Mar 22, · In order to make indigo dye, you need leaves from a variety of plant species such as indigo, woad, and polygonum. The dye in the leaves doesn’t actually exist until it is manipulated. The dye in the leaves doesn’t actually exist until it is manipulated. Aug 12, · Dyeing takes place in the green form of indigo which is known, confusingly, as white indigo. The paste is mixed with ash water, fruit sugars or rice whiskey, and left to ferment. After a few days of stirring and adding sugars, it’s ready to dye with. Keeping an indigo vat alive is tricky, but Patricia has continually nurtured this vat for 25 years.
Indigo is extracted from the leaves of the indigofera tinctoria plant and is one of the few naturally occurring blue dyes. It is commonly used in India, but we are also familiar with its use dying the ever popular blue jeans.
The powdered indigo leaves are only coaxed to produce their beautifully vivid blue color through some chemical reactions.
It is much easier if you use pre-reduced indigo as I did in my latest attempt. I was pretty pleased with the results. So, I thought I would share a tutorial with you on my supplies and process. First off, the supplies you will need. Any natural fiber will work well. That makes things so much easier, and allows for the use of soda ash instead of lye to create the dye vat.
My indigo was from Jacquardand I pretty much followed the directions available on their website, with a few changes. You will also need a clean 5 gallon bucket. I got mine from the hardware store. It is important that it have a tight fitting lid, and white would be nice. Mine is black and it is what washing machine is the best reviews to tell the color of the dye…more on that later. For a 5 gallon sized dye vat, I used 4 gallons of warm tap water.
Easy enough! The other ingredients were listed in grams, so I had to do some conversion. I ran into how to use digital insulation tester problem finding the Sodium Hydrosulfite. I had a pocket of time that I needed to do this project in, so was trying to find something that I could get quickly.
After some research, I found that Thiourea would work what department store held the first thanksgiving parade, so was able to order that. On previous dye sessions with indigo, I used spectralite. Since I am not a chemist, I am not sure whether those are actually the same or not… but I gave it a try and it seemed to work. I did take some precautions to make sure I used gloves, had eye protection, and was careful to not breathe any fumes when I first mixed it all together.
The soda ash is a much easier, and more inexpensive, item to come by, and in fact I already had some on hand for my other natural dye projects.
It serves to raise the pH level to the required level. To dye animal fibers like wool or silk, you need a pH of 9. For plant fibers like cotton or linen, you need a pH level of To measure my ounces, I used a postal scale, and what can you mix with bacardi gold cottage cheese container.
Weigh the container first, then add on the amount that you need. For example, since my container weighs 0. You will also need a stir stick long enough to reach the bottom of your bucket, rubber gloves, a pan to put your fabric in while it oxidizes I used a disposable aluminum cake panand a plastic sheet under how to cable a patch panel bucket to catch any drips.
Water will bubble like when you mixed vinegar and baking soda as a kid. Gently, but thoroughly stir the vat keeping your circular movement going in one direction.
The idea is that you do not want to stir so vigorously that you create bubbles, splash, or in any way introduce oxygen into your dye vat since the indigo reacts with oxygen.
Slowly remove the stir stick, and cover the vat with the lid. Allow it to settle for at least minutes. Longer if you are preparing a larger vat. After the vat is settled, remove the lid.
The top of the dye bath may be covered with a thin blue skin, or a foamy flower. The photo above makes this skin look gold, but that is because it is iridescent and is reflecting the light. Wearing your gloves, gently move the skin aside. I actually used a piece of cardstock to do this, and have the bonus of a lovely piece of cardstock to use in collage!
The dye bath should be a clear yellow, or yellow-green color under this skin. It was hard to tell in my black bucket, what is lay in betting I had to rely on whatever I pulled out being green for a few seconds before oxidizing to blue.
When ready to dye, fold, tie, stitch or bind your fabric or garment…. Thoroughly wet or soak your fabric in water, squeezing out excess water. Have a clean pan at the ready to receive your dyed fabric. Wearing gloves, squeeze out water and air in your fabric as you lower it into the dye vat. Once the fabric is submerged, manipulate it to make sure all the dye has penetrated all the unbound areas evenly.
When removing the fabric from the indigo vat, squeeze it below the surface as you gradually pull it out, trying to minimize introducing oxygen to the vat. The fabric will initially look a yellow green, but will quickly begin to turn blue as it comes into contact with the air. Replace the lid on the vat, and set the fabric aside to oxidize for 20 minutes. I left the fabric bound at this point. Once you are satisfied with the color remember that it will look darker when wetunbind the fabric, and rinse away any remaining indigo with clean water.
If you want it more intense then repeat the dipping process again. If you are done with your indigo dye, you can dispose of it down the drain and clean up your container and utensils with soap and water. But, if you think you will want to do some more dying, you can keep a dye vat for several days or even weeks by taking care of it. If the how to make indigo dye begins to seem weak, you can simply add more of the chemicals and pre-reduced indigo.
Allow an hour before using. You are supposed to store the vat where the temperature stays in the degrees Fahrenheit range, but my studio area drops to around 60 degrees and the dye process still seemed to work okay. Your email address will not be published.
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The Natural Indigo Dye Process
With your stick, stir gently towards one direction until the indigo dye is dissolved in the water. Step 4. While stirring, carefully empty the soda ash and the reduction agent into the water. Step 5. Continue to stir gently but thoroughly. Always stir in one direction with a circular motion. Once you feel the dye is properly mixed, slow down. Jun 29, · First, you need to gather a lot of the indigo producing plants. Once you have a lot of cut stems, pack them tightly into a dark colored plastic tub. Add water to cover the stems and weight them down with mesh topped with stones. Cover the tub and allow fermentation to take place over 3 to 5 days. Once you choose your banding technique, the rest of the process is the same. After banding, thoroughly soak your project in water to saturate the fabric. Next, soak your fabric in the indigo dye (use gloves to keep you from turning blue, too).
Though the process of turning green leaves into brilliant blue dye through fermentation has been practiced for thousands of years , it still feels magical. Most natural dye colors are derived from bark, berries, or leaves that can be boiled down and dyed with—but the process of making blue dye is much more difficult.
Every community—places like Mexico, Nigeria, and Japan—has its own spiritual rituals, recipes, and techniques for creating natural indigo dye. In India, the birthplace of indigo, dye paste is dried into cakes for easy transportation and trade. Since Levi Strauss created his first pair of workwear blue jeans with indigo in , though, the process has changed remarkably.
But when I first witnessed the wondrous natural process of making indigo from plant to paste at a small studio in Thailand, I fell in love with the traditional process and the brilliant color it produces. This is the real deal. I have returned again and again to Studio Naenna in Chiang Mai to learn from esteemed author and artist Patricia Cheesman who has been practicing this art form for 25 years.
By September or October, the plants are ready to be pruned and used for making dye. We bundle the small leaf Indiofera tinctoria leaves together using stems as ties. The larger leaf varieties of indigo like Strobilanthes flaccidifolius can go straight into the bins. The water and lime must be beaten for about 20 minutes — dipping the bowl in and out — oxidizing the mixture. The water changes from murky green to peacock blue to a frothy navy color.
When the mixture turns frothy and navy-colored it is almost ready. After the indigo paste precipitated to the bottom of the bin overnight, we carefully removed the brown water from the top.
The paste is then collected by pouring it over mesh collecting debris then though a fine cotton cloth. This is natural indigo paste, which can be stored in plastic bins for one to two years and used for dyeing later. Notice the beautiful variations in color. Dyeing takes place in the green form of indigo which is known, confusingly, as white indigo. The paste is mixed with ash water, fruit sugars or rice whiskey, and left to ferment. Keeping an indigo vat alive is tricky, but Patricia has continually nurtured this vat for 25 years.
Tie dye and Japanese Shibori are created by tying, rolling, stitching, and folding white cloth before dyeing. The tied-up portions of cloth remain white while the exposed areas turn blue in the indigo vat. Cloth coming out of the white indigo vat has a green appearance but quickly turns blue with oxidation. Creating a light or a dark blue cloth requires multiple dips as indigo platelets are layered onto the cloth or yarn. Contribute a Story. Contact Us. Share Tweet. The Process: Indigo from Plant to Paste.
Step 2: Bundling We bundle the small leaf Indiofera tinctoria leaves together using stems as ties. Step 3: Soaking Water is added to the bins. Heavy stones are used to press the color from the leaves during an overnight soak. The covered bins need to sit for about 24 hours, depending on the weather. Like magic, the water has fermented overnight and turned blue.
Step 4: Removing the bundles The bundles are drained and removed. The plants are used for fertilizer. Step 6: The Beating Process Part One The water and lime must be beaten for about 20 minutes — dipping the bowl in and out — oxidizing the mixture.
Step 7: Collecting the paste Part One Patricia prepares the cloth for paste collection. Step 7: Collecting the paste Part Two After the indigo paste precipitated to the bottom of the bin overnight, we carefully removed the brown water from the top. Step 7: Collecting the paste Part Three This is natural indigo paste, which can be stored in plastic bins for one to two years and used for dyeing later. Step 8: Preparing the vat Dyeing takes place in the green form of indigo which is known, confusingly, as white indigo.
Step 9: Tie Dye and Shibori Tie dye and Japanese Shibori are created by tying, rolling, stitching, and folding white cloth before dyeing. Step Dyeing Part One Cloth coming out of the white indigo vat has a green appearance but quickly turns blue with oxidation. Step Dyeing Part Two Different shades of indigo after one or multiple dips in the vat.
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