How to dye a wedding dress and give it a second life

Your wedding is one of those magical moments you can spend an entire lifetime planning. 

And yet, before you know it, the day has come and gone—with the fantastic pictures, the beautiful memories, and the whimsical white dress to prove it. 

Almost everything is perfect, but there’s one tiny problem. After tying the knot, you have a gorgeous gown in your wardrobe that you might never use for the rest of your life. 

Now that you’ve exchanged vows and said “I do,” you might be wondering whether there’s a way to repurpose your dress and keep it in your rotation. Of course you can! With a little creativity and some all-natural dye, you can give your wedding dress a fresh, one-of-a-kind look that makes you feel like a princess every time you put it on.  

Even if your big day has passed, here’s how to dye a wedding dress and keep your fairytale alive. 

Can you dye a wedding dress?


Yes! Whether you’re looking to give your gown a new life or create a unique, memorable look for another big day, dying your wedding dress is a great way to give it a twist. 

There’s just one caveat—your dress needs to be made from natural fibres to dye it successfully. 

If you’re feeling nervous about ruining your dress, working with a professional designer might be the right choice. I’m always happy to help with these kinds of projects, so if you’re a blushing bride based in Europe, don’t hesitate to reach out and set up a consultation for my natural dyeing services! If you’re based in the U.S. and need a recommendation, check out Liz Spencer’s work over at The Dogwood Dyer.

If you’re more of a DIY kinda gal, dipping your dress is a simple, easy way to give your gown some colour. Here’s how to get started.

How to dip dye a wedding dress

Before dying your dress, go through the following steps with some scrap fabric. That way, you’ll know how the fibres react to dye, the timing, and how much dye you need for your desired colour. 

If possible, use the same fabric as your wedding dress. 

Materials needed:

  • Your wedding dress (made from natural fibres)
  • Your selected dyestuff
  • A dedicated dye pot
  • A designated wooden or stainless steel spoon
  • A designated sieve or colander
  • Containers
  • Kitchen scales

How to dye your wedding dress:

  1. I absolutely recommend you scour and mordant your dress before dyeing, in order to ensure the best colour uptake. You can learn both these processes in detail in my Living Colour with the Five Elements online workshop.
  2. Weigh your textiles when they’re dry and write the number down. You’ll need around the same weight in dyestuff to create your desired colour.
  3. Prepare your dye according to the dyestuff you’re using. We’ll cover some ideas for creating natural dyes below. 
  4. Fill a container with water and soak your dress for at least half an hour before dyeing.
  5. Dip the dress in the dye to where you want the colour to start. Leave the dress there for a few minutes until the colour begins changing. Every few minutes, lift the dress out of the dye 2-4 cms. Dip dying gives your dress a gradual ombre that goes from light to dark. So if you want the contrast to be more prominent, lift larger chunks of the dress out of the dye. If you want a more subtle look, take out smaller pieces at a time.
  6. Rinse the gown in cold water until the water runs clear. 
  7. Hang your dress up to dry away from direct sunlight. 

And that’s it! Now, let’s go over a few colours you can create with all-natural ingredients.

Pretty in pink 

Avocado skins and stones create a dreamy, dusty pink perfect for repurposing a wedding dress. Here’s how to dye a wedding dress pink. 

  1. For the best colour, remove the avocado’s green flesh.  
  2. Weigh your textiles when they’re dry and write the number down. You’ll need around the same weight in dyestuff to create your desired colour.
  3. For a more intense shade of pink, mordant your fabric. 
  4. Add the skins and stones to a pot. Cover them with water. 
  5. Simmer without boiling for at least an hour. You can start dyeing after that, but I recommend letting the dyestuff sit overnight to get the most colour possible.
  6. Strain the dye.
  7. Put your fabric in water and soak it for 30 minutes before dyeing. 
  8. Add the soaked fabric into the dye pot. 
  9. Simmer the dye and stir.
  10. Turn off the heat after an hour and let the dress steep. 
  11.  Rinse the dress and put it on your clothesline to dry away from direct sunlight. 

Mellow yellow

Give your wedding dress a touch of sunshine! Onion skins create a warm, golden yellow perfect for repurposing your gown into a sundress. Here’s how to dye a wedding dress yellow

  1. Weigh your textiles when they’re dry and write the number down. You’ll need around the same weight in onion skins to create your desired colour.
  2. For a more intense shade of yellow, mordant your fabric. 
  3. Put your fabric in a pot of water and let it soak.
  4. In a separate pot, boil the skins. Once they’re boiling, turn the water down and let the pot simmer for an hour. As they simmer, check the colour frequently. The longer the pot simmers, the more dye the skins release. 
  5. Strain the onion skins using a cheesecloth or colander, but keep the water. 
  6. Add the dress to the dye bath and simmer it for 1 hour. 
  7. After an hour, turn off the heat and let it cool down in the pot..
  8. Once the dress has cooled down, rinse it in fresh water until it runs clear. 
  9. Hang the dress up to dry away from direct sunlight.

What other colours can I dye my wedding dress with?

The colours of the rainbow are ever present in Nature. Plants, insects, and minerals are gifts from the Earth that have been used for thousands of years to give clothes rich, beautiful hues—including your wedding dress. 

One way to give your dress a passionate, bold look is to dye it red using cochineal—an insect native to several regions in Latin America.

If you want to give your dress a more romantic, royal style in its second life, you might consider dying it blue or indigo. After all, something borrowed, something blue, right

The possibilities are almost endless! For more ideas, here are some of our top favourite plants to use for natural dye.

Relive your special day and give your gown a second life with beautiful, all-natural colours coming straight from the Earth. 

Give your clothes a fresh, new look the all-natural way. If you’re considering dyeing your wedding dress—or another special piece—my online workshop, Living Colour with the Five Elements, goes over everything you need to know about applying colour to natural fibres using plants, clay, and insects. Sign up today. And if all of this sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t worry! My natural dyeing services are here to rescue your dress and give it a second life!