saladaeng 22 August 2020
Sustainable Living:  Steps for Natural  Tie  Dyeing  with Food  Waste  by  Lalina  Co.

Give your old fabrics a new life through natural tie-dyeing! Simply save food scraps like onions, beets, spinach, and much more. You can create beautiful colors with a few simple steps.   

Learn how you can make your own natural dyes. Nina, the owner of  Lalina Co., guides  us how to tie-dye clothing using food waste from  our homes. Nina explains that there’s no need to throw out coffee grounds or avocado skins because you can put them to good use!  This easy, step-by-step guide is also the perfect activity to  do  with  your  children.  

Lalina & Co. is a Bangkok-based textile design studio which specializes in sustainably repurposing fabric. They explore new ways to recycle waste and apply it to their creation process to make meaningful fabrics that have a low impact upon our Earth.  


Materials Needed:   

-Food Waste  



-Salt Water  

-Pot  Water   

-Stove  Bucket   

-Strainer  Tongs   

-Rubber Bands or Twine  


 Are you ready to  make something beautiful and inexpensive while reducing food waste?  Let's get started! 

Step1: In a pot, simmer 1-part water with 1-part food waste for 30 minutes or until the water changes into your preferred color tone.  Remove the pot from the heat. Let the mixture steep overnight.    

Step2: Fold your fabric and secure it with rubber bands or string. Get creative with tying and folding. This creates the pattern! You can research various folding techniques such as Ombre, Stripes, Folding, Spider, Bullseye, Sunburst, and so much more. We used an easy accordion fold. What pattern will you choose? 


*When dyeing with organic ingredients, use natural fabrics such as cotton, silk, linen, and wool to get the best results. Cloth made from 90% or more natural fibers provides the best color pay-off. In this case, we are using a 100% cotton tee. 


Step3: Make your mordant or dye fixative. Alum (hydrated potassium aluminium sulfate) can be sourced online or at a supermarket. It is often used in canning and preserving.  Alum is a popular mordant used in natural dyeing because you can dye and mordant at the same time. The salt acts as a catalyst which quickly drives the dye into fabric.  

Portions:  1 cup salt  1 tablespoon aluminum acetate powder  1.5 gallons of water      

Step4: Leave the fabric in the mordant for 15 minutes.  


Step5: After your mixture has steeped overnight, you can strain out the organic materials and use it as compost. This is a great way to maintain a Zero Waste mindset. Wow - What color do you see? Now, pour the dye into a pot. Let is simmer for 15 minutes, then remove it from the heat.    

Step6: Transfer your fabric from the mordant bucket into the dye pot. Soak your fabric until it has reached your desired color tone. The longer you leave it in the dye bath, the darker the color will get. 

Step7: Use your own visual judgement. Remove the fabric when it is a few shades darker than your ideal outcome, as the final color will become slightly lighter. Squeeze out the water and remove the rubber bands. As an optional final step, you can dip the fabric in mordant once more to help lock in the color.   

Ta-Da! Now, you can see your vibrant color and tie-dye pattern. Do you prefer a soft, light color or a rich, dark hue? No matter what you like, there is something magical about using organic ingredients to make your own dyes. Your naturally dyed fabric needs just the right care. Wash it with mild detergent and dry it in shade. Just as in nature, nothing is completely permanent, especially in this biodegradable process. If the color fades, simply repeat these steps to refresh it.   


Let the tie-dyeing fun begin!