Alum (Aluminum sulphate)
Alum (Aluminum sulphate)
Used as a MORDANT in natural dyeing, which allows the plant pigments to bond with the fibres. This is Potassium aluminum sulphate, the preferred form of alum for use as a mordant. This IS NOT pickling alum and should not be consumed. Used mainly on protein fibres such as wool, alpaca, silk. Usually used in combination with cream of tartar. Many natural dyers do a premordanting of the fibre with alum, while others add it directly to the dyebath (particularly with loose fibre such as fleece). Also sometimes used in combination with tannic acid to premordant cellulose fibres such as cotton. TO USE: calculate mordant required for 8 to 15% WOF (weight of fibre) and 4 to 6% WOF cream of tartar. Weigh and dissolve in hot water. Fill pot with sufficient water for the fibre to move, add alum and cream of tartar and stir. Enter fibre. Bring to 180-200°F and hold 1 hour. Stir yarns frequently but fleece only occasionally. Cool overnight, then wash in soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Dye immediately or dry the yarns to dye later. Spent mordant solution may be safely disposed of down the drain (except for septic systems). It also may be poured around garden plants that prefer acidic soil conditions. CAUTION: wear a mask when handling powders. Wear gloves when using alum, particularly when rinsing or handling wet yarns as it is very drying to the skin. Best done outdoors or with very good ventilation.
$2.20$7.20 Select options
Aluminum acetate
Aluminum acetate
July 21/21 - currently out of stock. Our supplier expects more to arrive towards late September/early October. Used as a MORDANT in natural dyeing, which allows the plant pigments to bond with the fibres. NOT THE SAME AS ALUM!! Aluminum acetate is used as a one-step mordant on cellulose (plant) fibres such as cotton, linen and well worth experimenting with on rayon fibres (including Tencel), bamboo, ramie, hemp and others. This is a more expensive but faster means to get natural dyes to stick without the more traditional alum/tannic acid premordanting method. TO USE: weigh dry fibre and scour if needed (especially cotton). Calculate mordant required for 5% WOF (weight of fibre). Weigh and dissolve in hot water. Fill pot with sufficient water for the fibre to move, add mordant and stir. Enter fibre. Bring to 190-200°F and hold 1 hour. Stir yarns frequently. Cool overnight, then wash well. Dye immediately or dry for later. Spent mordant solution may be safely disposed of down the drain (except for septic systems). It also may be diluted and poured on the ground, for instance on a gravel driveway or path. CAUTION: wear a mask when handling powders. Wear gloves when handling powder or solutions, particularly when rinsing or handling wet yarns. Best done outdoors or with very good ventilation.
$7.55$34.20 Select options
Citric acid
Citric acid
Used in place of vinegar, as a MORDANT on protein fibres when working with acid dyes or food colouring. Many production dyers switch to citric acid because buying jugs and jugs of vinegar gets too expensive, and vinegar makes your house smell like a pickle factory. Citric acid is odour free! TO USE: dry crystals may be easily weighed at 5 to 8% WOF (weight of fibre). Follow dye instructions for the recommended acid amounts. Just as with vinegar, the point at which you add the acid to the dyepot can make a substantial difference in the end results. Same goes for hand painting and other methods. TO MIX A VINEGAR SUBSTITUTE: add 200g (approximately 1 cup) of citric acid crystals to 4L of hot tap water in an empty vinegar jug. Cap and shake well until dissolved. This makes a 5% solution that can be measured and used exactly the same as for vinegar in your dye recipes. Dye solutions containing citric acid may be safely disposed of down the drain (other than septic systems). Some dyers use baking soda to first neutralize the spent dyebath. CAUTION: wear a mask when handling powders. Wear gloves when handling citric acid powder, as it can cause skin burns. Avoid breathing fumes (just as with vinegar): dye in a well ventilated area.
$2.75$9.00 Select options
Mordants @ The Fibre Garden
Copper sulphate
Used as a MORDANT in natural dyeing, which allows the plant pigments to bond with the fibres. Copper tends to take the dyed yarn colours towards the brown and green ends of the spectrum. A natural dye that comes out bright yellow with an Alum mordant will look very different with copper. Used mainly on protein fibres such as wool, alpaca, silk. Although we love to use copper as a premordant, many dyers simply use it after dyeing to push the colours a different direction. To do this, add only 25% by weight of the usual premordanting amounts. Dissolve in hot water. Remove fibre from the dyebath, stir in the copper solution, re-enter the fibre and heat for another 15 minutes. Cool and rinse as usual. TO USE: weigh the dry fibre. Calculate mordant required for 2% WOF (weight of fibre) and white vinegar at 40ml per 100g fibre. Weigh copper and dissolve in hot water. Fill pot with sufficient water for the fibre to move, add copper, vinegar and stir. Enter fibre. Bring to 180-200 deg F and hold 1 hour. Stir yarns frequently. Cool overnight, then wash well. Dye fibre immediately or dry for later use. These directions that include vinegar are recommended by Jenny Dean in her various natural dye books. Older recipes tend to use 8% copper sulphate all by itself, as a premordant. Spent mordant solution is best disposed of on the ground, such as a gravel driveway. Keep well away from tree roots and anywhere that may drain to a pond or water feature, since copper sulphate is toxic to plants, fish and other aquatic life. CAUTION: wear a mask when handling powders. Wear gloves when using copper, particularly when rinsing or handling wet yarns as can be absorbed by the skin. BEST DONE OUTDOORS or with very good ventilation. Avoid breathing fumes.
$4.40$18.00 Select options
Glauber’s salt
Glauber’s salt
Sodium sulphate. Used as a LEVELLER in both synthetic and natural dyeing. Glauber's salt slows down the colour uptake of the dye, encouraging more even and level strike. This is particularly useful when dyeing soft pastel shades. TO USE: Calculate amount required for 10 to 50% WOF (weight of fibre), lower amounts for softer shades, higher amounts for deeper colours. Dissolve in hot water and add in stages during dyeing, as the bath temperature rises but before dye strikes. Dispose of spent dyebath in your usual way. Down the drain is fine. CAUTION: wear a mask when handling powders.
$4.00$7.20 Select options
Iron sulphate
Iron sulphate
Used as a MORDANT in natural dyeing, which allows the plant pigments to bond with the fibres. Iron darkens or "saddens" colours. It takes only a tiny amount to do this, and one must be careful with iron: too much will harshen or damage fibres. If you use iron with any regularity, consider having a dedicated pot for this purpose, as it sticks to pot surfaces and will affect the colour of future dyebaths. A chipped enamal pot is perfect. Used mainly on protein fibres such as wool, alpaca, silk. Although it can be used as a premordant, most natural dyers use iron to alter the colour at the end of the dyeing process. If you prefer to premordant, follow the usual steps using iron at 6% WOF. TO USE: Weigh fibre before wetting. Dye in the bath of your choice, with or without an alum premordant. Calculate iron mordant required for 2% WOF (weight of fibre). Dissolve iron in hot water. Remove fibre from warm dyepot, stir in dissolved iron and re-enter fibre. Simmer for 5 minutes, cool then wash and rinse well. Spent mordant solution may be safely disposed of by pouring in the garden. Iron sulphate is a common soil amendment in agriculture and horticulture. CAUTION: wear a mask when handling powders. Wear gloves when using iron, as it stains skin easily. BEST DONE OUTDOORS or with very good ventilation. Avoid breathing fumes.
$2.20$7.20 Select options
The Fibre Garden
Oxalic acid
Used occasionally as an ASSIST in natural dyeing. Oxalic acid will alter the shades of cochineal dyebaths, pushing them towards brilliant orange-red. Also used to help absorption of Tin when premordanting. Dissolve with the tin in hot water at 2% WOF then add to premordanting water, mix and enter fibre. TO USE: with cochineal baths, use at 2% WOF (weight of fibre). Dissolve first in hot water then mix into dyebath before entering fibre. Dispose of spent dyebath on the ground. CAUTION: POISON!!! Wear a mask when handling powders, absolutely wear gloves at every stage with Oxalic acid. MUST BE DONE OUTDOORS: fumes can be an extreme irritant.
$6.00$10.80 Select options
Soda ash
Soda ash
Used with fibre reactive dyes as a colour FIXATIVE. Soda ash raises the pH and allows the dye to bond with the fibre. Generally used only with cellulose (plant) fibres such as cotton or flax. Also known as washing soda or sal soda, though this is a more pure form that the washing soda sold in supermarkets. Also sometimes used in natural dyeing to create more alkaline conditions, and thus altering the colour with certain plants. Extensively used for indigo vat dyeing. TO USE: Follow dye manufacturer’s directions for amounts and timing. Dispose of spent dyebath in the usual way, most likely down the drain. CAUTION: Wear a mask when handling powders. Wear gloves, can be a skin irritant.
$4.40$8.00 Select options
Tannin Blend
Tannin Blend
This is a blend of NATURALLY-SOURCED Tannin, usually from Quebracho and Sumac, possibly others. It will leave your plant fibres or fabrics a soft red-brown base colour before using other dyes. Used mainly on as a MORDANT on cellulose fibres such as cotton, usually in combination with Alum. TO USE: weigh dry fibre. Calculate mordant required at 15 to 20%% WOF (weight of fibre) each of Tannic Acid and Alum. Weigh mordants and dissolve in hot water in separate plastic or non-reactive containers. Add wetted fibre to Alum solution and soak for 12 to 24 hours. Rinse and place in Tannic Acid solution for 12 to 24 hours. Rinse again and place back in Alum solution for 12 to 24 hours. Wash and rinse well, then dye or dry for later use. Spent mordant solution may be safely disposed of down the drain (except for septic systems). It also may be poured around garden plants that prefer acidic soil conditions. CAUTION: wear a mask when handling powders. Wear gloves when using tannins, particularly when rinsing or handling wet yarns as they can cause skin irritation and staining.
$5.83$23.85 Select options
Thiourea Dioxide
Thiourea Dioxide
Sometimes called Thiox. Used in the INDIGO VAT dye process, thiox removes oxygen from the vat solution, allowing the indigo to work its magic. Thiox is also a colour remover, and is used for that purpose in discharge dyeing, to create white patterns on a coloured background. TO USE: Follow the specific indigo vat recipe, for amounts and timing. Dispose of spent dyebath in the usual way, most likely down the drain. Thiourea dioxide has a shelf life but it's longer than some things you read might indicate. If the powder has a distinctive yellow look, it has probably oxidized to some degree and may no longer be effective. Store in a cool, dry place out of the light i.e. in a cupboard in the house, not out in the garage. CAUTION: Should be done OUTDOORS ONLY or with excellent ventilation. Avoid breathing fumes. Wear a mask when handling powders. Wear gloves.
$7.67$31.46 Select options
The Fibre Garden
Tin Mordant
Used as a MORDANT in natural dyeing, which allows the plant pigments to bond with the fibres. Tin (Stannous chloride) brightens colours and really makes them "pop". However, it is one of the trickier mordants to use, and rather expensive. Some dyers prefer to premordant with tin, while many simply add "a pinch" at the end of the dye process, and heat the fibre for another fifteen minutes or so, cool and then rinse as usual. The amount recommended for this is only 25% of the usual premordanting amounts, below. Used mainly on protein fibres such as wool, alpaca, silk. Tin can make fibre feel harsh and brittle, so do not exceed the recommended amounts. Yarns can also easily scorch during tin premordanting. Do not pack the pot too full of fibre! An upturned rack, marbles or stones can help keep yarns off the bottom of your pot. TO USE: Weigh fibre. Calculate mordant required for .5 to 2% WOF (weight of fibre). Weigh tin and dissolve in hot water. Fill pot with sufficient water for the fibre to move, add tin and stir. Enter fibre. Bring to 180-200°F and hold 1 hour. Stir yarns frequently. Cool, remove fibre and wash well. Dye immediately or dry for later. Some dyers add cream of tartar at 5-10% WOF with tin. Spent mordant solution may be safely disposed of by pouring in a gravel driveway or path. CAUTION: wear a mask when handling powders. Wear gloves when using tin, as it can be absorbed by the skin. BEST DONE OUTDOORS or with very good ventilation. Avoid breathing fumes.
$9.70$39.29 Select options
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Titanium oxalate
Used as a MORDANT in natural dyeing, which allows the plant pigments to bond with the fibres. Titanium is used both on protein and cellulose fibres, giving vibrant orange and gold tones when dyes contain tannins. As a mordant, this is relatively new and not much information abounds in books or even online. It may be the closest thing now available to replace chrome, which nobody much uses any longer. TO USE: weigh the dry fibre or yarn. Calculate mordant required for 8 to 15% WOF (weight of fibre). Dissolve in hot water. Fill pot with sufficient water for the fibre to move, add titanium and stir. Enter fibre. Bring to 180-200 degrees F and hold 1 hour. Stir yarns frequently. Cool, remove fibre and wash well. Dye immediately or dry for later. Some interesting results are being produced doing Eco-Printing on fabric, using Titanium as a mordant. We cannot seem to find much information on safe disposal of a Titanium mordant bath. Nothing we've found indicates it to be particularly toxic or harmful to plumbing or sewer systems, but to be on the safe side it may be best to dispose of this outdoors on a gravel driveway or similar place. CAUTION: wear a mask when handling powders. Wear gloves when rinsing or handling wet yarns. BEST DONE OUTDOORS or with very good ventilation. Avoid breathing fumes.
$19.80$81.00 Select options