How to Make and Use Natural Blueberry Dye

Those who enjoy making tie-dyed shirts and other dyed crafts and clothing should try using natural dye instead of using store-bought dye that contains artificial colors and chemicals. Centuries ago, natural dye made from plants, roots, and other natural products were used regularly, and the colors were intense and vibrant. If you want to dye fabric a rich shade of mauve, consider using blueberries. Make natural blueberry dye to color muslin, cotton, or any other fabric that will absorb pigment. The color will be far more impressive and intense than color produced by artificial dye.

Necessary Supplies

To make natural blueberry dye you will need a large kettle, 8 cups of water, 2 cups of blueberries, a strainer, a plastic or glass container to hold the natural dye and the fabric, a clean bucket of ice water, and a potato masher. You will also need a clothesline if you want to dry and set the color naturally, but a clothes dryer can be used. Increase or decrease the amount of blueberries and the amount of water to make the color darker or lighter. Use a scrap piece of fabric to achieve the intensity of the color you desire before dying the finished product.


Begin by mashing the blueberries in the water while bringing the mixture to a boil. The more the berries are mashed, the more intense the color will be. Once the mixture comes to a boil, allow it to simmer for several minutes. Simmering the blueberries will also bring out more of the natural pigment.

The next step is to strain the hot mixture to remove the skins, seeds, and blueberry pulp. A wire mess strainer or a large piece of cheesecloth works well, as long as you don’t mind purple cheesecloth. If cheesecloth is used, tie it snuggly over the dyeing container, and allow a little slack to hold the skins, seeds, and pulp. Use caution around the steam, and have the fabric ready to dye in the hot liquid.

While the natural dye is still hot, submerse the fabric, and allow it to remain in the natural blueberry dye for at least 15 minutes for the richest, deepest color. Once the color you want is achieved, transfer the dyed material to the bucket of ice water. The ice water will set the color.

After the fabric has soaked in the ice water for several minutes, thoroughly ring it out, and allow it to line dry in the sun. If natural line drying isn’t possible, toss the freshly dyed fabric into the dryer. The natural heat of the sun or the dryer will also help set the color.

Many other natural substances can be used to make natural dye. Consider trying tea leaves, cherries, and rose petals. Once you make something with natural dye, you will want to use natural dye instead of every buying commercial chemical products. The colors are vivid and exceptionally beautiful. The colors of nature are the most beautiful colors of all.

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