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Dyeing with Iron

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Wild Colours natural dyes > mordants > iron dyeing > dye with iron

Dyeing with Iron

a) Dyeing with Iron alone

b) Dyeing with Iron and Tannin

a) Dyeing with Iron alone
Dyeing with iron produces buffs, dull yellows and oranges that are very fast to light and washing. To avoid shortening the life of the fibres too much, dye only cotton or linen and use light shades. Fibre dyed with iron, has already been mordanted and could be over dyed to unusual shades with weld, madder and other natural dyes.

You will need:

  • 10 litre plastic bucket
  • 100 grams of scoured cotton, damp
  • 15 grams ferrous sulphate
  • 5 grams soda ash

Fill the bucket full with warm water. Dissolve the ferrous sulphate in hot water and add it to the bucket, stirring well.

Add the cotton to the bucket and leave it for half an hour, stirring it from time to time. Remove from the bucket and squeeze well.

Fill another bucket with hot water, add the soda ash, stir well and then add the cotton. Leave for 15 minutes, squeeze and air. In a few minutes, the colour will change from greenish grey to orange brown. Rinse well. Buy iron (ferrous sulphate) here.

b) Dyeing with Iron and Tannin
You can also use a combination of iron salts with tannin to produce colours ranging from slate or steel to greys and light blacks. Tannic acid tends to make the final colours very dark and sombre. Cotton and linen take iron salts well.

First scour your cotton fibres, mordant with 5 grams of tannic acid per 100 grams of fibre, dye with iron salts and repeat the tannic acid and the iron dyeing until you have the desired colour.

a) What is the Iron sold for dyeing? (opens a new page)

b) Iron as a Dye Modifier (opens a new page)

c) Iron as a Mordant (opens a new page)

d) Dyeing with Iron (this page)

e) History of Dyeing with Iron (opens a new page)

f) African Mud Cloth (opens a new page)

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Wild Colours natural dyes, Studio 319, Scott House, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4DT, UK

Contact Teresinha for enquiries
Tel:    +44 (0)7979 770865
email: info@wildcolours.co.uk

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Updated on 22 April 2024
Website & photos by Mike Roberts ©2006-24 Wild Colours natural dyes


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