Natural dyes give subtle and varied results depending on the method used to extract the colour. Using a mordant will help to make the colour 'stick' and improve colour fastness.
Natural dyes from plants, minerals and insects have been used for thousands of years to colour textiles.
Over the centuries, the variety of colours that can be achieved, and their wash fastness was greatly improved through experimentation with mordants such as alum, iron, tin and chrome to colour proteins such as wool, silk, hair and feathers. Although this method was not suitable for dyeing cellulose fibres such as cotton and linen, the problem was later overcome by using Aluminium Acetate rather than a mordant.
Dried plants offer subtle shades of colour such as pinks from Birch bark, purply greys from Elderberries, and yellows from the mauve flowers of Heather, and many hedgerow plants will also give a good colour.
The best place to start learning about these dyes is to invest in a good book about the subject, visit the Book Shop for more information about natural dyes.
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