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.

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