Natural Dyeing with Red Onion Skins

Recently I did some natural dyeing with yellow onion skins. After that successful dyeing test I decided to do it again with red skins to see what happens. 

Again I started out with a big pot on the stove with a couple of inches of water in it, a few fabric swatches, the skin of three onions and a pair of tongs. 

I put the skins in the water and brought it to a boil. I then let it simmer for about 20 minutes before throwing the fabric swatches in. 

The skins made the water a beautiful red wine color. 

I left the onion skins in the water with the swatches just to see what would happen. Most recipes suggest taking the dye stuffs out of the water before putting in your material to by dyed but this was a small test and I didn't think leaving the skins in would have negative effect and I was too lazy to fish them all out.

 The first swatch I took out after an hour. Then another after four hours, eight hours, 12 hours and then 24. 

 Red onion skins create a rich reddish brown.

Red onion skins create a rich reddish brown.

As you can see there is a fairly large jump in color from one hour to four hours. After that the color didn't seem to intensify that much. 

 A hint of purple comes through in this color as well.

A hint of purple comes through in this color as well.

There was not even a noticeable difference between four hours and 24 hours. I really like this color and am already making plans to dye a couple yards of fabric and make a blouse. I will probably leave the fabric in the pot for anywhere between four and eight hours. One of the nice things about dyeing is that you do a little work at the beginning and then you can wander off and do something else while the dye does it work. 

I did not have to use a mordant with the onion skins because they have a naturally high level of tannins which act as a mordant. That makes this one of the easiest natural dye colors to do at home- that and almost everyone eats onions. I wonder what a mixture of yellow and red onion skills would look like.... there is always something new to try.