How to Dye With Elderberries

eHow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Vinegar

  • Pot

  • Large bowl or bucket

The elderberry plant bears edible dark purple berries thought to have many healing properties. When combined with vinegar, the berries make a non-toxic, fade-proof, colorfast dye for clothing or yarn. Depending on how many berries you use, elderberry dye can transform white fabric to a light pink, lavender or deep purple shade. If using the berries for jam, pie or other recipes, you can reserve the leaves to make a yellow or green dye, or the bark for a gray dye.

Advertisement

Step 1

Boil vinegar in a large pot and add elderberries. Add more or fewer berries depending on how dark you want the dye. Use either white or apple cider vinegar – the latter choice will obviously tint the dye a reddish-brown shade.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Crush the berries to release more juice for a darker dye, or leave them intact for a lighter shade. Wait for the berry and vinegar mix to come to a boil and remove from heat.

Advertisement

Step 3

Immediately transfer the berry solution to a large bowl or bucket. Submerge the clothing or yarn you'd like to dye so it is completely covered. Allow it to sit overnight.

Advertisement

Step 4

Hang the dyed fabric on a clothesline or place it on a drying rack and allow it to dry completely before wearing or using.

Tip

Use the same recipe and methods to make dye from elderberry leaves or bark.

Advertisement

Advertisement

references

Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...