Wheat bran is the outer layer (pericarp) of the wheat kernel. It is the part that gets removed when processing wheat grains into white flour. Bran is high in fiber for dietary purposes but provides a different function altogether when used for mordanting. We like to use wheat bran mordant assist with aluminum acetate. It contains minerals that help enhance the aluminum acetate mordant and brighten dye colors. Complete instructions are in our How to Mordant section.
The amount of wheat bran mordant assist is 5% on wof, or approximately 1/3 cup per pound of dry goods. Wheat bran baths can be used several times before discarding. Wheat bran enzymes are also useful to remove starch from fibers.
Not recommended for those with wheat gluten sensitivities or allergies. Our gluten-sensitive friends have reported no problems but everyone has a different tolerance level.
Calcium carbonate also makes a good aluminum acetate mordant assist and does not contain gluten. Both wheat bran and calcium carbonate instructions are in our How to Mordant instructions for cellulose fibers.
MORDANTING CELLULOSE FIBERS
We prefer mordanting our cellulose fibers with aluminum acetate, and then following with a wheat bran or a calcium carbonate bath, and either of these ingredients help to improve the aluminum acetate’s performance. This particular method is adapted from an email conversation with Michael Garcia.
The recommended amount of wheat bran is 5% of the weight of fiber, or 4 teaspoons for 100 grams of fiber.
For wheat bran bath:
- The above 100 grams/4 ounces of mordanted fiber
- 5 grams/.17 ounces./4 teaspoons wheat bran
Enclose the wheat bran in a cheesecloth bundle if you don’t want bran bits all over your fibers. Soak the wheat bran bundle in a small bucket or container of water just off the boil. The solution will be milky.
Fill a bucket with hot water from the tap – approximately 110-120°F that is large enough to hold your mordanted fabric. If you use hot tap water, you do not need a heat source as this is sufficient heat for the bran bath. Add the bran solution and the bundle of bran to the bucket. You will notice some cloudiness and you can gently squeeze the bran bundle to extract more of the bran goodness.
Place the mordanted fibers into the bath for 30 minutes, rotating occasionally.
Remove the fibers from the bath. Do not rinse before placing into the dye bath. The fibers are now ready for dyeing.
Sold in 250g bags