Posts Tagged ‘mordants’

This weekend I decided to dive into the world of natural dyeing. It is a long process, with a lot of measuring, boiling, and rinsing. The fabric needs to soak in the mordant bath overnight, so it is at least a two day process.

Day 1 began with scouring and mordanting.

It was 36 degrees outside at 11am when I brought the fabric out to scour. As you can imagine, it took a long time to reach boiling temperature!

Scouring is the process to get the fabric completely clean. After weighing the fabric dry (to calculate how much mordant I need later), I immersed the fabric in water with soda ash and laundry detergent, and boiled for 45 minutes. Then rinsed.

Stirring the fabric into the soda wash bath to boil. I set up a stove outside to have better ventilation during the mordanting process.

Mordants are substances that are used to fix dye to the fabric. Alum (aluminum sulphate) is the most common mordant used for cotton. Tannin (from oak galls) can also be used as well. So I tried both! After measuring the chemicals and dissolving in the water, I added the wet fabric, and brought the bath up to simmering, turned it off, and left it all to sit overnight.

My measuring station. All fabric and powders were weighed in grams on a scale.

Sounds simple, right?

Day 2 will be more fun, when I get to make colors!

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