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Dye extract strength

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Wild Colours natural dyes > natural dye extracts > using weld extract

Strength of Natural Dye Extracts

4 shades from sorghum natural dye extract

3 shades from persian berry natural dye extract

2 shades from logwood natural dye extract

sorghum dye extract

persian berry extract

logwood dye extract

I set up an experiment to check how much wool the different dye extracts dyed, and how soon they became exhausted. I placed 1 gram of dye extract in a coffee jar, dissolved the extract in warm water and then, put the jar in a bain mairie. I had previously prepared several dozen 10-metre hanks (about 6 grams each) of handspun blue-faced Leicester wool, mordanted with alum and with cream of tartar. I placed one presoaked 10-metre hank in the jar, simmered it gently for 40 minutes, turned the heat off and left the hank in the dye bath overnight. The next morning I removed that hank and added another one. I repeated this process until the hank came out a pale colour.

Gallery of samples dyed with natural dye extracts


Most extracts produced a wide range of beautiful shades.

  • Cochineal extract was strong enough to dye 5 hanks; several extracts dyed two hanks, and a few dyed only one hank a pale colour. Below is a list of the extracts I have experimented with so far:
  • Madder: produced a vibrant colour (temperature kept below 60C). Strong enough to dye 3-4 skeins – dark, medium, light and pale reds.
  • Weld: produced no colour until I added 1 gram of calcium carbonate. Only strong enough to dye two skeins, dark and pale.
  • Coreopsis: produced a warm yellow straight away and was enough for two skeins.
  • Oak: A pale beige colour, enough for 1 skein only.
  • Sorghum: exciting very dark mauve colour, enough for 4 skeins. Powder tends to settle in the bottom of vat and needs stirring vigorously between yarns
  • Cochineal: enough for 5 skeins with colour variation from deep rose to pale pink using rain water. The water was almost clear at the end.
  • Pomegranate: a pale beige colour, enough for 1 skein only.
  • Cutch: produced one medium warm brown skein and two pale brown skeins.
  • Lac: needs boiling for 40 minutes before skeins are added; the first skein was an exciting very dark, burgundy red colour, enough for 4 skeins.
  • Dyers Greenweed: like weld, it produced no colour until I added 1 gram of calcium carbonate. A strong extract, producing 4 skeins ranging from bronze-green yellow to primrose yellow.
  • Logwood:  1 gram was enough to dye 7 skeins and there even then the dye was not exhausted. The first skein was purplish black, the second dark brown and the others a very attractive strong medium brown. Note: If you want purple colours, I suggest using the logwood chips.
  • Chlorophyllin:  I was very impressed with this exciting extract that produced a delightful range of greens, quite different from the range of greens that I get from overdyeing woad and weld. 1 gram of chlorophyllin dyed 4 skeins ranging from forest green to sea green.
  • Old Fustic: produced 3 skeins, ranging from a very strong rich dark yellow to peachy yellow. Those colours are very distinctive from the yellows produced by weld, greenweed or coreopsis.
  • Persian berries: produced 3 skeins, a bronze yellow, rich orange and pale warm yellow.


Learn more about dyeing with natural dye extracts:

brazilwood extract

coreopsis extract

cutch extract

fustic extract

gallnut extract

greenweed extract

lac extract

logwood extract

madder extract

myrobalan extract

persian berry extract

weld extract


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Last updated on 28 November 2016
Website & photos by Mike Roberts ©2006-16 Wild Colours natural dyes

 

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