Natural Dyeing

In our Rituals series, we invite members of our creative community to explore simple, uplifting ways to enhance the everyday. This season horticulturist and eco-living enthusiast Samantha Wong follows our step-by-step guide to natural dyeing using marigolds and eucalyptus, in her sunshine-filled garden.

Henna brown, indigo blue, safflower red, lichen green – there is no end to the possibilities offered by nature’s colour palette. Taking the time to observe and respond to these different shades has long been considered a form of relaxation. In colour therapy, calming tones can help alleviate stress, while warmer colours like yellow have been known to increase energy and motivation. Wild hues are also a source of inspiration; the desire to recreate colour has inspired some of humanity’s greatest achievements in art, fashion and technology.

“The essentials of this process have changed little over time – a testament to the enduring beauty and simplicity of natural dyeing.”

Since the earliest civilisations, communities have made dyes from naturally occurring materials such as flowering plants and food sources including berries, avocado skins, tea and coffee, with evidence of textile dying dating back to the Neolithic period. Coloured fabrics were an expression of individuality, status or allegiance, and by the Roman era there were hundreds of dyeing recipes to choose from. The essentials of this process have changed little over time – a testament to the enduring beauty and simplicity of natural dyeing.

Organic, gentle on skin and kinder to the planet, this is a ritual that takes time, promotes reflection and connection to your environment. There is something extra special about sourcing your raw materials and waiting for them to change in the gentle steeping process. For our dye bath, we’ve chosen marigolds to create a subtle yellow and eucalyptus for a blush pink. Both also offer healing properties, which make them ideal to have in the home when in season. The best part? Each plant will reveal a unique colour and finish, leaving you feeling uplifted and inspired.

Below, discover our step-by-step guide to natural dyeing.

How To Use Natural Dyes


Bathe marigold heads overnight. Soaking helps to soften petals and release the flower’s natural pigments. Leave to rest in the water overnight or up to 48 hours.


Steep in a pot of gently heated water. Slowly bring to a low simmer.

“I like to make a sanctuary at home with fresh flowers. It transforms these small routines into a ritual.”


Add washed linen for a subtle yellow – the natural dyes in marigold create a beautiful range of light golden hues. Stir and allow to simmer for five hours.


Place eucalyptus leaves in a fresh pot of simmering water. Leave to rest for five hours.


Add washed linen for a blush pink – each eucalyptus will offer a unique colour, from reddish tones to pale shades of green.


Air fabrics in sunshine or hang to dry inside the home.

Follow Samantha’s inspiring eco journey here: @sifestyle_hk