I wanted to experiment with natural dyes on wood, so I pulled out some blocks I had bought at a thrift store and saturated them in all sorts of dye baths. These were made with beet powder, avocado, matcha green tea, turmeric, tea and coffee.
In order, these are matcha tea, beet powder, avocado, black tea, turmeric, coffee. These blocks are Melissa and Doug Standard Blocks. Different woods will take the dyes differently.
Matcha – Whip up some matcha tea in water, just as you would if you were making tea. Soak the wood blocks until they are the desired shade. White Vinegar can help darken this shade.
Beet Powder – Dissolve a small amount of beet powder in water. Add more powder for a pinker shade.
Avocado – Boil avocado skins and pits in water. Let the water cool. The water will be a beautiful pink shade. Soak the blocks until the color saturates.
Black Tea – Make a batch of black tea just as you would for tea.
Turmeric – This one doesn’t need heat. Dissolve turmeric powder in water.
Coffee – Brew some coffee. That’s it. Vinegar can also deepen this shade.
Since Turmeric doesn’t require heat, it’s a great dye to involve the kids in. I had my boys paint and soak the blocks in turmeric. They really enjoyed it, and they have a sense of accomplishment when they play with their blocks because they remember when they made them.