Credit score: Copyright 2021. Reprinted with permission from Cool Springs Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group

Use the roots, bark, seeds, skins, leaves, flowers, or berries of crops to dye materials and fibers a variety of pure colours.

The Primary Dyeing Course of

You start the dyeing course of with simply two principal components: the fibers or material and the crops that you simply’re utilizing to paint them. The fibers may be both vegetable or animal based mostly, and the dyeing method can be totally different relying on what you’re utilizing and the shades you’re attempting to attain.

You’ll must mordant most fibers to attain deep, long-lasting colours from crops. Mordanting means

treating the fiber with a substance comparable to alum, copper, iron, or soy milk earlier than placing it in a dye tub. Some crops can have pure mordanting properties. You need to use a rhubarb-leaf answer to mordant many animal fibers, and tannin from oak galls or staghorn sumac leaves is helpful for mordanting vegetable fibers.


To mordant wool with alum (aluminum sulfate), first weigh your fibers and measure out your dry components. By weight, you’ll want 12 % that quantity of alum and 6 % that weight of cream of tartar. Be certain to put on gloves and a masks when working with alum. Subsequent, place the wool in a stainless-steel or aluminum pan and add sufficient lukewarm water to cowl it. Go away it for an hour.

After that point is up, place the alum and cream of tartar in a cup and add sufficient boiling water to dissolve them. Stir effectively, then pour the liquid into the pot with the water and wool. Carry to a simmer, 180°F(82°C), and maintain it there, gently stirring each couple of minutes. After an hour, flip the warmth off and depart the wool to chill within the pot in a single day.

The subsequent day, you possibly can pour the alum water down the sink if you happen to’re linked to municipal waterworks; when you’ve got a septic tank or plumbing that empties right into a water supply, pour it exterior round acid-loving crops. Now, gently wash the wool in recent lukewarm water with a squirt of dish cleaning soap. Rinse totally and both dry exterior on the road for future use or set it apart for the dye tub.

Making ready Dye Crops

You need to use dried materials or recent crops from the backyard, however guarantee that it’s in glorious situation. Relying on what you’re utilizing, you’ll create a dye tub by both simmering the plant materials, infusing it in scorching water like a tea, or soaking it in water for an prolonged interval—days or typically weeks. In some circumstances, as in St. John’s wort flowers, it’s greatest to make use of recent plant materials, however usually you should use recent or dried.

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