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Use Madder extract

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

Dyeing with Madder Dye Extract

  1. Buy madder extract

    What is Madder?
  2. What colours does Madder extract produce?
  3. How do I use Madder extract?
  4. BFL superwash wool dyed with madder natural dye extract

    Two 100 gm hanks of BFL superwash wool dyed with 20 gm of Rubia Red madder extract

    How much wool does Madder extract dye?
  5. What is Madder extract?

1) What is madder?
Madder (Rubia tinctoria) root is one of the oldest natural dyes and has been used for many centuries in Turkey, Iran and India, for the production of beautiful carpets and wall hangings. The deep rich madder colour, Turkey red, was a closely guarded secret in this region for centuries.

2) What colours does madder extract produce?
Madder extract produces a wide range of reds from orange red, brick red, blood red to fiery reds. Madder extract produces a vibrant red colour with an alum mordant in hard water when the temperature kept below 60C. The principal pigment in madder roots is alizarin which produces the rich red but there are smaller quantities of yellow and brown pigments.

3) How do I use madder extract?
Wash and mordant the wool (follow Scouring the wool and Mordanting with alum for details).

raffia dyed with madder natural dye extract

raffia dyed with Rubia Red madder extract

Make a paste with 1 teaspoon (5 grams) madder extract and a small amount of warm water. Fill a saucepan with water and add the madder extract paste. Mix about one third of a teaspoon of chalk (calcium carbonate) with a small amount of boiling water in a container and add to the pot with the madder.

Add the pre-wetted mordanted fibre. Bring the dye bath to 60 C only for madder extract and then keep at that temperature for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring gently from time to time. Leave overnight to cool.

Controlling the temperature of the dye pot and the use of hard water determine the release of the different pigments involved. Raising the temperature above 60-70 C will produce brown-reds. If you live in a soft water area, adding half a teaspoon of chalk will produce better reds.

4) How much wool does the madder extract dye?
20 grams of Rubia Red madder extract will dye two 100 gram hanks of Blue-faced Leicester superwash wool to a medium brick red and a salmon pink colour, respectively, depending on water quality and other factors (see photo). We suggest you experiment as dye colours will vary with the type of fibre, the mordant and the quality of water.

5) What is madder extract?
Our Rubia Red madder extract is shipped as a dry dark red crystalline powder that is very stable and of high colour fastness. It is produced using processes that respect the environment and comply with organic textile certifications. Our madder dye extract is an approved dyestuff for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS 2.0) and is of consistent high quality through certified cultivation of a pure plant (Europam: the European certification for medicinal herbs) and a high level of process control during production.

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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Wild Colours natural dyes
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Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA, UK

Contact Teresinha (enquiries) on
Tel:    +44 (0)7979 770 865
email: info@wildcolours.co.uk

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Last updated on 28 December 2015
Website & photos by Mike Roberts ©2006-16 Wild Colours Natural Dyes


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