How to Make Natural Marigold Dye

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Things You'll Need

  • Marigold flowers

  • Cotton fabric or wool yarn

  • Alum

  • Kettle or stockpot

  • Strainer

  • Wooden spoon

  • Newspapers

  • Rubber gloves

Make Natural Marigold Dye

Marigold dye can range in color from a brilliant, sunny yellow to a deep crimson, depending on the color of the flower. It is one of the easiest natural dyes to make, using just a couple of ingredients and taking only a few hours. The dye works well on all types of fabrics, including silk, cotton, wool and yarn.


Step 1

Spread newspapers on your work area.

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Step 2

Fill a large kettle ½ full with water. Add 6 tbsp. of alum to the water. Stir. Place the kettle on the stove.

Step 3

Add 1 lb. of cotton fabric or wool yarn to the water and heat the water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Remove the fabric from the kettle and wring out any excess water. Refill the kettle with water and reheat until the water is boiling. (This step removes any sizing that may be in the fabric or yarn; if you're using homespun wool, you can skip this step.)


Step 4

Pour 2 lbs. of fresh, dried or frozen marigold flowers into the boiling water. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour.

Step 5

Strain the flowers from the water in the kettle. Add the fabric or yarn to the kettle and simmer for 1 hour at minimum, stirring occasionally.

Step 6

Remove the fabric or yarn from the kettle and rinse a few times in cold water until the water runs clear. Hang the fabric or yarn to dry.


Marigold dye can smell rather strong. Work in a well-ventilated area--or better yet, have the dye session outside.

The longer you dye the fabric or yarn, the deeper the color will become.

You can freeze fresh marigold flowers to use in later dye sessions. Simply place the flowers in 1-gallon freezer bags and tuck them away in the back of the freezer. When it's time to use the flowers, just add them to the dye pot as you would fresh flowers.


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