Thursday, April 03, 2008

Indigo Recipe

I must say, I really didn't know quite what to expect trying this particular dye on reed and cane. This is my first attempt at using this particular dye as well. However, I was very unexpectedly surprised by the results. This is how I did it. This Recipe came with the Dharma Trading Company Indigo that I ordered from them, it's also on the web. One variation I did, because I had forgotten to order the Dharma Dyehouse Color Remover (Thiourea Dioxide), however, I had found another recipe in a book where the recipe called for Sodium Hydrosulfite, don't ask me, that's just what was in the recipe and when I looked at the Rit Color Remover, that was what was in it, plus Sodium Carbonate Anhydrous - I have no clue on the chemistry involved but decided to use it while waiting for my Dharma Color Remover. (Cane photo on top and Reed on the bottom)

The Recipe:

1. It is important not to heat indigo too high. 120' to 130' is considered ideal; I have seen in other recipes that call for a lower temperature; but this is just about as hot as the hand can handle to touch;
2. 1 coil of cane or reed or both; the two coils above were done out of the same Indigo dye pot;
3. 1/2 oz of Indigo dye - now I used a coffee grinder to reduce this to a power; more indigo if you want it darker;
4. 1/2 oz of Dharma Dyehouse Color Remover (Thiourea Dioxide); I used the Rit color remove for this particular batch; you add this last to your dye pot;
5. 1/2 oz of Soda Ash; and
6. 2 to 3 gallons of water - now I only used about 1 1/2 gallons of water, enough to make sure my material could be completely immersed in the dye pot. Your dye pot for this should be a light color as in stainless steel - I made the mistake of using a blue pot and found it was hard to determine when the mixture had reached a good yellow-green color without having to dip a small bowl into it to see what color it was; you need that yellow-green color to form before dipping you material into it.

Further instructions:

1. Since Indigo naturally is an extremely hard material and comes in chunks, you need to reduce it down to a paste; You can soak it over night in a cup of hot water and then blend it in a blender with the water the next day or put the dry indigo in an electric coffee grinder which reduces it to a power; I preferred the later method since I use this to reduce other dye materials to a power as well and have found that this works really well. I use just a small grinder that you can pick up anywhere fine coffee things are located; with the power you then add hot water to make a paste; now Dharma calls for straining this mixture after cooking, however, I just added the paste to my dye pot; you will get residue if you don't strain it. Add this mixture to your dye pot;

2. In a separate dish I dissolved the Soda Ash and then added that to the dye pot; this is the easiest step;

3. Now you add the Color Remover (Dharma or Rit) and stir oh so gently - you don't want bubbles to form which mean oxygen has gotten into your dye mixture;

4. Now place it over heat til it reaches 120' to 130'; mine began to steam at this point; the mixture is now starting to turn to a yellow or yellow-green; a very icky color, this is good since it means the mixture has no oxygen in it;

5. Now let it stand for 20 to 30 minutes; the mixture should now be that yellow-green murky color;

6. I had wet my cane and reed for about 1/2 hour before adding it to the dye pot; I also dipped the reed first and then the coil of cane; the cane coil being smaller in weight; I also left the ties on the coils in place while wetting and didn't remove them until I was ready to dip it into the dye mixture;

7. I then took the reed and dipped it sorta tilted to one side down into the dye mixture, I probably held it for maybe 5 or 10 seconds, this all done with the hands, so wear rubber gloves or your hands will come out a really nice indigo color as well; maybe a little longer and then took it out; when you first bring it out the color is that really sick yellow-green; I laid it in the sink, don't rinse it for at least a couple of minutes, you will need to rinse it if you don't strain the dye in the beginning since there will be some residue on it, if the reed goes clear to the bottom but wait before you do that, so the air can turn the color before hand;

8. Presto! right before your eyes, that yellow-green turns to this gorgeous blue! Amazing!

9. Just a couple of pointers here - you need to hold the reed and cane down into the dye mixture; they both have a tendency to float, so you will need to hold it down other wise any areas above the dye mixture will not dye; the process really takes a very short period of time;

10. If you would like to have the dye darker; you can re dip it until it reaches the desired darkness you want; with the reed I think you need to keep it in the dye mixture longer than I did if you want a nice rich indigo blue from it. I did the cane exactly the same way and for the same time however, it appears the cane came out somewhat darker than the reed. If the dye mixture color has turned blue again after doing the reed add additional Color Remover til it reaches that yellow-green murky color again. Always stir this mixture oh so gently so as not to form any bubbles;

11. I have heard and read that indigo is extremely tricky to dye with, however, I must say, I found it really easy and quick, so don't be afraid to give it a try!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Red Sandalwood

This is Pterocarpus Santalinus by technical name. I use it here because in some books it's called Sanders Wood or Sandal Wood. This photo is too dark. The pink color is the *wrong* side of the cane, the pink/yellow color is the *right* side of the cane.

I used the recipe for this wood similar to the Brazil Wood recipe, except I presoaked the cane in the Tin solution before putting it in the dye pot - the color after this should be a lemon yellow and although some of the cane did indeed reach a lemon yellow in color it was not consistent, so I may not have used enough. The recipe I was using called for 1 1/2 oz of Tin in the solution. I also didn't use enough of the Sandal Wood in the dye pot, so the original color of this cane was a pale salmon/yellow color. I also added some Soda Ash to the dye pot and some alum, with no change in the color resulting.

It was very pretty but not quite dark enough and too much yellow in it. So I re dyed it after seeing how well the Brazil Wood had turned out. So this cane started out pretreated with a multitude of things but the second dyeing did enhance the color significantly. It is now a richer salmon color with the yellow being subdued.

Tin or red spirits, it is sometimes called, is a main mordant for getting a red color out of natural dyes. Sometimes used with Cream of Tartar.

Some recipes call for using alcohol to soak the Sandal Wood in to unlock the red dye it contains, suggesting that this is the only method in which you can obtain the red dye.

This dye stuff takes a long time for dyeing as well.

Second Recipe:

1. 2 gals of water (my cane was no longer in a nice flat coil, so to compensate for the bunchier coil, I used 2 gals of water but normally you can use 1 gal of water);
2. Add one cup of table salt;
3. Add water softener if you have hard water;
4. Add 4 oz Sandal wood (this usually comes in a power form rather than wood chips, although both are available in some places);
5. Bring the dye pot to a boil;
6. Add the coil of cane;
7. Let is simmer for about 40 minutes or longer;
8. Take the cane out of the dye pot and add 1 tablespoon of Tin (you can always add more if necessary - the recipe suggested 1 1/2 ounces);
9. Let it simmer for another 2 or more hours.

Some recipes call for adding a pre mordant of tannin; other recipes also use Alum which also gives a really nice salmon color; and some suggest using copper as a modifier for claret-browns; and Iron modifier will make it much darker in color.

Brazil Wood

If you're looking for a really great red for cane give Brazil wood a try.

Recipe for Brazil Wood on Cane:

1. Soak 4 oz of Brazil Wood pieces in about 1 to 1 1/2 gals. of water over night; then boil it for an additional hour the next day;
2. Add 1 cup of table salt or salt of your preference;
3. Add a touch of water softener if you have hard water;
4. Add 1 lb of cane and let it simmer for about 1/2 hour;
5. Take the cane out and pour in Tin mordant to the mixture (I took 1 tbs of Tin and dissolved it in a small bowl before pouring it into the dye pot)
6. Now re add your cane to the mixture;
7. The cane will almost immediately begin to turn a deep red - let it remain in the dye pot for another 15 minutes or until you have reached your desired color - I left mine in for an additional 20 minutes.

This dye works remarkably well on cane but you won't see the red until you add the Tin to the dye pot.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

More Cutch

These photos are still from the same dye pot shown below and as you can see the color gets progressively lighter.
The very top photo is reed that was just dipped and swished in the Cutch twice. The resulting color was just enough to take away that white not dyed look that reed has.

Henna Dye Recipe

This is the recipe used for the Henna dye pictured above.

Into your dye pot put:

  1. 1 cup of salt;

  2. Now add 2 gallons of water;

  3. Stir in about a tablespoon of water softener, if you have hard water;

  4. The Henna comes in power form, so before adding it to the water, put about 1/2 cup of power into a small bowl and dissolve it in hot water;

  5. Now add the Henna paste to your dye pot;

  6. Bring the dye pot to a boil;

  7. Add your cane or reed;

  8. Simmer to the desired darkness.

Now this picture above is of honeysuckle, the dark brown died with the Cutch in the preceding recipe, the light color is the Henna. As you can see there is a very light look to it and a slight brown which doesn't show up good in the photo.

I originally tried to dye some reed in this Henna and got absolutely no color change on the reed. The reed was just as white after dyeing as it was when I originally put it in the dye pot but it looked really water logged, so I would not use this for reed again. I did not have any cane to try in it, but judging from the honeysuckle it might do better on cane.

Cutch Recipe

This is the recipe used for the Cutch dye pictured above. The above photo shows the dye on reed and cane.

Into your dye pot put:
  1. 1 cup of salt;
  2. Now add 2 gallons of water;
  3. Stir in about a tablespoon of water softener, if you have hard water;
  4. The Cutch comes in power form, so before adding it to the water, put about 1/2 cup of power into a small bowl and dissolve it in hot water;
  5. Now add the Cutch paste to your dye pot;
  6. Bring the dye pot to a boil;

  7. Add your cane or reed;

  8. Simmer to the desired darkness.

    Cutch does not need heat to dye with, however heating the dye mixture will dye much faster than say living it over night with this particular dye.

    The photo above was both cane and reed that were the first to be dyed in this dye pot, you can see you will get a nice dark chocolate brown from it.

    The 1/2 cup of Cutch really dyed a lot of reed and cane, so you might want to use say just 1/4 of a cup depending on how much material you want to dye. The 1/2 cup I used dyed 3 coils of reed and 1 coil of cane plus some honeysuckle. It was still giving me a good dye, so I also put some of the dye in a gallon plastic jar, froze it and will see if it works on any future dye batches.

    Wednesday, February 28, 2007

    Common Plants for Natural Dyes

    I'm just going to list some of the most common plants which can and are used in Natural Dyes. I've not tried all of them but just about anything is usable.

    Plants for Natural Dyes:

    • Cutch, Catechu
    • Common Yarrow
    • Hollyhocks
    • Dyer's Alkanet
    • Onions - Red, Yellow or Brown - just the outer skin is used
    • Alder
    • Dyer's chamomile
    • Barberry
    • Blackberry
    • Cranberry
    • Blue Berry
    • Birch
    • Annatto Seeds - anywhere from orange to brown depending on the mordant you use and when
    • Brazilwood - a really nice red to browns
    • Pot Marigold
    • Heather
    • Safflower - this likewise gives a color from yellows to reds
    • Fustic, Dyer's Mulberry (wood chips are used) yellows to greens
    • Coreopsis, Tickseed
    • Dyer's coreopsis
    • Yellow cosmos
    • Hawthorn
    • Turmeric (roots are used)
    • Dahlia
    • Wild/Domestic carrot, Queen Anne's lace
    • Eucalyptus
    • Ash
    • Lady's bedstraw, Yellow bedstraw
    • Dyer's greenweed, Woadwaxen
    • Logwood 9 wood chips, graules, or powder)
    • Ivy (leaves and berries)
    • Hardy hibiscus, Rose mallow (flowers only)
    • Saint-John's-Wort
    • Indigo
    • Woad, Dyer's woard
    • Henna
    • Osage orange, Bois d'arc (wood chips, shavings or extract)
    • Mahonia
    • Apple (leaves, bark)
    • Bog myrtle, Sweet gale
    • Daffodil (flowers)
    • Japanese indigo, Dyer's knotweed
    • Cherry, Plum, Peach, Almond, Apricot (leaves and bark)
    • Blackthorn
    • Bracken, Brake
    • Sanderswood, Saunderswood (powder or wood chips)
    • Pomegranate
    • Pear (leaves and bark)
    • Oak (oak galls good source of Tannin)
    • Weld, Dyer's rocket
    • Buckthorn
    • Rhubarb
    • Staghorn sumac
    • Madder
    • Blood root
    • Rudbeckia, Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan
    • Dock, Sorrel, Curled dock
    • Willow (leafy stems and bark)
    • Elder, Elderberry
    • Goldenrod
    • Rowan, Mountain Ash
    • Comfrey
    • French marigold, African marigold
    • Tansy
    • Dandelion (flowers and leaves) shades of yellows and greens
    • Elm (bark and leaves)
    • Nettle (plant tops)
    • Poison Sumac or Green Moss from trees will give you a Mauve color

    So when you have all those dandelions in your lawn - use them for dyes - using both the leaves and flowers gives you some wonderful lime greenish colors!

    Tuesday, December 26, 2006

    Photos of Baskets using these Dyes

    To see more photos of these materials made into baskets go here:

    Cherokee Baskets with these dyes

    Friday, December 15, 2006

    Cochineal Crimson Recipe

    There are a lot of variations for using this particular dye stuff. I just picked the simplest.

    Cochineal Basic Recipe:

    1. You will first need to mordant your dye material with first tannin (Tara Powder) and then twice with Alum to get the Crimson Color - letting the material dry between mordant sessions at least a day or two; (ok, I'm not patient, I just mordanted and let it dry 1 day between sessions);

    2. The dye pot is prepared at room temperature with 2 gals of water;

    3. Add 1 cup of salt and 1 to 2 tbs of water softener if necessary;

    4. ADD 1/4 cup of the Cochineal dye stuff - Powdered Cochineal; now you may find you want a darker color in which case you would add more dye stuff - I also purchased the whole Cochineal and then used my little coffee grinder to get it into powdered form - worked really well and I got a really nice powder;

    5. Add your mordanted coil of cane;

    6. Bring the entire dye pot to 160 degrees - I brought it to a simmer and then turned it down, I'm not sure what the temperature was; Leave it at this temperature until the color develops, again I left mine at this heat level for about 2 hours - mine is a medium color in the dye pot, so I'm going to leave it in the dye solution again over night to see if it will get darker in color. Nope the color does not get darker and a black residue seems to form when it cools, so taking it out of the dye pot when you remove it from the heat appears to be best. You could probably leave the cane in the dye for longer than 2 hours if it has not reached the color to want by then, however, keep it at a hot temperature.

    Now this dye stuff will produce a color anywhere from Scarlet Red to Purple; if the dye stuff gets wet before use, it will only produce purples. Other recipes call for adding at various times, oxalic acid, stannous chloride, stannic chloride for a more scarlet color. Other recipes call for oxalic acid, cream of tartar and tin spirits, stannous chloride and black oak bark. I won't go into how the *spirits* are made, but I suspect you'd need to live in the country with lots of cows around.

    If you'd like to try these other recipes you'll need the book: The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing, Traditional Recipes for Modern Use, by J.N. Liles of the three books I got this one seems to have much better directions in it for the home user. He gives the recipes for cotton and wool as well as silk. He still uses degrees for heat and ozs etc for amounts, so I'm guessing a lot of time on the amounts here, however, he also gives tbs or tsp measurements for smaller amounts. He also gives you a good many variations of materials i.e. if you don't have tannin you can use say 2 oz of Tara Powder, he also tells you where you can purchase some of the other items he uses in his recipes. And he has a number of variations to all his recipes from the simplest to the most complex. His book is available at Amazon or any other online book seller as well.

    The photo above was taken just after removing the cane from the dye pot. This seemed to lighten even after leaving it in the dye pot over night, so it might be that you would get a brighter color if you removed it after the dye solution begins to cool or after removing it from the heat. There seems to be a black residue that forms in this dye if it gets cool, so dyeing and removing the cane after a couple of hours appears to work better than if you leave it over night.

    I have also added some honeysuckle to the dye pot to see what it will do. The top photo is the Cochineal after it has dryed.

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Osage Orange Recipe

    Osage Orange Recipe:

    1. Add 1 gal of water to your dye pot;

    2. Add one cup of plain table salt - the salt works as a leveling agent, which gives you a more even dye - remember this is cane I'm dyeing so this may not work on cloth materials;

    3. Add 1 cup of Osage Orange powder/saw dust;

    4. Bring all of this to a boil;

    5. Add 1 more gal of water so you have a 2 gal dye pot;

    6. Boil for 2 hours unless you've let your Osage Orange saw dust soak over night, then boil for 1 hour;

    7. Add 1 coil of cane and boil for an additional 2 hours;

    8. Remove from heat and let soak over night. I did not let this particular batch soak overnight because I was looking for a somewhat light color and this turned dark really quick. I left it in the dye pot for about 4 hours after removing it from the heat. The finished test I took, got much lighter than it appears in the above photo, which is what I wanted.

    9. Always rinse your cane after you remove it from the dye pot.

    Now, I had used a tannin or tara powder mordant on this coil of cane prior to adding it to the dye pot. I did not use any alum because I didn't want the dye to turn too yellow, I'm looking for more of a tan color.

    Sources also suggest adding a copper modifier towards the end of the dyeing process.

    The photo at the top is the cane after it is dry and the photo at the bottom is the cane which has dried some so it's not fresh out of the dye pot. Photo of it dry coming.

    This Dye stuff is really easy to use and gives you good color on the cane.

    To see this dye in a woven basket - PHOTOS