MORDANT MONDAY: If It’s Tannin Rich Do You Need Mordant?

We get mordant questions all the time at Botanical Colors so why not create Mordant Monday??? Got mordanting questions? Email [email protected]

YOU ASKED: I’ve read that natural dye materials with a high tannin level don’t need a mordant to dye wool. I have a rain barrel that collects run-off from the roof. The roof is under a huge maple tree, which over the course of the seasons, drops flower clusters, seeds, leaves and sticks onto the roof. This turns the runoff water in the rain barrel a brownish color. I believe this is due to the tannin in these items? If I use this water for soaking the fibers and making the dye bath, do I need a mordant? I realize that it could affect the end result, probably dulling or tipping the color towards a brown/tan. Thank you.

KATHY ANSWERED: It sounds as if this water contains tannin, and you can experiment and see what the results are using the method you are describing. If you get results that you want to change, then you can always post-mordant with aluminum sulfate to brighten or bloom colors.

YOU ASKED: I’ve been using a plastic bucket with aluminum triformate. I just upgraded to a better plastic bucket. Is it safe to wash the original one and use it for other things? Or for other dye related purposes in the future?

KATHY ANSWERED: You can continue to use the clean bucket for dye related purposes, or any general outside use. I would avoid using it for anything food related.

Read more Mordant Monday questions and answers here.