016 - 2:20 pm

What a great idea! I am always on the look out for safe and fun activities to do with my little ones. We may have to give this a shot. Thanks x

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 14, 2016 - 3:16 pm

My kids had such fun with this craft – they loved that they were painting stuff from the kitchen cupboards on to things 🙂

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Dean of Little Steps February 13, 2016 - 11:46 am

I do love tie dyed. Used to do this as a teen. This looks like a great project to do with my daughter, but I think I’ll save this for the summer! Easier to dry stuff outside 🙂

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Sarah - Craft Invaders February 14, 2016 - 3:17 pm

Be great fun to do this outside in the summer 🙂

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Becky @ PinksCharming October 11, 2015 - 11:15 am

What a brilliant idea – I might try to make a feature of some of the ketchup stains on my kids’ clothes instead of consigning them to the nursery clothes drawer! Thanks so much for sharing! Becky #busydoinglife

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Sarah October 11, 2015 - 1:44 pm

That’s exactly where I got the idea from – amazing how well things stain when you don’t want them too! Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

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Claire Ridewood October 9, 2015 - 8:09 pm

What a fantastic tutorial… my little ladies and I love dying things like this! Thankyou so much for sharing this with me on #busydoinglife

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Sarah October 10, 2015 - 9:18 am

We had such fun with this, and its a perfect project for the winter months when there’s less to make dyes from outside 🙂

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A Patchwork Life September 7, 2015 - 12:32 pm

This is such a fun idea! I can just imagine how much the kids enjoyed it. Beetroot sounds like a good one to try – maybe zingy spices like paprika for an orangy colour?

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Sarah September 7, 2015 - 12:46 pm

Haven’t tried the beetroot yet, but imagine it could work as a self-inking stamp, so that’s how we’ll try it when I have some that needs using up. Plan to use pickled and see if the vinegar from that works as the fixative – I’m hopeful it will. Paprika would be a lovely colour to try. Thanks for visiting x

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Coombe Mill September 7, 2015 - 12:02 pm

What a great idea, and cheaper than having to go out and buy the proper clothes dyes. I bet the kids really enjoyed decorating the bags with things you usually aren’t supposed to get on material. The Mustard sun looks amazingly vibrant, I’m sure the kids will be talking about this for a while! Thanks for linking up your stain-tastic fun on Trash 2 Treasure.

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Sarah September 7, 2015 - 12:43 pm

The kids did love this project 🙂 Thanks for having us on #Trash2Treasure

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Nikki Frank-Hamilton July 17, 2015 - 11:50 pm

This is such a cool idea! I love it. I guess my hubby would have looked at me oddly too, but what a fun thing to do with the kids. I love the yellow sun towel, so bright and fun. Have you thought about trying beet juice? Everytime we eat them something turns red, perhaps you could get a brighter red hue from it? Thanks so much for linking up, great creative idea.

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Sarah July 18, 2015 - 9:38 am

Thanks for taking the time to comment. Beet juice is a great idea. I wonder if you could cut stamp shapes into the beet itself – would be like a self-inking stamp!

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Denise/DIY Crush July 16, 2015 - 2:54 pm

This is really cool! A great way to continue to use a piece of clothing too! Found you through the link party from View From In Here! 🙂

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Sarah July 16, 2015 - 3:26 pm

Thanks for popping in and commenting – just been admiring all your sewing patterns over at diy-crush.com

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