Ground Oak Galls



Oak galls (sometimes called oak apples or gall nuts) are small to medium-sized round hard growths that are high in tannin and are an ancient mordant. They are an essential ingredient in making oak gall ink and can also be combined with iron to produce gray, purple and black shades on textile fibers.

Our oak galls are often referred to as Aleppo Oak galls as they come from the Aleppo oak tree (Quercus infectoria). The tree is native to Southern Europe, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Cyprus, Lebanon and Israel. The gall is formed when an oak leaf bud or large leaf vein from the Quercus infectoria oak is invaded by the gall wasp and the wasp lays eggs in the twig. The wasp larva exudes a chemical that creates a protective housing (the gall) on the twig so it can feed and undergo metamorphosis into adulthood. The adult wasp exits the gall leaving behind a tannin-rich ball.

Use oak galls at 10-50% weight of fiber. Alone, oak galls make a light beige color and lighten slightly when followed by an alum mordant. When dipped in an iron afterbath, the color quickly changes to a gray or “black” shade.

The ground oak galls have been crushed and sifted and may be strained and reused. For more detailed instructions, please see our how to page.

Ground oak galls are available in 100, 250 and 500 gram bags.

Oak galls come in various sizes and may be small and hard inside or larger and spongy. Catharine Ellis compared different oak galls with very interesting results.

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100g Whole Oak Galls, 100g Crushed Oak Galls, 500g Crushed Oak Galls, 250g Crushed Oak Galls, 1kg Whole Oak Galls


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