MORDANT MONDAY: Moody Hues In Black & Blue

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 was pleased to see the color range of your sappanwood extract on your blog since those blue-violet to gray hues are what I’m trying to achieve. You compare the color fastness to logwood, and I know that logwood doesn’t take well to cotton. Will sappanwood work on a 85% cotton 15% cashmere blend yarn and what should I mordant with?

KATHY ANSWERED: You can mordant with tannin and aluminum sulfate or aluminum triformate and symplocos to get a real deep color that’s long-lasting.


I am working on this project from your blog. Do I need to mordant and wheat bran bath first?

KATHY ANSWERED: No mordant or wheat bran is required before starting the process.

YOU ASKED: I saw on the gallo tannin page that mordant should come second after the gallo tannin. Is this correct for the above project (as there is no mordant listed under instructions on the black dye project page)?

KATHY ANSWERED: This is a different process. You can use tannin and alum as a mordant for cellulose fibers instead of aluminum acetate.  You can also use tannin as the first step in creating a black and no mordant is required for this. The process we use is to saturate the fiber with a tannin first, then immerse the fiber in iron, then use logwood and a small amount of yellow to make a very dark gray, nearly black. A second dip in the iron bath deepens the color. Each step takes at least 1 hour and you can repeat the steps, too.

YOU ASKED: Can you save the gallo bath for 2nd or 3rd use? if yes, how long does it last?

KATHY ANSWERED: You can reuse the bath multiple times.  When it starts creating a lighter gray, rather than a dark shade, you can recharge it with more tannin.  Remember you can use various tannins for different dark effects.

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