How to Make Household Stains Into Dye

Craft Invaders
by Craft Invaders

I have to admit my husband looked less than convinced when I excitedly tried to explain, this, my latest crafty light-bulb moment. “Why on earth would you want to put stains on something” he said, “surely people mostly try and remove them?”.

Fortunately my kids were far more impressed by my creativity, and we spent a fun afternoon testing out my theory. Turns out you can make household stains into dye!

How to Make Household Stains into Dye

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Make your own dye with this ketchup and mustard that Amazon reviewers swear by!

We used natural cotton bags, and prepared them by simmering them in a fixative (1 part vinegar to 4 parts water) for about an hour. Having scoured the cupboard, we decided to try tomato ketchup and Mustard for our household stain dyeing experiment.

We sketched our designs on the bags lightly in pencil, so we had a guide to follow.

Then painted on our ketchup and Mustard stains.

We left our designs to dry, and then covered them with a tea towel and ran over them with a hot iron.

Breath held, they were then popped into the washing machine and run on a rinse cycle to remove the mustard and ketchup.

Having spied the dodgy bottle of wine left on the side, we also decided to try some tie-dyeing!

We wrapped elastic bands around the bags, and popped into the wine for a couple of hours. Once they had steeped we rinsed them under the tap.

And here are our finished bags. We are really happy with how our making household stains into dye experiment turned out!

The ketchup pattern isn’t as vibrant as the mustard and red wine, but still looks really pretty in the flesh. Next time we’re going to try cocoa powder and blitzed up grass cuttings!

The kids had such fun trying out our household stain dyes, and it’s a great craft to have a play with without spending lots of money. For more fun dyeing ideas check out our DIY Fabric Paint Recipe, our Eco Prints post and Making Dye from Lichen tutorials.

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2 of 48 comments
  • John John on Apr 13, 2023

    I like to steep stained kitchen items in tea.

  • Ann Dames Ann Dames on Feb 19, 2024

    You can get a nice golden yellow dye by steeling onion skins in some boiling water.