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Walnut Shell Dye

I learned about this dye when I was a little girl. Not only is it used for dyeing fabrics and other textiles, you can use it to stain wood as well. Its also one of the least expensive if you live in an area where you can just pick up the walnuts off the ground. The color of this dye can change slightly from harvest season to harvest season depending on the health of the walnut tree and nuts. But itís a pretty butternut kind of brown.


2 cups of walnut shells
1 quart water stove or heating source
large enamel or stainless steel (not aluminum) pot
study wooden or plastic stirring utensil
container to collect dye
material to dye


1. Combine the walnut shells and water in the pot.

2. Soak overnight.

3. Boil shells and water for one hour, but donít let water boil away.

4. Strain the mixture and discard shells.

5. Add the material to be colored to the dye.

6. Let the material soak in the dye until the desired color intensity is reached.


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