Dyeing with onion skins

I have been collecting onion skins for ages now, for dyeing, and I decided the other day that I was sick of the sight of them hanging round.  So I mordanted some pencil roving and some fibre in alum (the pencil roving had previously been dyed with indigo but was fairly pale and patchy).

This is what it looked like all pristine and white:

white pencil roving

This is it indigo dyed:

indigo dyed pencil roving

I boiled up the onion skins for about 45 minutes and extracted the dye and then simmered the roving in it.  Haven’t got any photos of that stage but here is some silk which I did in the exhaust dye.

silk simmering in onion skin dyestuff

Now it’s hanging on the line:

onion skin dyed rovings on line

close up of onion skin dyed roving

Here’s the fibre I dyed, drying on some newspaper:

onion skin dyed fibre

And here is a photo of the silk – it is actually a deeper colour than that.

onion skin dyed silk

8 Replies to “Dyeing with onion skins”

  1. Lovely colours you got with the onion skins … like the indigo dyed results too. Wish I had space to give this type of thing a go … 🙁

  2. I have to say this has brought back some memories…. My mother would boil egges with onion skins to get an interesting Easter Egg – we would first use wax to draw a design.

  3. LOL, Liz. I once asked the supermarket if I could have their waste skins. The collection filled my boot. The car smelled of onions for ages. Lovely colours, though.

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