DIY Dyeing Yarn 🧶 & Cloth With Natural 🌿🌾🫐 Materials

While, it is true that you get predictable, bright colors when using chemical dyes, most only have one dye compound and can look “flat” compared to the richness and complexity that nature’s dyes provide due to the many compounds in the dyes. Colors from natural plant and animal materials have a subtlety, rarely achieved with chemical dyes. Seldom will you get that same exact results twice. Therefore, dye all the material of the same color in one dye bath.

  • Enamel or stainless steel pots
  • A wooden dowel for each color or one glass rod
  • Rubber gloves
  • Cheesecloth or a fine strainer
  • A scale (postage works well)
  • Measuring spoons and cups that you will use only for dyeing


Gather your berries when they are ripe, your flowers when they first bloom, and your leaves and bark in spring. Some of the other items you may have already in the kitchen, such as the coffee. The rest you can find at the grocery store, botanical nurseries, and weaving shops. Materials should be air dried and stored in paper bags if not used right away and the berries can be frozen.

Below is a list of natural materials that have been tested and work well with the mordants listed along with them. You can try other materials but some do not work as well as others or at all for that matter.


  • Goldenrod flowers (Chrome)
  • Marigold flowers (Alum)
  • Turmeric (Chrome)
  • White onion skins (Alum)
  • Madder (Tin)
  • Giant Coreopsis flowers (Alum)
  • Turmeric (Tin)
  • Yellow onion skins (Alum)
  • Pokeberries (Alum)
  • Wild grapes (Chrome)
  • Red onion skins (Alum)
  • Cochineal (Chrome)
  • Cochineal (Alum)
  • Avocado pits and skins (Alum)
  • Beet roots (Alum)
  • Elderberries (Alum)
  • Ladies Bedstraw (Alum)
  • Tobacco (Alum)
  • Orange Pekoe tea (no mordant needed)
  • Coffee (no mordant needed)
  • Goldenrod stalks & head (Iron)
  • Queen Anne’s Lace stalks & head (Chrome)
  • Rhododendron leaves (Iron)
  • Logwood (Iron)
  • Cornflower petals (Alum)
  • Indigo (Alum)
  • Bilberry (Iron)
  • Black walnut hulls (Alum & Iron)
  • Oak bark & acorns (no mordant needed)
  • Seaweed (Alum) grayish color


Most of the time you will need dye fixatives or mordants. The word, mordant, means “to bite”. They are chemical substances that help fix the dye into the material.

There are some materials that can be used as dyes without a mordant, such as coffee, and most lichens, however, most dyes will fade without using a mordant or will not set at all.

They can be found at weaving shops or chemical suppliers. They can also be found in nature. Wood ash can be used as alum. The same dyestuffs used with different mordants will produce different colors. There are other fixatives that can be used, such as ammonia, but below are the most common used mordants along with their chemical name and the amount to use per ounce of yarn or cloth.

  • Alum (Potassium aluminum sulfate) 3/4 teaspoonful per ounce of yarn/cloth
  • Chrome (Potassium dichromate) 1/16 teaspoonful per ounce of yarn/cloth
  • Iron copperas (Ferrous sulfate) 1/16 teaspoonful per ounce of yarn/cloth
  • Tin (Stannous chloride) 1/16 teaspoonful per ounce of yarn/cloth




For every ounce of cloth or yarn that is being dyed, you will need:

  • 1/2 ounce of spices, teas, or coffee
  • 1 ounce of leaves, flowers, or berries
  • 2-3 ounces of bark

First, crush up dyestuffs. Then, place the dyestuffs, tied in a cheesecloth, or loose in the pan, and barely cover with water. Hard water can cause different results and it’s recommended to use vinegar or a water softener. Soaking times vary. Soak flowers and berries overnight, stems and leaves for 3 days, bark and woody parts for a 7 days, and walnut hulls for 30 days.

After soaking period has passed, bring the soaked materials to a rolling boil. Boil for 30 minutes or more, until you reach desired color. Keep in mind that it will look darker in the liquid than on your yarn or cloth. Next, remove the dyestuffs, or if it is loose, strain it with your cheesecloth or fine strainer. You will need to measure your concentrate because you need to add enough water to concentrate to make a quart for every ounce of yarn or cloth that you are dyeing. Finally, dissolve the mordant or fixative in 1/2 cup of water, and add it to the dye-bath.


When using yarn it is recommended that it be in a skein. Wool yarn is different and must pre-washed and rinsed in warm water baths until it is the same temperature as the dye-bath.

Squeeze out the rest of the extra water from the yarn / cloth and place in the dye-bath all at once.

Slowly increase the temperature until it is barely simmering; BEING CAREFUL NOT TO BOIL.

Keep simmering for 30 or more minutes until the color in the bath has been exhausted or the yarn / cloth has reached the desired depth of color.

Remove your yarn / cloth and rinse it in cool water baths, using cooler water each time, until the water is clean.

Hang the yarn / cloth to dry out in the sun where it will get heat, rotating it occasionally.

Once it has dried, your amazing new colorful yarn / cloth is done!

Fair Use Disclaimer: Fair Use in accordance of Section 107 Copyright Act
No copyright infringement intended.

Readers Digest publication 1979 Crafts and Hobbies

How to Make Amazingly Easy DIY Sensory / Galaxy / Calm Bottles

I know there are LOTS of different recipes and articles out there about these spectacular calming bottles, but I’m going to share my super easy peasy recipe and a couple of tips too for if your glitter clumps. ✨

Item list

  • Clear corn syrup – any clear corn syrup brand is fine, a 16 oz bottle will make two standard (16.9 ozs) size water bottle Sensory/Galaxy bottles, it’s half corn syrup to water, whichever size bottles you decide on.
  • A standard size water bottle – 16.9 ozs or two if you want to make 2 sensory/ galaxy bottles
  • Clear glue- just a little – teaspoonful (it’s optional- they will great with or without it- I add it to mine because it seems to add to effect slightly)
  • Glitter ✨ food coloring and/or whatever else you want to add to your bottles
  • Water 💦 – I used purified water, I’m not sure if tap water will change effect but I doubt it. Let me know if it doesn’t work well please! 🙏
  • Hot glue with a hot glue gun – it’s what I used and it worked well and dries very quickly with a secure bond. You can try other glues but I can’t ensure they’ll work as well.

Now, that you have the materials you need, it’s time to make your awesome bottles.

  1. Clean and dry the bottles that you were going to use.
  2. Fill the bottles halfway full with your corn syrup.
  3. Add your glitter and your food coloring and whatever else you may want to use.
  4. Add a little clear glue. About a teaspoon. Remember, this is completely optional. It will still look great without it.
  5. Fill the rest of your bottle up with your water.
  6. Put your lid on and shake vigorously.
  7. If your glitter is clumping, no need to worry, just turn on the hot water on your sink, turn the bottle on its side and run the water over your bottle while turning it until you see the glitter start to separate. This may take a few minutes. Just keep doing it, it will work.
  8. If you want to add more glitter or whatever else you want to use, do it now, before you seal the cap.
  9. Once, you’re happy with your finished bottle, dry off the top and cap, heat up your hot glue gun, and put a dab inside the cap, be careful not to burn yourself, and quickly turn the cap until it seals shut. Let it dry according to the glue’s recommended dry time, that you used. Hot glue dries very quickly.
  10. All that is left is staring at those beautiful, calming bottles.