FEEDBACK FRIDAY: This Week in Natural Dye Questions



Each week, we are emailed with questions from our natural dye community asking simple and complex questions that we thought might be worth sharing. Here are a handful from this week answered by natural dyer in chief, Kathy Hattori, Founder of Botanical Colors:

I just saw that Pantone created Love Symbol #2, an amazing shade for my favorite musician, Prince. Do you have an idea of how to create that color?

Logwood chips used at about 50% wof with wool or silk mordanted with aluminum sulfate only (no cream of tartar) will make a rich reddish purple very reminiscent of Love Symbol #2.

You can also try our rich Logwood Purple extract, which has a very red base at 3%, again mordanted with aluminum sulfate only for wool and silk. We also dyed this on cotton with aluminum acetate and a wheat bran bath and got great, deep purple results.

You have mentioned that some dyes are from agricultural or food waste. Could you provide more details?

One of the wonderful attributes of some of the dyes is that they are derived from non-edible parts of food that would be thrown away, or are a byproduct from a manufacturing process. Pomegranate is a waste product from pomegranate peels and creates a bronze shade that makes a beautiful olive shade with iron. Walnut hulls are the spongy waste product from walnut meat processing and make a soft brown. In addition, the hard walnut shells are abrasive and used for grit for polishing, so the entire nut is useful for numerous applications. Lac is a byproduct from shellac manufacture and lac “mud” is cleaned, dried and powdered for lac dye. Some types of cutch are derived from the byproduct of making an edible ingredient in Indian confections. So not only is it a breath freshener and a digestive aid, it’s a fantastic natural dye!