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Natural Dye Journal Entry 2: “Avocado” Pink Natural Dye (without avocado)

Natural Dye Journal Entries are my way of documenting parts of my natural dye journey! This post will reference advanced dye topics/methods about obtaining “avocado” pink using other natural dyes, without going into detail and explaining each part for a new dyer. Do you have any questions? Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email and I will answer it to the best of my abilities! If you are a dyer and have any suggestions or corrections for me, I would also love to hear from you! (And if you are looking for beginner guides/tutorials, please check this link here!)

obtaining "avocado" pink natural dye without using avocado and using other colorfast natural dyes

“Avocado” Pink

(without avocado)

Natural Dye: “Avocado” Pink (without avocado)

Avocado pits and skins have long been hailed as a “gateway dye.” These food waste components allow a dyer to obtain beautiful hues ranging from peach to tan to pink in color with relative colorfastness due to their high levels of tannin. If it wasn’t for my own experiments with avocados, I probably wouldn’t be a natural dyer!

The trouble with using avocado pits and skin for pink is that no matter the mordant or modifiers used, in time, it will shift and fade to a light, tan color. For this reason, it must be considered a fugitive dye. Nevertheless, I have always loved the dusty pink that avocado gives, so I was determined to recreate it with tried and true dyes that won’t shift and fade. I decided to use a combination of Cutch and Cochineal for this experiment.

Note: Cutch is usually recommended to be used at 20% WOF and Cochineal is usually recommended to be used at 10% WOF (per Botanical Colors.) I wanted a lighter color; so I used 25% of what is usually used from each dye.

“Avocado” Pink (without avocado) Notes

DYE FORM:
Cutch Extract
Cochineal Whole Insects (Ground)
SCOUR METHOD:
Soda Ash + Detergent @ 1% WOF each
DYE SOURCE:
Cutch: Botanical Colors
Cochineal: The Woolery
MORDANT/MODIFIER:
– Tannin (Tara Powder) @ 5% WOF
– Aluminum Acetate @ 10% WOF
– Calcium Carb (Post mordant bath) @ 5% WOF
WEIGHT OF FIBER:
200 grams of fiber
Cutch @ 5% WOF = 10 grams
Cochineal @ 2.5% = 5 grams
TYPE OF FIBER:
200 grams of cellulose velour (primary dye bath)
1 yard of quilting cotton (exhaust dye bath)
PROCEDURE:

(Cutch Extraction)
The cutch was wetted out in warm water overnight.

(Cochineal Extraction)
The cochineal was ground in a mortar and pedstle and then wrapped in cheese cloth. It was extracted in boiling water for 10-15 min. This process was repeated 3-4x in fresh water to fully extract the color from the insects.

(Dye Process)
The cellulose velour was wetted out in room temperature water overnight. The dye extractions of cutch and cochineal were added to a large pot and topped off with enough tap water to allow the fabric to freely float.

The velour was added to the pot and the induction stove’s temperature was set to 200*F for 1 hour. The fabric was stirred often to promote even dye uptake. After one hour, the excess dye was wrung out in the drain/spin cycle of a washing machine and then the fabric was immediately rinsed/washed with detergent. I would usually wait longer to rinse/wash but the color was already darker than I had anticipated.

(Exhaust Bath)
Quilting Cotton was added to the exhaust bath after being bundled in a scrunch pattern. I did not keep record of this process; however, the color ended up much closer to the original avocado pit/skin dye color (see images below.)
SOURCES FOR PROCEDURE:
(Extraction Methods)
Botanical Color’s Website

Do you like how I documented this dye journal entry?

Get your own paper dye journal printable in my Cultivating Creativity publication!

OUTCOME

IMPRESSIONS

I’m so happy with the color’s I’ve obtained with cutch + cochineal in both the original and the exhaust bath for duplicating the avocado pink color. The exhaust bath may be a truer color due to the fact that I’ve never achieved such a deep, deep color from avocado as the velour’s dye job.

Compare the images below:

[left: avocado dye with a soy binder]

[right: exhaust bath from this post with a tannin/alum mordant]

NEXT TIME

I plan to experiment with lower WOF percentages in the future to mimic the effects of the exhaust bath. I would also like to adjust the ratios to have a higher cutch to cochineal ratio to attempt to duplicate avocado pit/skin’s more peach tones that occur at a lower ph.

You can shop pink-dyed fabrics below…

obtaining "avocado" pink natural dye without using avocado and using other colorfast natural dyes

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