Batik: Using Natural Dye from Avocado

I have a thing for fabric. It’s a love affair really that started years ago when thrifting and yard sale hopping with my mom. She collected dollies and vintage handkerchiefs which eventually became the adornment of a handmade pillow.

My affair with fabric took hold when I had my own home to decorate.

I’ve collected paper thin linen, antique napkins with initials stitched on the corners, embroidered dish towels edged in lace that I turned into kitchen curtains and runners woven together with fiber and metal. I love to layer with fabrics and patterns of different hues and patterns. (I really could go on about it!)

Recently, a friend posted a project she did with her kids. She did a kid friendly version of batik using glue. I have always wanted to batik fabric! Batik is an Indonesian art form, using wax and dye to leave patterns on fabric.

Now, being the foodie that I am, I’ve also been looking for a reason to create natural dyes using food products, especially using Avocados from Mexico.

After a bit of research, I discovered that Avocados from Mexico, produce a subtle peachy pink color once you’ve boiled down the skins and seeds. To think, you take a fruit known for it’s green color and with a little love, you can produce a gorgeous pink hue from it’s skin and seed!

So, this morning, after a cup of coffee I set about cutting up,

and scooping out the flesh of 4 avocados.

I filled a large pan with water, the skins and seeds of the avocados and brought it all to a boil.

I let it boil for about 5 minutes then reduced to a simmer for another 10. I turned the stove off…

and ran to Target to purchase my favorite flour sack dish towels ($3.99 for a set of 4). 

At first, I thought I’d follow my friend, Pear Mama and do the glue resist batik, but…

realized, it would take all day for the glue to dry. Being impatient and without kids for the day, I dug into my candle drawer and found an old beeswax candle. With a saucepan of water and an old tin can, the candle quickly melted down into batik worthy wax.

I took three different size biscuit cutters and with a pair of tongs and a layer of wax paper (to protect my counter) I proceeded to dip the cutters in the hot wax and create a pattern on the dish towels.

I decided on using a repeating pattern of 6 rings to create a flower.

Once the wax had dried (it only took a few minutes) I added a 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the strained avocado dye and soaked the dish towel for about 1/2 hour.

I hung the dish towel outside on my back porch (you don’t want to use your dryer as it will melt the wax) to dry. I set up my ironing board, iron (on high) and cut a few pieces of craft paper. (You want a layer of craft paper under the dish towel and on top of the dish towel.) Once the towel was dried, I put it between the craft paper (I had dollar store printed craft paper on hand) and began to iron. The wax adhered to the paper.

It took a few times to get all the wax off the dish towel, but once it was done, my batik dish towels revealed themselves!

With Mother’s Day coming up, wouldn’t this make a great gift?! I totally picture it on a breakfast tray next to a set of mix matched vintage plates and heirloom silverware. Again, it comes back to pattern and textures!

Because I had so much fun hand dying dish towels from avocado seeds and skins, I thought you might too! Today we are Giving Away a gift basket valued at $50 from Avocados from Mexico. The prize pack will include: a copy of Chef Roberto Santibañez’ cookbook, Truly Mexican; an “I <3 Avocado” t-shirt; a time-saving avocado slicer; and a $10 gift card to an area retailer where Avocados from Mexico are sold.

Our winner has been chosen!

 Congratulations to Kamille @ Redeeming the Table!  You won the gift basket from Avocados from Mexico! 


There are two ways to win:   This giveaway has closed.

1. Pin one of the photos to your Pinterest Board. (Make sure you come back here and leave a link to your pin!)

2. Leave a comment telling us your favorite way to enjoy avocados OR a favorite memory you share with your mom.

*The contest is open to US citizens and will close on April 7, 2013. 

*This is a sponsored post from One2One Network and Avocados from Mexico. But creative expression and execution are all my own.

Join the Conversation!

  1. My favorite way to enjoy avocados is straight from the skin, or in guacamole!

  2. I pinned it. What a great idea

  3. I used to have Avocado Trees in my back yard growing in LA. We not only would eat them but I would use the leaves during my pretend play. I would pretend I had a restaurant and the leaves were the tortillas for my sand tacos.

  4. Love it!!! I love the idea of Mother’s Day gifts. You should still try the glue resist with your kids–so fun!

  5. Carrie H says:

    Guacamole and chips

  6. I’ll share a memory about my mom WITH avocados… or more truthfully, a fact. She grew up in southern California yet hates avocados. More for me!

  7. Hey ladies–I’m cool like that when I pin this before realizing it’s a giveaway option, because this is my kind of DIY project. LOVE!!

  8. My other chance is avocados and me go way back. In fact, I tend to doubt someone’s food credibility when they say they don’t like avocados. My dad would toast whole wheat bread, spread mayonnaise on it and ground pepper (liberally) and slices of avocado for us to eat. One of my most favorites!

  9. Nancy Carr says:
  10. Nancy Carr says:

    I love avacado on top of a salad.

  11. I pinned this:

    I’m wondering how the dye holds up to regular washing. Natural dyes often fade more quickly than commercial/chemical types, and with an item that gets washed as much dish towels (at least in my house) it seems like it might fade quickly. I guess that means you can just do another layer of batik and dying over the faded one though, and get a richer set of textures that way.

    • Kristin says:

      I just washed them in cold water. They faded a bit, but to a yummy soft color. I did another batch of dish towels in turmeric and the color held up a bit better.

  12. My favorite way to eat avocados is as chocolate pudding. Just blend an avocado with a handful of melted chocolate chips, done.

  13. I pinned your beautiful finished product:

  14. My favorite way to enjoy avocados is to sneak-eat pieces of them when I’m cutting them up to use in salads or guacamole! I always have to buy too many to account for the parts that “go missing.” LOL

  15. What made the difference in the bright yellow towel and the tan one?


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