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How to Dye Tagua Nuts

Updated February 21, 2017

The tagua nut also bears the name the "vegetable ivory nut" for good reason. The nut is around the size of a gold ball and looks like fine, off-white ivory and has a variety of uses from jewellery beads to buttons. It comes from the tagua palm tree, found in the rainforests of South America. If you've grown tired of its specific creamy beige colour, there's no reason why you can't dye it using dyes as organic as the nut itself is.

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  1. Place your tagua nuts into a plastic or metal container that has a lid. In a separate container, combine 4 tsp of a fibre reactive dye with 1 cup of warm water. Mix the two ingredients well.

  2. Pour the dye and water mixture over the nuts. You may need to mix up more dye and water if the mixture doesn't fully cover them. Replace the lid and allow the dye to penetrate for one hour.

  3. Remove the lid and add 1 1/2 tsp of soda ash and mix well. Allow the soda ash to penetrate the nuts for at least one hour. The soda ash will act as a fixative, preventing the dye from running.

  4. Rinse the tagua beads in cold water. Add 1 tbsp detergent and mix well with the beads, rinsing them again in cold water.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 plastic or metal containers, with lid
  • 4 tsp fibre reactive dye
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Spoon
  • 1.5 tsp soda ash
  • 1 tbsp, detergent

About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."

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