Creating your own natural dyes for cloth and yarn is inexpensive, and it also gives you an opportunity to be creative and to do some experimentation. Beets are a prime candidate for producing natural dye due to the rich, red coloring they produce when they're boiled. However, to imbue an item with long-lasting natural color, you can't simply soak the material in the beet dye. Use the following method to ensure that your items will not fade and lose its natural coloring over time.
Combine four parts water and one part white vinegar in a large pot. Place the fabric or yarn that you are dying into this solution and bring the liquid to a simmer. Simmer for one hour. This will help the fabric or yarn become colorfast.
Remove the cloth from the pot and rinse thoroughly. Wring out the cloth.
Pour the beet juice into a large pot. Use enough juice so that the cloth that you are dying will be completely submerged and able to float freely in the liquid. Place the cloth in the juice and bring the liquid to a simmer on the stove top.
Simmer the cloth in the juice until the desired color is reached, keeping in mind that once dried, the fabric will be one to two shades lighter than it appears to be when wet. Check the fabric every 30 minutes until it reaches your preferred shade. For bolder color, remove the pot from the burner after simmering one hour and allow the fabric to soak in the dye bath overnight.
Remove the cloth from the dye bath with tongs. Rinse out the excess dye from the fabric under cold, running water. Rinse until the water runs clear and line dry the fabric before wearing or using in craft projects.
Use natural fabrics, such as wool or silk, when using beet dyes. Man-made fabrics will resist the dye and the colors will fade quickly. Hand wash dyed fabric separately in cold water and line dry because the natural coloring may run in the wash and stain other garments. Boil fresh beets instead of using beet juice. Cut the beets into 1-inch chunks and use twice the volume of water as there is beets. Use enough beets and water so the fabric will be submerged when dying. Simmer for one hour, strain out the beet chunks, then dye your fabric in the beet-colored water.
Wear gloves and cover all work surfaces to avoid stains during the dye process.