Nature provides us with so many resources to create beautiful materials and colours. I love working with something that is normally considered to be waste, such as the pits of avocados. Surprisingly, they create a lovely soft pink shade.
Natural dye works best on natural fibres, such as cotton, linen, wool and silk. The breathing masks that I have dyed are made of 100% cotton. I saved up avocado pits for a few weeks to have enough to make avocado dye. I love that these pits, that would normally become waste right away, hold a secret colour inside them.
I followed the process below to create a soft pink shade, but it is possible to experiment for different results. It is possible to pre-treat fabrics with mordant, change the quantities of water and ingredients or change the time spent heating the dye. Different materials also produce different results.
Step 1: Pre-wash your materials with a bit of soft detergent.
Step 2: Create your dye. Boil water in a pot large enough for your project. I used about 2 litres. Add 8 clean avocado pits and let simmer for a couple of hours until the dye turns into a deep enough colour.
Check regularly to see how the colour is progressing.
Step 3: Turn off the heat and remove the pits and any debris. A clean dye batch helps to achieve an even colour.
Step 4: Add the fabrics, or in this case masks to the dye.
Step 5: Leave it in for an hour to several hours. I was going for a soft pink shade, so I left it in for about an hour.
It helps to have an extra piece of the same material that you want to dye. You can take it out and rinse to get an idea of the result.
Step 6: Rinse and hang out to dry. When the material is still wet, colours appear darker than they really are.
Step 7: Wash with a soft detergent. I did this to get all the dye out and to achieve an even result.
The masks that I dyed with the avocado dye are made in Italy in a family-run atelier. This atelier is producing masks to contribute to stopping the spread of the virus and at the same time help their business to survive. I am helping them to sell their masks in Belgium and The Netherlands (and beyond). They are €7,50 per mask and come with 3 extra filters. B2B packages are also available.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to order a mask.