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Dye extract strength

        Wild Colours - Exciting colours from Natural Dyes


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

chlorophyllin extract

cochineal extract

coreopsis extract

cutch extract

fustic extract

gallnut extract

goldenrod extract

greenweed extract

lac extract

logwood extract

madder extract

myrobalan extract

persian berry extract

sorghum extract

weld extract

ALL natural dye extracts

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Last updated on 16 January 2018
Website & photos by Mike Roberts ©2006-18 Wild Colours natural dyes


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