Category Archives: Natural Dyes

About using organic and natural dyes, recipes.

Alkanet Root Dye

Alkanet Root Dye Recipe for Linen, Cotton and Cellulose Fibres
Alkana Tinctoria

for 100 grams of fibre
20 grams Alkanet Root Rhubarb Dye Powder
Soak the Alkanet in a glass jar overnight with a bit of alcohol. This helps to release the dye pigment from the Alkanet. I leave the jar outside as the alcohol fumes can be overpowering and flammable.
The following day Put Alkanet Root into dye pot filled with water.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour at 50 deg.
Add pre-mordanted wool yarn and sample fabrics.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour.
Remove the wool yarn. Let this cool and rinse thoroughly to remove the excess dye powder.
Turn the heat off the dyepot and leave the linen and cotton samples to soak overnight. More colour will continue to develop as the dyebath cools.

Alkanet Dyed Linen Cotton
Alkanet Dyed Linen Cotton

All cellulose fibres, yarns and fabrics must be scoured prior to mordanting or dyeing. Please see my previous article on how to do this.
How to Scour Linen

For these samples, I used several different linen and cotton fabrics as well as wool yarn.

Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples
Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples

Bleached Cotton
Unbleached Cotton
Bleached Linen
Linen/Cotton Blend
Natural Linen (light weight)
Natural Linen (heavy weight)

More about Plant Dyed Yarns
Madder Root Dye Recipe
Brazilwood Dye Recipe
Eucalyptus Leaves Dye Recipe
Himalayan Rhubarb Dye Recipe

Paivatar – Plant Dyed Wool Yarns
Look for some of my plant dyed yarns at my PaivatarYarn Shop on Etsy.

Natural Plant Dyed Sock Wool
Natural Plant Dyed Sock Wool

Natural Dyes
Anne Georges
Wild Colours


Indigo from Seed to Dye

Indigo: Dye It, Make It: Techniques from plain and dip-dyeing to tie-dyeing and batik, in natural indigo blue

Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

Natural Dyes

The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

Dyes and Mordants on Ebay

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 4 oz

$5.25
End Date: Friday Mar-13-2020 22:06:54 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $5.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 120g

$6.49
End Date: Saturday Mar-14-2020 18:03:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $6.49
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

1/2 lb Alum Aluminum Sulfate for Marbling Supplies Marbled Goods Mordant Paper

$11.25
End Date: Monday Mar-16-2020 2:00:07 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $11.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Himalayan Rhubarb Plant Dye

Himalayan Rhubarb Dye Recipe for Linen, Cotton and Cellulose Fibres
Rheum Emodi

for 100 grams of fibre
20 grams Himalayan Rhubarb Dye Powder
Put Himalayan Rhubarb into dye pot.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour at 50 deg.
Add pre-mordanted wool yarn and sample fabrics.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour.
Remove the wool yarn. Let this cool and rinse thoroughly to remove the excess dye powder.
Turn the heat off the dyepot and leave the linen and cotton samples to soak overnight. More colour will continue to develop as the dyebath cools.

Himalayan Rhubarb Natural Dye
Himalayan Rhubarb Natural Dye

All cellulose fibres, yarns and fabrics must be scoured prior to mordanting or dyeing. Please see my previous article on how to do this.
How to Scour Linen

For these samples, I used several different linen and cotton fabrics as well as wool yarn.

Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples
Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples

Bleached Cotton
Unbleached Cotton
Bleached Linen
Linen/Cotton Blend
Natural Linen (light weight)
Natural Linen (heavy weight)

More about Plant Dyed Yarns
Madder Root Dye Recipe
Brazilwood Dye Recipe

Flame of the Forest Dye
Apple Leaf Dye
Alkanet Root Dye

Paivatar – Plant Dyed Wool Yarns
Look for some of my plant dyed yarns at my PaivatarYarn Shop on Etsy.

Natural Plant Dyed Wool Yarn
Natural Plant Dyed Wool Yarn

Natural Dyes

Anne Georges
Wild Colours
George Weil

Indigo from Seed to Dye

Indigo: Dye It, Make It: Techniques from plain and dip-dyeing to tie-dyeing and batik, in natural indigo blue

Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

Natural Dyes

The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

Dyes and Mordants on Ebay

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 4 oz

$5.25
End Date: Friday Mar-13-2020 22:06:54 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $5.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 120g

$6.49
End Date: Saturday Mar-14-2020 18:03:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $6.49
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

1/2 lb Alum Aluminum Sulfate for Marbling Supplies Marbled Goods Mordant Paper

$11.25
End Date: Monday Mar-16-2020 2:00:07 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $11.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Eucalyptus Leaves Dye Recipe

Eucalyptus Dye Recipe for Linen, Cotton and Cellulose Fibres
On a recent trip to Greece, I collected some Eucalyptus leaves and took them home in my suitcase. I let them dry and then crushed them for use in my dyepot.

for 100 grams of fibre
50 grams dried Eucalyptus Leaves
Put crushed Eucalyptus leaves into dye pot.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour at 50 deg.
Add pre-mordanted wool yarn and sample fabrics.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour.
Remove the wool yarn. Let this cool and rinse thoroughly to remove the excess dye powder.
Turn the heat off the dyepot and leave the linen and cotton samples to soak overnight. More colour will continue to develop as the dyebath cools.

Eucalyptus Leaves Natural dye
Eucalyptus Leaves Natural dye

All cellulose fibres, yarns and fabrics must be scoured prior to mordanting or dyeing. Please see my previous article on how to do this.
How to Scour Linen

For these samples, I used several different linen and cotton fabrics as well as wool yarn.

Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples
Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples

Unbleached Cotton
Bleached Linen
Linen/Cotton Blend
Natural Linen (light weight)
Natural Linen (heavy weight)

More about Plant Dyed Yarns
Madder Root Dye Recipe
Brazilwood Dye Recipe
Himalayan Rhubarb Dye

Paivatar – Plant Dyed Wool Yarns
Look for some of my plant dyed yarns at my PaivatarYarn Shop on Etsy.

Natural Plant Dyed Wool Yarn
Natural Plant Dyed Wool Yarn

Indigo from Seed to Dye

Indigo: Dye It, Make It: Techniques from plain and dip-dyeing to tie-dyeing and batik, in natural indigo blue

Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

Natural Dyes

The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

Dyes and Mordants on Ebay

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 4 oz

$5.25
End Date: Friday Mar-13-2020 22:06:54 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $5.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 120g

$6.49
End Date: Saturday Mar-14-2020 18:03:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $6.49
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

1/2 lb Alum Aluminum Sulfate for Marbling Supplies Marbled Goods Mordant Paper

$11.25
End Date: Monday Mar-16-2020 2:00:07 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $11.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Brazilwood Dye

Brazilwood Dye Recipe for Linen, Cotton and Cellulose Fibres
Caesalpinia Sappan

for 100 grams of fibre
20 grams Brazilwood powder – Caesalpinia Sappan
Put Brazilwood dye powder into dye pot.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour at 50 deg.
Add pre-mordanted wool yarn and sample fabrics.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour.
Remove the wool yarn. Let this cool and rinse thoroughly to remove the excess dye powder.
Turn the heat off the dyepot and leave the linen and cotton samples to soak overnight. More colour will continue to develop as the dyebath cools.

Brazilwood Dye on Linen and Cotton
Brazilwood Dye on Linen and Cotton

All cellulose fibres, yarns and fabrics must be scoured prior to mordanting or dyeing. Please see my previous article on how to do this.
How to Scour Linen

For these samples, I used several different linen and cotton fabrics as well as wool yarn.

Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples
Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples

Unbleached Cotton
Bleached Linen
Linen/Cotton Blend
Natural Linen (light weight)
Natural Linen (heavy weight)

Paivatar – Plant Dyed Wool Yarns
Look for some of my plant dyed yarns at my PaivatarYarn Shop on Etsy.

Natural Plant Dyed Wool Yarn
Natural Plant Dyed Wool Yarn

Natural Dyes
Anne Georges
Wild Colours

Indigo from Seed to Dye

Indigo: Dye It, Make It: Techniques from plain and dip-dyeing to tie-dyeing and batik, in natural indigo blue

Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

Natural Dyes

The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

Dyes and Mordants on Ebay

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 4 oz

$5.25
End Date: Friday Mar-13-2020 22:06:54 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $5.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 120g

$6.49
End Date: Saturday Mar-14-2020 18:03:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $6.49
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

1/2 lb Alum Aluminum Sulfate for Marbling Supplies Marbled Goods Mordant Paper

$11.25
End Date: Monday Mar-16-2020 2:00:07 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $11.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Madder Root Dye

Madder Root Dye Recipe for Linen, Cotton and Cellulose Fibres

All cellulose fibres, yarns and fabrics must be scoured prior to mordanting or dyeing. Please see my previous article on how to do this.
How to Scour Linen

For these samples, I used several different linen and cotton fabrics as well as wool yarn.

Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples
Linen and Cotton Fabric Samples

Unbleached Cotton
Bleached Linen
Linen/Cotton Blend
Natural Linen (light weight)
Natural Linen (heavy weight)

Madder Root Dye Recipe
for 100 grams of fibre
20 grams Indian Madder Root powder – Rubia Cordifolia
Put Madder Root dye powder into dye pot.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour at 50 deg.
Add pre-mordanted wool yarn and sample fabrics.
Let simmer in dyepot for +1 hour.
Remove the wool yarn. Let this cool and rinse thoroughly to remove the excess dye powder.
Turn the heat off the dyepot and leave the linen and cotton samples to soak overnight. More colour will continue to develop as the dyebath cools.

Indian Madder on Linen and Cotton
Indian Madder on Linen and Cotton

Himalayan Rhubarb Plant Dye
Eucalyptus Leaf Plant Dye
Brazilwood Plant Dye

Paivatar – Plant Dyed Wool Yarns
Look for some of my plant dyed yarns at my PaivatarYarn Shop on Etsy.

Plant Dyed Wool Yarn
Plant Dyed Wool Yarn

Natural Dyes
Anne Georges
Wild Colours

Natural Dye Books

Indigo from Seed to Dye

Indigo: Dye It, Make It: Techniques from plain and dip-dyeing to tie-dyeing and batik, in natural indigo blue

Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

Natural Dyes

The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

Dyes and Mordants on Ebay

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 4 oz

$5.25
End Date: Friday Mar-13-2020 22:06:54 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $5.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 120g

$6.49
End Date: Saturday Mar-14-2020 18:03:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $6.49
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

1/2 lb Alum Aluminum Sulfate for Marbling Supplies Marbled Goods Mordant Paper

$11.25
End Date: Monday Mar-16-2020 2:00:07 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $11.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

How to Scour and Mordant Cotton and Linen

The secret to successful natural dyeing of cellulose fibres, yarns and fabrics such as cotton and linen is thorough scouring. The scouring process removes natural oils, waxes and pectins from the fibre so that the dyes can penetrate the fibre more readily. Scouring and mordanting cellulose fibres is a more time consuming process than when mordanting wool and protein fibres. But it is well worth taking the extra time to prepare your fabric before you put it into the dyepot.

Here is a sample of natural brown linen fabric that has been dyed with Madder Root. One has been scoured prior to Aluminium Acetate mordant and Madder dye, and one hasn’t.

Scoured and Unscoured Dyed Linen Sample
Scoured and Unscoured Dyed Linen Sample

How to Scour Linen and Cotton
Weigh out the fabric or yarn you wish to scour.
For 100 grams of fabric I use:
10 grams Soda Ash
3 grams Carbolic Soap
Add this to water and mix.
Add the yarn or fabric.
Bring to a boil and let it simmer +2 to 3 hours.

The water will become brown as the waxes and oils are released from the fabric.
Even a bleached white linen will give you water that looks murky.
Let the fabric cool and then remove it from the scouring soak.
Rinse the fabric thoroughly.

Scour Linen and Cotton
Scour Linen and Cotton

As the Soda Ash has a high pH, the fabric needs to be soaked in an acidic vinegar solution to return the pH back to neutral. Plant dyes are sensitive to different pH levels and this can affect the final colour, so changes in pH during the mordanting process must be neutralized before dyeing the fabric.

Mordant for Cotton and Linen
To mordant cellulose fibres I use Aluminium Acetate
To mordant 100 grams of fabric,
Mix 5 grams aluminium acetate into a bowl or plastic bucket of hot tap water.
Stir until dissolved.
Add the scoured and rinsed fabric or yarn.
Let this soak for + 1 hour.

The yarn or fabric can then be removed from the mordant solution and allowed to dry, or it is ready to use as is.

Where to purchase Aluminium Acetate (in UK)
Wild Colours
George Weil

More about Plant Dyed Yarns
Madder Root Dye Recipe
Brazilwood Dye Recipe
Eucalyptus Leaf Dye
Himalayan Rhubarb Dye

Paivatar – Plant Dyed Wool Yarns

Look for some of my plant dyed yarns at my PaivatarYarn Shop on Etsy.

Plant Dyed Wool Yarn
Plant Dyed Wool Yarn

Natural Dye Books

Indigo from Seed to Dye

Indigo: Dye It, Make It: Techniques from plain and dip-dyeing to tie-dyeing and batik, in natural indigo blue

Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

Natural Dyes

The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

Dyes and Mordants on Ebay

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 4 oz

$5.25
End Date: Friday Mar-13-2020 22:06:54 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $5.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Alum - Potassium Aluminum Sulfate - Mordant - Potash Alum - 120g

$6.49
End Date: Saturday Mar-14-2020 18:03:17 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $6.49
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

1/2 lb Alum Aluminum Sulfate for Marbling Supplies Marbled Goods Mordant Paper

$11.25
End Date: Monday Mar-16-2020 2:00:07 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $11.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Spin Flora Dot Com

When I was asked by the AGWSD to teach a workshop on spinning flax this coming summer at their Summer School, I started to do some research on spinning with plant fibres. Never did I expect to fall down such a large rabbit hole! I started by ordering a few small sample packs of different flora fibres, flax, hemp, ramie and a few of the new plant-based fibres such as banana and seacell that have recently come onto the market. I fell in love with the variety and the textures that these plants have to offer. Spinning flora took over in my studio. As I used up my plastic crates filled with wool, they quickly filled up again with a delightful assortment of flora fibres.

Spin and Weave Flora
Spin and Weave Flora

I generally like to use acid dyes for dyeing wools and silk, but of course, the acid dyes won’t work on cellulose fibres. So I decided that really – plants should be dyed with plants. I rummaged through my dye stash and found a supply of madder root, indigo, osage, and other natural dyestuffs. And began to experiment.

Indigo Fructose Dye Vat
Indigo Fructose Dye Vat

Each of the fibres have their own unique characteristics. Some are soft and slippery, some feel like the finest of silk, some are a bit rough and coarse. They all need to be spun with a slightly different spinning technique. They can also be blended with each other or with wool. Handspinning with flora fibres are also a lovely alternative for those who are allergic to wool or who prefer not to use animal fibres.

Spin Flora grew and it was time for it to have its own website – a place where you can explore this world of Flora and also purchase a few samples of your own to experiment with.
I hope that you will visit Spin Flora not Fauna

Fungi Dye: Pisolithus arhizus

Pisolithus arhizus Mushroom Dye

isolithus arhizus – Brown, gold
Also known as the Dyeball
FI – Hernekuukunen

Pisolithus Arhizus Fungi Dyed Yarn
Pisolithus Arhizus Fungi Dyed Yarn

Alum Mordant

3 litres water
25 grams alum
10 grams cream of Tartar
Bring to boil and then let cool
100 gram wool yarn tied in skeins
Rinse the clean washed yarn in cool water
Add the yarn into the cool mordant bath and bring it to 80-90 C degrees
Simmer for 1 hour
Remove and let cool

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Fungi Dye Bath

If using dried mushrooms soak them in water for a few hours until soft.
100 grams dried mushrooms
5 litres water
Bring to boil and simmer for 2-3 hours

Let dyebath cool
Strain the liquid and store the cooked mushrooms. They can be used again in an afterbath
Add mordanted yarn to strained dyebath liquid

Add mordanted yarn to dyebath
Return to heat and simmer for 1 hour at 80-90 degrees Celsius or longer for stronger colour.
Remove from heat source and let cool
Rinse in water that is of similar temperature as dyebath to avoid shocking the yarn and causing felting to occur.

How to Make an Alum Mordant
How to Scour and Mordant Cotton and Linen
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