Aquarelle Liquid Natural Dyes
Aquarelle liquid 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.
- Saxon Blue liquid indigo: a striking easy to use blue from the indigo plant, this recipe dates to 1740. Note: Saxon Blue works best with wool, silk and animal fibers. It does not dye cotton, linen, Tencel, Modal or other plant fibers.
- Liquid Madder: one of the most ancient dyes, this is the red of Persian rugs
- Liquid Lac: a potent purple and red color from the tiny lac insect
- Liquid Himalayan Rhubarb: a rich gold from the roots, this plant is also used in traditional herbal medicine
- Liquid Pomegranate: a green-gold that makes beautiful aqua colors with Saxon Blue
- Liquid Cutch: A soft, sweet-smelling brown
- Liquid Myrobalan: A soft butter-yellow
- Liquid Tannin: A light buff
Fiber Preparation and Mordanting
Amount of Dye to Use
Note: a teaspoon is approximately 5 ml. A Tablespoon is approximately 15 ml.
- 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 90°C/200°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.
- Saxon Blue and Himalayan Rhubarb will make Olive, Sage and Bright Greens
- Saxon Blue and Pomegranate will make an Aqua and a light Teal
- Saxon Blue and Lac liquid will make Periwinkle and Medium Blue
- Saxon Blue and Cutch 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.
For more information
Please email Botanical Colors if you have any questions. Our email is email@example.com and we enjoy hearing from you. Have fun on the color journey!