Dyeing Yarn With Black Beans

Here comes another experiment in my Natural Dyeing Series. Did you know that you can dye fabric and yarn with food? Before the invention of synthetic dyes, people dyed all of their fabrics and yarn with natural things like tea, onion skins, red cabbage and other plant materials.
This time, I dyed some cotton yarn and an alpaca/merino blended yarn with good ole black beans. Did I get black yarn? Nope. Blue and green. Weird, huh?
Full Step by step instructions are available at FiberArtsy.com. Just follow the link below.
I was curious to see how the different materials would take the color from the black beans. In my research, I found that cotton is more difficult to dye with natural materials than protein (animal) fibers. This turned out to be true as the cotton yarn came out a much lighter blue than the alpaca/merino blended yarn.
–Light colored Yarn (not synthetic)
–Alum (Mordant)
-Dry Black Beans (16 oz)
-Large pot for soaking the beans
-Large pot for mordanting the yarn (no longer safe for food prep)
-Jars or Bowls
Here are my results from dyeing with just black beans and dyeing with black beans and baking soda added. This changes the PH factor or acidity and the color of the dye liquid.
1. Undyed, white cotton yarn
2. White, cotton yarn dyed with black beans
3. Alpaca/Merino yarn dyed with black beans
4. Alpaca/Merino yarn dyed with black beans and added baking soda
5. Undyed, Alpaca/Merino yarn
This is one of the easiest ways to dye yarn. Simply soak.
Step by step tutorial available at FiberArtsy.com (see link below)
Check out my other natural dyeing experiments:
Dyeing with Black Walnuts
Dyeing Yarn with Dandelions

Suggested materials:

  • Yarn
  • Black Beans
  • Alum (Mordant)
See all materials

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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