Making a dye bath from avocado pits yields a romantic dusty rose color and is surprisingly easy to do. Avocado pits are high in tannin, so it’s common to see articles that suggest you don’t need to mordant your fabric before dyeing with them. While not incorrect, I find this information to be incomplete. It’s true that when dyeing with high-tannin dyes your project wouldn’t require a mordant, I still prefer using one. Because I'm dyeing with silk, I am using a common alum mordant. To be clear, tannins will create an effective bond to the fiber, especially to wool, but to achieve a stronger saturated color, I prefer to use both mordant and, in this case tannic, dye.
In my earlier practice, I would let the pits dry whole. I’ve since updated my recipe, and now I like to smash up the pits in order to expose as much surface area as possible in the dye pot. I strongly recommend smashing the pits while fresh – they are much harder to break after they’ve dried.
To break apart the avocado pits, simply place them inside an old tea towel or wash cloth, and hit them hard with a hammer. Watch your fingers!
Once you have your avocado pieces, you’re ready to make your dye bath. Depending on how much fabric you want to dye, I recommend collecting the fragments from a few different pits. If you’re not using your pit pieces right away, I like to store them in the freezer to prevent them from getting moldy.
For this bath, I’ve used about 10 avocado pits.