Black Bean Dye

What you’ll need:

Dry Black Beans ( about 3 cups)


Baking Soda

Cotton Cloth

Rubber bands

Rubber gloves

Dye pots (make sure this is a pot you use ONLY for dyes)


Begin by filling up the dye pot with black beans and water. Fill it up about two inches above the beans and add (i think) one tablespoon of baking soda as well. This is to help the beans soften. Let it sit for 24 hours.


During the 24 hours, also begin soaking the fabric in water and alum (around 1 tablespoon). The alum acts as a mordant so the dye form the black beans will stay on the fabric better.

When the 24 hours are up, empty the liquid from the pot with the cloth. This is now when you should tie or bind your cloth. When you are done place the cloth back into the pot.

Now drain the bean water into the pot with the cloth, so now it is filled with a blackish looking liquid. If the cloth isn’t completely covered and a little water until it is. You are going to soak the cloth for 24 more hours!

As for the beans, cook them up and have them for dinner!


After soaking for 48 hours, things may start to get a little stinky. Remove the cloth and unbind your cloth!

fullsizeoutput_1905This is the best part, seeing this creation that has been brewing, unfold before your eyes! Let the fabric dry and then rinse and wash.

The color from black beans will vary between blues and greens. Mine came out a greenish gray color.

This was my first time trying out a shibori method of folding fabric to dye. I folded it while it was still dry, so that is why mine came out with a lot more white then expected. Next time I will fold it after it has soaked. Art is always an experiment!

IMG_2222Check out other dye inspiration here


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