Five natural dye extracts plus alum and cream of tartar. The perfect starter kit for those who want to try an easy introduction to natural dyes. Each extract is in a concentrated, easy to mix powder or liquid and comes with complete instructions.
The kit will dye approximately 2-4 pounds of natural fibers.
The kit includes:
- Lac - approx. 1/4 oz.
- Logwood - approx. 1/4 oz.
- Cutch - approx. 1 oz.
- Fustic - approx. 1.4 oz. (in a jar)
- Saxon Blue - approx. 1/2 oz. (in a bottle)
- Alum - approx. 3.5 oz.
- Cream of Tartar - approx. 1/4 oz.
- Packaged in a in tubed box
*Please note there might be a substitution Cochineal for Lac.*
To view our other natural dyes sold individually click here.
Saxon Blue liquid indigo : a striking, easy to use blue from the indigo plant, this recipe dates to 1740. Use only on animal-based protein fibers
Cutch (Acacia catechu) is the rich reddish brown color seen in Indian textiles. It is sweet smelling in the dye bath and yields rich red browns with long cooking times. Cutch and an alum mordant will be golden yellow-brown and requires a two hour simmer to develop its deepest shades; the addition of 10% hydrogen peroxide or 2% dissolved soda ash in the dyebath will dramatically deepen the color. Cutch combined with iron will yield a lovely chocolate brown. 4 oz. of Cutch extract will dye approximately 1.1 pound of fiber to a dark shade.
Fustic (Chlorophora tinctoria) is high in tannic acid, which makes it an ideal cotton dye; in fact, it was used in the military to dye the color khaki during World War I. On cotton, it will dye a clear gold and on silk and wool it will dye a warm gold. Fustic also provides a good base for other colors: overdyed with indigo for green; combined with madder and cochineal to make oranges; and mixed with logwood or with iron to produce olive greens. Use at 1-10% for bright to rich gold. 1.5 oz. of Fustic extract will dye approximately 1.5 pounds of fiber a medium gold shade. Fustic is thick and tends to get sticky when cold; it flows best when it's at 80 degrees or slightly warmer. If it gets cold and thickens, place the bottle in a warm area and it will pour easily. We do not recommend microwaving it, but another option is to put the bottle in a warm water bath.
Lac (Laccifer lacca) extract comes from a scale insect and the deep red colorant is extracted from a hard resinous crude shellac before it can be successfully used as a dye. The resin is known as shellac, and is used for lacquer and as a protective covering for wood. Lac is an affordable alternative to obtain pinks, purples, and burgundy reds on protein fibers using an alum mordant. You will need a small amount of citric acid to use with lac. 2 oz. of lac extract will dye approximately 1.1 pounds to a dark shade.
Logwood Extract - (Haematoxylum campechianum) originates from the Yucatan region of Mexico and is naturalized throughout Central America. It yields a rich, deep purple which was used as a base for the desirable dark purple and black colors of European royalty. Logwood by itself is not particularly lightfast, so keep from bright sunlight. With added iron, its lightfastness increases and the color darkens. 2 oz. of Logwood extract will dye approximately 4.5 pounds of fiber to a dark shade.
Made in: UNITED STATES (USA)
Fiber Preparation and Mordanting
Mordanting prepares the fibers to bond with natural dyes. We recommend using aluminum potassium sulfate (alum) as a mordant as it is considered non-toxic and you can obtain the full spectrum of colors using only alum along with a few color changers and additions to the dye pot. Scour your fibers using the procedure below if they are dirty or feel oily. We recommend that you scour all cellulose as it contains waxes that may impede the takeup of mordant and dyes.
- Weigh the dry fiber and record the weight. This is the weight of fiber, or wof.
- SCOURING WOOL or PROTEIN FIBERS: Scour fiber using 5% Orvus paste on wof. For very greasy wool or mohair, add 0.5% soda ash to the scouring water. Bring the temperature to 200°F (for wool and alpaca) or 180°F for silk. Hold at this temperature for 30-45 minutes, then rinse fiber in very hot water, spin out excess water and proceed to mordanting.
- MORDANTING WOOL or PROTEIN FIBERS: Mordant the fiber with 15-20% aluminum potassium sulfate (alum). Cream of Tartar at 6% is optional and will brighten red and yellow dye colors as well as keep wool soft. Bring to 200°F and hold for 45 minutes. Spin out excess water. Once the fiber is cool, rinse carefully and extract excess water.
- SCOURING CELLULOSE FIBERS: Scour fiber using 5.5% cellulose scour and 2% soda ash. Bring the temperature to 180° Hold at this temperature for 30-45 minutes, then rinse fiber in hot water, spin out excess water and proceed to mordanting.
- MORDANTING CELLULOSE FIBERS: Mordant the fiber with 5%-10% aluminum acetate at 100°F (you can use very hot tap water). Hold at this temperature for 45 minutes. Remove goods and air or machine dry them. Then prepare a bath of 5% calcium carbonate in enough room temperature water to easily hold the goods. Immerse the fabric or yarn in this bath for 30 minutes, then proceed to dyeing.
How much extract to use
These formulas use the percentage method of weighing the dyestuffs. For example to weigh out a medium shade of red for Madder, multiply the weight of your dry fiber (weight of goods) by the percentage. So if my fiber weighs 250 grams, I would weigh out 7.5 grams of madder powder (3%) and dissolve it in boiling water.
|Name of Extract||Light||Medium||Dark||Notes|
|Cutch||2-6%||7-14%||15-20%||Cutch loves oxygen. For deepest shades, mix and let sit overnight and then let goods simmer for 2 hours. Soda Ash at 1% and/or 1% concentrated hydrogen peroxide will redden and deepen the color if it is golden brown.|
|Fustic Liquid Extract||1-2%||4%||5-10%|
|Lac||1-3%||4-6%||7-10%||Use 3% citric acid dissolved with the lac powder, let sit and strain off the clear red lac liquid, leaving the fine sediment behind|
|Madder||0.5-2%||3%||4-8%||Calcium carbonate@1% brings out the deep red color of madder|
|Himalayan Rhubarb||1-2%||3-6%||7-10%||Stir well to dissolve powder fully.|
|Walnut Hull Powder||5-10%||11-50%||50%-100%||This is a powdered raw dye, not an extract and a larger percentage of dye material is used. At the highest percentages, it is possible to reuse the sediment and get additional lighter colored dye baths.|
|Weld||0.25-0.75%||1-2%||3%||Calcium carbonate@1% brings out the bright yellow color of weld|
Make a paste using warm water and wet out the powder. Gradually add boiling water, stirring to dissolve. Some of the dyes will get quite sticky (cutch and Quebracho) during this process. You can let both of these dyes sit for several hours or overnight and they should then be dissolved.
ADD DYES and FIBER TO THE DYE POT
Measure out the amount of water according to the ratio below. Add dissolved dyes and stir well. Add wetted out mordanted fiber. At this point, the fiber, dye and water are all in the dye pot at room temperature. Begin heating the water and bring to about 90°F, rotating the goods regularly but carefully if you have wool yarns. Too much agitation may cause felting or shrinkage. Hold at this warm temperature for 30 minutes, and bring the temperature up gradually to 180°F, rotating regularly. Hold at 180°F for 30-45 minutes rotating regularly.
LETTING DYES COOL IN THE DYE POT
This is largely a preference for dyers and is based on the fact that some dyes will continue to strike during cool down, but other dyes may shift color a bit during this process. You may want to experiment to see if you get deeper color with a dye pot cool down. Otherwise remove the goods, extract the excess hot dye water and begin the rinse process.
Using the same temperature water as your fibers, rinse the dyed goods once or twice to remove excess dye, then wash gently in a neutral liquid soap. Dry away from direct sunlight.
DISPOSING OF DYES
Any exhaust baths with dye left in them may be used to dye additional materials but these exhaust colors may be difficult to reproduce. I often have extra small skeins of wool yarn that are mordanted and throw those into the exhaust baths. Dispose of the used dye baths in accordance with your local municipal guidelines. Most utilities require that the temperature is cool and the pH of the dyebath is neutral. You can adjust pH with either white vinegar or soda ash.