Traditional recipes always use minimal resources. Ancient Greeks coloured their Easter eggs red by boiling them with red onion peel. Today most dye makers use onion peel to obtain red, orange, cream, and other colors.
The first step is to collect enough onion peel. If you wish to dye any cloth or paper, ensure that you have enough to peels to obtain the desired color. The product after dyeing should be two or three shades darker than you desire. It becomes lighter when you rinse it.
The recipe below helps you to make the dye. The dye is stable at room temperature for a few days. Store them in glass bottles.
Please note: Since the process requires boiling, adult supervision is required.
1. Simmer about ½ cup of water in medium heat.
2. Add onion peel (red or yellow) and allow it to simmer until the water turns golden or red in colour. Remember that more peel is needed for darker colour, while it is best to bring it to two or three shades of higher colour than you prefer. Strain to remove the peel.
3. The yellow flavinoids found in the yellow onion peel are pH sensitive. They turn deeper yellow in basic pH solutions. Addition of salt can turn the solution basic and produce a deeper yellow shade.
4. Any piece of cloth that you wish to dye should be washed thoroughly to remove all the starch and allowed to boil in the water.
5. To experiment with a colour, add drops of vinegar or limejuice or baking soda to see how differences in pH can affect colour composition and strength of the dye.
6. Soak the cloth in salted warm water to fix the dye.
7. Rinse the cloth, at least twice, in cold water and dry in shade.