FEEDBACK FRIDAY: This Week in Natural Dye Questions

This week: It’s all about mordanting…

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.

I bought 4 ounces of iron powder from my local dye shop and it says to visit your website for instructions. I’m on the website but I don’t see what ratio to use for iron powder to water. (I am wanting to play with pre-mordanting cotton.) Could you let me know the ratio?

We have a “How To” article called “How to Use Iron Powder” (Ferrous Sulfate) Use it at 1-3% wof and dissolve in cold water, which is about a teaspoon for a pound of fabrics. It works quickly and at room temperature. Rinse the textile before dyeing to remove excess iron. The bath can be re-used or disposed down the drain.

I struggle to get even color on cellulose garments. It always comes out a bit streaky despite doing a proper mordant and following the other instructions. Any advice?

Unevenness can be the result of a number of factors including fabric cleanliness and mordant, type of dye, undissolved dye, enough water in the dye pot, temperature of the dye bath and the amount you stir or move the fabric around. Allowing fabrics to bubble to the top of a mordant pot or a dye pot can cause uneven marks, too.