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4. Biochromes

This week I learned about biochromes and used that information to develop a natural dye and ink.

Natural Avocado Dye


Textile/Fiber of your choice (Natural preferred) Avocado pits and skins
Water (4 CUPS) Pot Salt (1/2 CUP) Stove / Heat plate Spatula Bowl Measuring spoons

In Montreal, food scraps have to be composted, so I started freezing all avocado pits and skins; this inspired me for this week’s assignment. This week I was also quarantining, so I didn't have access to a solid internet connection, the lab, or the ability to get cooking tools that weren't for cooking. As a result, I’ll be following along this online recipe , because it’s a food-safe process.


To start, I defrosted the skins and pits in warm water for an hour. I still had leftover avocado on my skins and pits which then was removed after soaking. I highly recommend either using fresh skins/pits or cleaning them before freezing so that this step can be skipped.

In a pot, add 4 cups of water and add 1/2 cup of salt. Once brought to a boil, add skins and pits and allow to simmer for 2 hours (check-in every 30 minutes to stir and check the color)

Remove from heat and at this point any textiles/fibers can be added and can be left for anywhere from 2 to 22 hours. Once done soaking, run through cold water and it’s done! The following images are of the swatches I let soak for 2 hours. 

Treated cotton Untreated cotton 

Avocado Ink


Avocado pit (2-3 chopped into small pieces)   Water (1 CUP) Pot   Soda Ash (1 TSP) Stove / Heat plate Honey (1/2 TSP)     Thyme essential oil (3 drops)    Jar

The great thing about Avocado pits/skins is that they’re VERY pigmented, so this ink was made right after the dye with the same pits. I’ll be using this online recipe as inspiration.


To start, bring 1 cup of water, a 1/2 teaspoon of soda ash, and the chopped pits to a simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the pits and then whisk in the 1/2 teaspoon of honey (this is an at home-friendly version of Arabic gum! Allow it to cool, and pour into a jar, add 3 drops of thyme essential oil, and then shake to mix.

Here is a final image of the ink on paper!

Last update: January 18, 2021