How to Blackberry Dye Fabric? – (Step by Step)

Last Updated on September 7, 2023

Welcome to The Sewing Stuffs with Tersia Jager! In this episode, we will explore the world of natural dyeing using elderberries.

Elderberries are known for their potential health benefits and can produce a beautiful range of colors when used as a natural dye.

So, learn the art of fabric dyeing with “How to Blackberry Dye Fabric” for stunning, natural hues.

How to Blackberry Dye Fabric

How to blackberry dye fabric? – (Step by Step Tutorial)

First, prepare your fiber with a tannin and alum mordant to blackberry dye fabric, then soak it in an elderberry dye bath while experimenting with pH shifts for unique colors.

Here, we will take you through the process of blackberry dyeing fabric step by step.

Whether you’re an experienced natural dyer or a complete beginner, you’ll find valuable insights into this fascinating craft.

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How to Blackberry Dye Fabric

Step by Step full guide

Step 1: Preparing Your Fiber

Preparing Your Fiber
Source- Margaret Byrd: Color Quest

Before you start dyeing, it’s essential to prepare your fabric properly. Margaret recommends using organic cotton for this project.

Follow these steps to ensure your fabric is ready for the dyeing process:

  • Wash Your Fiber: Begin by washing your fabric in a washing machine using pH-neutral soap. Properly cleaning your fabric removes any impurities and ensures the dye adheres evenly.
  • Mordant Your Fabric: Mordants are substances that help natural dyes bind to the fabric fibers. For elderberry dye, Margaret uses a combination of tannin and alum mordants. You can purchase these mordants or make them yourself.
    Soak your fabric in a tannin solution (such as oak gall tannin) for at least an hour. Then, soak it in an alum solution (aluminum potassium sulfate) for another two hours.
    The exact measurements may vary depending on your fabric’s weight, but a 10-20% weight of fabric ratio is a good starting point.

Step 2: Making the Elderberry Dye

Making the Elderberry Dye
Source- Margaret Byrd: Color Quest

Now that your fabric is ready, it’s time to prepare the elderberry dye. Follow these steps to create your dye bath:

  • Select Your Elderberries: Dried organic elderberries are a great alternative to access fresh elderberries. Use approximately the same weight of elderberries as your fabric.
  • Soak the Elderberries: Place them in water and allow them to soak for about an hour.
    This step will start releasing the dye’s color.
  • Dye Soak: After soaking, submerge your fabric in the elderberry bath and let it soak. Margaret recommends experimenting with soaking times to achieve your desired color intensity.
    You can also apply gentle heat to the dye bath to enhance color uptake.
  • Rinse and Repeat: After dyeing, rinse your fabric thoroughly to remove any excess dye. If you want a deeper color, you can repeat the dyeing process until you achieve the desired hue.

Step 3: pH Color Shifting

pH Color Shifting
Source- Margaret Byrd: Color Quest

Elderberry dye is pH-sensitive, which means you can alter its color by changing the pH of the dye bath. To experiment with pH color shifting, follow these steps:

  • Create an Acidic Bath: Lower the pH by adding vinegar or lemon juice to the dye bath. This will shift the color towards the red end of the spectrum. Test a small piece of fabric first to observe the color change.
  • Create an Alkaline Bath: Raise the pH by adding baking soda or soda ash to the dye bath. This will shift the color towards the green end of the spectrum. Again, test a small piece of fabric to see the results.
  • Rinse and Observe: Rinse the fabric after each pH shift to stop the reaction and observe the color changes. You can achieve a beautiful range of colors by playing with pH levels.


Dyeing fabric with elderberries is a delightful way to explore the world of natural dyes. By following this advice and experimenting with pH shifts, you can create unique and captivating colors on your textiles.

Whether you’re dyeing for practical or artistic purposes, this natural dyeing technique allows you to express your creativity while connecting with nature’s vibrant palette.

So, embark on your own color quest and enjoy the art of blackberry dyeing with elderberries!

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