Cutch Extract



Cutch (Acacia catechu) is the source of the rich reddish brown color seen in Indian textiles. It is both a dyestuff and tanning agent. It has been used in India since ancient times. To make cutch extract, cutch wood is soaked in hot water until the liquid becomes syrupy. It is then cooled, pressed and cut into cubes and dried. After that, it is ground into powder for dyeing.

Cutch extract is sweet smelling in the dye bath and yields rich red browns with long cooking times. Cutch with an alum mordant will be golden yellow brown and requires a two hour simmer to develop its deepest shades; the addition of 10% WOF (weight of fiber) drugstore grade hydrogen peroxide or 2% WOF dissolved soda ash in the dyebath will dramatically deepen and redden the color. Cutch combined with iron will yield a lovely chocolate brown. We will often soak our cutch over night to aid in hydration, then dye with it the next day.

100g of cutch extract will dye approximately 500g (1.1 pounds) of fiber to a dark reddish brown shade. For more detailed instructions, please visit our page on using natural dye extracts.

From our Feedback Friday series:

I’m dyeing wool gauze with cutch and I usually use chalk (calcium carbonate) as an after bath post-mordant when I’m working w/ cellulose fibers. Is it a necessary w/protein fibers to get a dark, rich hue?

Cutch on wool with an alum mordant tends to shift yellow/gold/buff. If you are looking for a “chocolate” brown, it’s achievable by using an alum mordant, 20% cutch and a small percentage of iron in a post bath (like 1% or less). If you’re looking for an espresso brown, then cutch + walnut (and possibly iron) will create that color.

It is also possible to develop a rich warm brown shade with  cutch by mixing it and letting it sit overnight or longer, which creates a deeper shade on any fiber or mordant variable. We also add soda ash, which changes the cutch to a deep russet. We’ve also rinsed cellulose fibers with a little soda ash after dyeing with cutch, which also moves the yellow shade to a cognac brown.

Additional information

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250 gm, 500 gm, 1000 gm

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