Tutorials for dying with pre-compost food scraps

If you are looking for an easy stay at home project that will add color to your everyday surroundings.  I will be providing tutorials for dying with pre-compost food scraps. The first two will be yellow onion skins from several onions and avocado pits and skins from 6-10 avocados. You can start saving them. Both give good color, onion skins dyes yellow–orange and avocado pink to coral and caramel. They require minimal equipment and preparation.

You can get the materials ready….

Yellow onion skin: save the outer skins, ask to collect them from the onion bin at the grocery store, or have your neighbor leave some in their driveway.

Avocado pits and skins: when you make guacamole or use avocado in salads, scrub, rinsed  and save the pits and skins. They can be left to dry.

What do you want to dye? Maybe a favorite shirt or tank top that has gotten a bit drab. Or maybe a 22” square bandana like the ones you have seen the TV announcers wear and can be pulled up for a mask, or maybe napkins or a pillow case. I have been using organic cotton bandanas and napkins. Whatever you decide make sure it is very clean.

What equipment will you need:

A stainless steel pot, I have an old designated stock pot that I use only for dying. It needs to be large enough for your fabric can be moved around.

You will also need a stir stick, dowel, or utensil..  again designated for dying and not used for cooking.

The first tutorial will be onion skins and the second avocados.

If you have questions email me


Tutorial #1  Onion Skin dying..






The pots you use should be large enough for the material to move freely as you stir.

I choose an organic cotton bandanna that I can also use as a face mask.

If you have questions email me




Getting Ready (#2)


Yellow Onion skins…. I used a yogart container full filled with onion skins for this project.

Large stainless steel ( SS) pot (not used for cooking) for the fabric dye bath and a another

SS pot  for cooking the onion skins.

Fabric to dye … Cotton or linen.. very clean.. examples.. t-shirt, tank top, light weight blouse, bandanna, napkins, etc. I am using an organic cotton bandanna that I can use for a mask. (#1)

Strainer with coffee filters





Let’s get started


Soak the fabric you will be dying in water, it needs to be thoroughly wetted.

Put onion skins in a stainless steel pot, cover with water and simmer (not boil) for :45. (#3)


Strain skins in a strainer with coffee filters to separate the skins from the dye liquid. (#4)



-Put dye liquid in to SS pot large enough to hold the fabric you plan to dye and add more water.

Add wetted fabric and heat to simmer, holding for :45-:60 and stirring frequently. (#5, #6)















Turn off heat and let cool a bit

Carefully remove and rinse the hot fiber in cool water.

Wash in gentle soap, rinse, dry and iron if needed.



Happy Heart Hunt – Sending love into the world during this difficult time!


Create at home!  Here are some of Kate Douglas’ favorite art videos. 

BobBlast – Quick and Simple Figure Drawing

“This sounded weird until I tried it.  It is truly fun!!!”

Dan Tirels – Monoprinting with Plastic Bags and Eggshells

No oil paint? Use black acrylic paint with a tiny bit of Dawn soap. Paint the plastic bag just before you need it.  I loved this technique!”

Kasey Golden – 500 Drawing Prompts

You can make your own book-or use one you already have. Get the prompts from this site.  Fun ideas. Consider how the artist “interpreted” the prompts”

The Virtual Instructor – Free Art Lessons during the Pandemic

Skill Share

“This site has a wide variety of activities in many areas. It is not just visual art. The entries are good. And you can find many things to do in your ‘spare time’”

Carolyn Dube – A Colorful Journey

“She stresses playing with color. Good for beginner and beyond”

Kasia Avery – Mixed Media Mini Prayer Flags

I’ve made these using this video and given to friends who were ill or going through tough times. Spiritual, not necessarily religious”

Fluffy Hedgehog – How to Make Stamps at Home

Made by Marzipan – Artist Trading Cards for Beginners


Museum Tours: 

Tour of the Louvre 

Minneapolis Institute of Art Collections

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Van Gogh Museum

Google Arts & Culture