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 dip in iron suphate solution will ‘sadden’ the colors.
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 or white vinegar can be added to the spent dyebath, with more fibers/fabrics simmered in this for half an hour for yellow or peach shades. Note that this dye is highly pH sensitive, so the color may change to pink on washing.
For mauve and 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.