How to Make Black Walnut Dye

Crafters use dyes from nuts to stain their creations a variety of colors. Black walnuts will create a rich brown dye for dyeing baskets, wool and other objects. You can make your own black walnut dye at home with a few simple steps.

  1. Collect black walnut hulls. You can find them on the ground outside during the fall; they resemble large green balls (bigger than a golf ball, smaller than a tennis ball). Cut the hulls away from the nuts. Discard the nuts or use them for another purpose.

  2. Create the dye. Soak the hulls in water overnight, and boil this water to use as a dye. You can immerse wool or other items directly in the dye. Or soak the hulls in a nylon stocking and squeeze the dye out of them into a pot of water. The latter method will keep most of the solid nut mass out of your dye.

  3. Make ink dye. Use black walnut dye as an ink substitute by boiling the hulls as above, then adding a splash of vinegar. Dip a quill into the mixture and use it for ink, or even use a toothpick for a fun kids' activity (yourehistory.wordpress.com).

  4. Store the dye. Any dye you have left over can be stored for a short period of time. If you store it for too long, it can rot. Adding vinegar to the dye can slow that process. Store your dye in glass jars, because over time it can eat through plastic containers.

  5. Warning

    Use gloves and cover all work surfaces to avoid accidental dyeing.