How to Dye Moss

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Things You'll Need

  • Fiber active dye (also known as cool water dye)

  • Large pan or tub

  • Newspapers

  • Spanish or lichen moss

  • Scissors

  • Wooden spoon

  • Rubber gloves

Spanish moss in a tree.

Moss is used in planting, artwork and craft projects. Often the moss needs a little color to give it that added pop. Plain moss is usually a gray, pale green, silver or brown color. It is easy to dye moss. There are two types to consider when working with moss. Lichen, also known as reindeer moss and Spanish moss, are the most common to use in projects. Spanish moss, if light in color, can be found at hobby stores and some fabric stores. The lighter the moss color, the better it will take the colored dye.


Step 1

Spread the moss out on the newspapers. Gently remove any sticks or leaves that you do not want in the finished product. Using the scissors, trim to remove dark ends, and shape.

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Step 2

Following instructions on the fiber active dye, prepare your dye with cool water. Use the wooden spoon to stir the dye until thoroughly mixed.

Step 3

Immerse your moss completely. Let moss soak in dye. Stir occasionally. The length of time you let the moss soak in the dye will depend upon the depth of color you want. The longer the moss sets in the dye, the more color it will absorb up to a certain point. You will want your gloves on.

Step 4

Squeeze the moss to remove excess water. Wear gloves for this step to keep from turning your hands the color of the dye.

Step 5

Spread the colored moss out on the newspapers and let dry. You want the moss to dry completely before using in a project.


Fiber active dyes work best with a plant material such as moss. You can also use a dye that is formulated for cotton, but you might have to use one part glycerin to three parts water if you do so. Spanish moss is not really moss but part of the pineapple family or bromeliads. If you use all-purpose dye, vat-dye or direct dye, let the water cool before adding the moss. The lighter the moss color, the easier it is to dye it.


Use an old pan or tub to dye moss. Clean thoroughly after each color. Wear old clothes when working with the dyes.


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