How to Dye with Madder? (Rubia Tinctorum) by BillyNou - themazi

How to Dye with Madder? (Rubia Tinctorum) ?

How to naturally dye with madder powder, botanical color, shades of red. 

How to dye with madder root powder:

Ensure your fiber/fabric has been properly scoured before use. Depending on the effects required, different mordants may be used.

You can read our blog on scouring and mordanting.

Use 100g madder powder to dye approximately 100g of fiber, for strong tones. Place the powder into a pan and cover with hot water from the tap/faucet, enough to ensure your fabric/fiber can be moved around easily for even uptake of the dye.  Bring the dyebath to 60-70 degrees celsius (140-160F) and maintain at this temperature for an hour.  Add your wet/damp fibers and keep the dyebath at 60-70 degrees celsius for a further hour.  If you allow the temperature to get too high, you will get browner/duller colours.  Allow the dyebath to cool for several hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.  If the desired shades have not been reached, you can reheat and cool again.

To obtain more orangey shades, fibers/fabrics can be dipped in a citric acid solution or water with vinegar added after dyeing.  A copper modifier may give more salmon shades, iron duller reds and brown colours, and an alkaline modifier can shift the shades to pink.

A second use of the dyebath can often be made, which will result in paler shades than the first dyebath.  Simply reheat the bath and add more fibers/fabrics.  You may even find you can do a third batch.  

Citric acid can be added to the spent dyebath, with more fibers/fabrics simmered in this for half an hour for orange/yellow shades.  This can also be repeated for paler colours with a further batch of fibers.  Note that this dye is highly pH sensitive, so if the water you wash these fibers it is alkaline, the color will shift to pink.

For purple colors, fibers can be mordanted first with iron sulphate, but if you want to dye reds as well, a portion of the original dyebath should be taken out and the iron-mordanted fibers processed separately to avoid iron contamination in the red dyebath.  Iron-mordanted fibers/fabric should be held at 60-70 degrees celsius as for reds.

How do you dye natural fibers?

Natural Dye Madder

How do you dye fabric naturally?

BillyNou is about the wonderful process of natural dyeing I do for my brand, life, motherhood, and the trials and errors of making and crafting. I’d like to inspire others to become more conscientious, to find a connection with nature, and benefit from this immense and totally accessible energy.

 love what I do and try to live what I love. I offer you a window into my personal journey with the hope of being some benefit to you in one way or another.



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