FEEDBACK FRIDAY: This Week in Natural Dye Questions

This week: Dyeing cotton paper with cochineal

Every week, we are emailed with questions from our natural dye community asking simple and complex questions that we thought might be worth sharing. Of course, all of your burning questions are answered by natural dyer in chief, Kathy Hattori, Founder of Botanical Colors.

Is it possible to dye cotton or abaca paper with cochineal insects? I teach a paper making class and would like to use cochineal dye instead of pigments. We would be adding wet paper pulp to the mordant bath and dye bath.

I’m not a papermaker, but I think you can easily make a concoction of cochineal, strain them and then add them to the slurry, along with some aluminum sulfate. The color yield would be purple-pink, depending on the pH of the paper mass.

If you are planning to use concentrated extracts, dissolve some in very hot water and add that to the paper pulp.

And of course, other beautiful effects are possible if you use natural dyes to “paint” or dip the completed paper.

Related articles on cochineal:

Confused About Cochineal? Ask Kathy!

Dyeing For Dummies: The Wonders of Cochineal