Natural Dyeing Instructions

Natural Dye Basic Handout
Raglan X Insulae Draconis Fibre Interest Group Fibre Class Track
Please note this is a preliminary handout, please check www.thepurplelotus.org for a more complete handout.

Safety First:
Dying is a task to be undertaken safely. Even natural dyes can be toxic if not handled properly.
Dye equipment must be used only for dying, never use the same equipment for cooking and dying. This can be done in your kitchen, but do not use the same pots or utensils and clean up thoroughly afterward.
Ensure the area you use is well ventilated. When dying indoors it is also recommended you use safety masks.
Do not touch any dye stuffs with bare hands, always use gloves. The dye materials will be hot when you take them out so use tongs, long handled spoons, or very thick gloves when handling freshly dyed materials.
Neutralize your dyebaths before disposal.

Basic Procedures 
Note: to ensure reproducible results keep accurate records as you dye, please see the provided Dye Record Sheet
Weigh and note the dry weight of what you are dying.
Scour what you are dying, so any chemicals used previously on the materials do not effect the colour.
Use the recommended formula to calculate the amount of dye needed, if unknown Rita Buchanan recommends using 4 ounces of fresh plant material to 1 ounce of yarn, but this is for actual plant material fresh from the garden this would greatly vary with natural dyes obtained from suppliers.
Measure dyes and mordant, if necessary.
It is recommended you use a mordant for natural dyes, though re-enactors may choose not to do so. Mordants generally provide a more rich, luxurious colour.
Prepare the dye bath- for most methods this means bringing water to a boil, it is recommended filtered or spring water be used so minerals in the water do not effect the colour.
Add measured dye stuffs. If using fresh plant material you may want to boil the material in enough water to cover the material for an hour and strain out the plant bits, then add enough warm water to the bath to hold the material being dyed.
Add any mordants/auxuliaries or you may pre-mordant the material try both methods to see what you like.
Add what you are dying- You can presoak your material in warm water so it will sink right away.It is recommended yarn be tied loosely in several places to keep the yarn from tangling during the dyeing process.
Stir occasionally, if you are keeping the dye boiling and using wool do not stir over much.
Pull the material out after 10-15 mintues to check colour. Wearing a protective glove squeeze out the excess dye to get a good look at the colour.
Once you have obtained the desired colour, take the yarn out and rinse it with warm water until the water runs clear.
Hand dyed material to dry.
Record Sheet
Date:_____________________________________________________________
Dye:________________________________________________________________
Dye Source:______________________________________________________________
Dye Form:_______________________________________________________________
Dye %:_________________________________________________________________
Dye Colours:____________________________________________________________
Fiber Content:____________________________________________________________
Weight (Dry):____________________________________________________________
Scouring Method ____________________________________________________________
Water Source:____________________________________________________________
Water Temperature:__________________________________________________________
Mordant:____________________________________________________________
Mordant Source:____________________________________________________________
Mordant %:____________________________________________________________
Mordant Source:____________________________________________________________
Mordant Process:____________________________________________________________
Process for Raw Dyestuff:______________________________________________________
Dye Process:____________________________________________________________
Time in the Dye Bath:________________________________________________________
Finishing Process:____________________________________________________________
Notes:____________________________________________________________