Aquarelle Liquid Natural Dye Instructions

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Aquarelle Liquid Natural Dyes Instructions

Our Aqaurelle Liquid Dye Instructions will help explain how to use Aquarelle liquid dyes. These dyes are convenient, easy to use and produce beautiful, harmonious colors. Each dye comes from a leaf, root, bark or other natural source and has been used for generations by cultures all over the world to create humble to heirloom textiles.

Fiber Preparation and Mordanting

We offer scouring and mordanting instructions for wool, alpaca, silk (protein), cotton and plant (cellulose) fibers on these How To pages.

Calculating the Amount of Dye to Use

Calculating the amount of dye that you need can be done by first weighing the material that you want to dye. The material must be dry when you weigh it. This measurement is known as the Weight of Fiber or WOF. The amount of dye that you need is then calculated as a percentage of the WOF.

For example, an average large cotton t-shirt weighs approximately 150g. To dye it a dark brown shade with liquid cutch, you could use 20% of the weight of the shirt (30g) of liquid cutch. The following table shows general guidelines for how much of each liquid dye you should use for various shades.

Shake dyes well before use as they tend to separate.

Liquid CutchBrown1-2% WOF5-10% WOF20% WOF
Liquid Himalayan RhubarbGold/brown1-2% WOF5-6% WOF10% WOF
Liquid MadderRed1-2% WOF5-6% WOF10% WOF
Liquid MyrobalanYellow1-2% WOF5-6% WOF10% WOF
Liquid PomegranateYellow1-2% WOF5-6% WOF10% WOF
Liquid TanninBeige1-2% WOF5-6% WOF10% WOF
Saxon Blue LiquidBlue1-5% WOF10-12% WOF20% WOF

Dye Procedure

  • Measure out the desired amount of dye(s). Add to the dye pot filled with enough water so the fibers move easily without excessive crowding. Stir the pot so the dye is evenly dispersed.
  • Add the yarn or fibers to the pot.
  • Begin heating the pot until it reaches 30°C/90°F. Rotate the fibers gently to avoid felting or tangles. Hold at this temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Bring the heat up to 80°C/180°F and hold for 30-45 minutes. The dyebath should look very light or nearly clear (exhausted). You may let the fibers cool in the dyebath until they are safe to handle, except for Saxon Blue. Remove Saxon Blue after dyeing. Rinse the dyed fibers in warm water.
  • If the dyebath still contains a lot of dye, add ¼(50 ml) cup white (distilled) vinegar and continue a low simmer for another 30 minutes, then let cool overnight in the dyebath. Rinse in cool water.

Color Combinations

  • Saxon Blue and Himalayan Rhubarb will make Olive, Sage and Bright Greens
  • Saxon Blue and Pomegranate will make an Aqua and a light Teal
  • Cutch and Saxon Blue will make a Steely Gray Blue
  • Saxon Blue and Madder will make a Yellow-Brown
  • Madder with a pinch of Soda Ash will make a bright Purple
  • Madder with a pinch of calcium carbonate will make a Cherry Red
  • Cutch with a pinch of Soda Ash will make a reddish Russet
  • Myrobalan and Pomegranate used together create a rich yellow reminiscent of Indian textiles.
  • Tannin with Iron is considered the most ancient recipe for dark gray and black


  • Always closely supervise children and keep pets away when working around hot liquids and dyes.
  • We recommend using gloves when working with the dyes.  Although they are non-toxic, they can stain.  If you are chemically sensitive, you may wish to use a dust mask when measuring alum powder. Keep dyes and powders away from young children and pets.
  • Always clean up spills immediately
  • Don’t mix your kitchen utensils with your dyeing utensils
  • Dispose of exhausted dye baths by pouring down the drain.

Notes and Troubleshooting

  • If the fibers seem to be bleeding excessive amounts of dye while you are rinsing, stop and let the freshly dyed fibers air dry completely. Once the fibers are dry, then rinse and air dry.
  • Saxon Blue dyes wool best.  If using with silk, add a Tablespoon (15 ml) of white vinegar to the dye bath prior to dyeing.

For more information

Please email Botanical Colors if you have any questions on our Aquarelle Liquid Dye Instructions. Our email is [email protected] and we enjoy hearing from you. Have fun on the color journey!


Naturally dyed wool skeins