Name: White Oak Gallnuts
Scientific Name: Quercus Infectoria
Oak Gallnut is one of the best tannin sources that you can use in natural dyeing in the mordanting process. It is favored by natural dyers as it does not impart a strong colour to the fabric by itself. Oak gallnut helps you to create very sharp shades of any color by assisting a mordant to bind to cellulose fibers.
How oak gallnut is produced:
Here at themazi, we collect the gallnuts from our oak forests in summer. The gallnuts are made by a type of wasp, and act as protection for the wasp larvae until they hatch, so we harvest at the right time of year to allow the life cycle of the wasp to be complete. To make doubly sure all the insects have left the galls, once picked, the gallnuts are left outside for at least two months before packaging.
Historical use of oak gallnut:
Oak gall is known to have been used since Roman times to make ink, and was the main constituent of ink for many centuries.
Curious How to Make oak ink? Read our blog.
How to use oak gallnut:
Oak galls are high in tannin and are usually used to treat cellulose fibers before the use of an aluminum-based mordant.
Ensure your fiber/fabric has been properly scoured before use.
Use 10g oak gallnut for each 100g of fiber. Break up and grind the gallnuts. Put the weighed powder into a non-reactive vessel, and pour over boiling water. Stir to release the tannin from the powder. Add enough hot water (hot from the tap/faucet is sufficiently hot) so that the fiber/fabric can be completely covered with room to stir easily. Wet the fiber/fabric and add it to the tannin bath. Cover and leave to stand overnight, stirring occasionally. To keep the tannin bath warm for as long as possible, you can cover with a lid and wrap with a towel.
An alternative method is to leave the tannin bath overnight without adding the fiber/fabric, then strain off the powder particles, reheat the tannin liquid and then add the fibre/fabric, leaving overnight again.
Ceilidh: "I discovered themazi’s natural dyes at the beginning of this year. It was the first time I dyed with madder and I was totally blown away by the colour I achieved. Super rich reds when used in conjunction with tannin and lovely salmon pinks when used with alum mordants alone.
I also tried using the tannin (oak gall powder) for the first time and it is now my go-to method of mordanting fibers.
I achieved beautiful bright yellows with the weld and I still have some other products I can’t wait to experiment with!
themazi is a great company with great ethics and lovely customer service."
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