Websites, books, supplies, equipment, tutorials, dyes, and more to get you started in natural dyeing.
What is natural dye?
Learn all about what natural dye is and how to make natural dyes in:
Where to buy natural dye: natural dyeing resources
Natural dyeing resources. These are a few of the suppliers I have used and like for natural dyeing tools and materials.
Natural dye suppliers
Maiwa – Natural dye powders, dyeing equipment and supplies. Based in Canada.
Botanical Colors – Natural dye concentrates, natural dye plant seeds.
Paradise Fibers – Natural dyes, fiber, yarn and more for fiber arts projects.
George Weil – Natural dye materials, fibers, mordants and more. Based in the UK.
Aurora Silk – Silk fiber and silk fiber dyes.
Wild Colours – Natural dye plant seeds, natural dye concentrates/powders. Based in the UK.
Earthhues – Natural dyes.
Natural dyeing equipment and materials
It is advisable to use separate equipment for dyeing and cooking. Here is the list of dye equipment and materials I use. These are the basics, you can add or eliminate the ones that work best for your projects.
Stainless steel pots won’t react with mordants or dyes making them one of the easiest types of pots to use. Other metals alter dye color slightly adding complexity to a dye project.
Having multiple different sizes of dye pot is a good idea. Depending on the amount of materials you are working with you will sometimes need a small pot or a 5-gallon pot.
5-gallon stainless steel pot
8-quart stainless steel pot
- Stainless steel stirring spoon
Consistent stirring is important if you want even dye colors. Having a stainless steel stirring spoon with a long-handle makes this easy and safe.
- Long-handled wooden spoon
Often dye pots are deep, having a long-handled spoon helps avoid getting burned by getting too close to the dye bath. A wooden spoon can be an alternative to a stainless steel spoon or an additional tool. I like having both available.
- Plastic bucket
Handy to have a bucket to fill with dye materials, excess dye bath, or fill with water to wash fiber materials.
- Plastic bins
Useful for cold (cool) water dye baths, iron washes, and other cold-water dyeing processes.
- Glass bowl
These come in useful when washing fiber materials, prepping a mordant, and at other stages in the natural dyeing process.
- Measuring cups and spoons
Have a set of measuring cups and spoons for adding mordants, dye powders, and other elements to your dye baths. These are definitely kept separate from your cooking set.
- Electric scale
Use a scale to weigh out fiber, mordants and dyes, and natural dye materials.
An indoor option for drying freshly dyed materials.
A clothesline is a great way to air dry your dyed materials outside. You can even string it up in a room if you don’t have outside access.
Use rubber gloves to protect your skin from mordants and from becoming discolored by dye baths.
Wear this whenever you are working with dye powders, mordants, or working with a mordant bath.
- Alum (potassium aluminum sulphate)
This is a metal salt that is used on fibers to assist in binding the natural dye to the surface of the fiber. It is a mordant.
Iron can be used as a mordant or in combination with other mordanting materials (as an additive).
Previously dyed material can also be dipped in a water and iron bath. This will mute or sadden the colors. This is best when applied to cellulose fibers, but it can be used lightly on protein fiber (otherwise they become brittle).
- Soybeans/soy milk
Soybeans are a natural source of mordant. To make your own soy milk see Rebecca Desnos’s book Botanical Colour At Your Fingertips.
Fibers, yarns and fabric
Paradise Fibers – Fiber, yarn, and all kinds of other fiber arts supplies and tools. Spinning, weaving, dyeing, felting supplies.
Susan’s Fiber – Fiber and yarn and other fiber art tools and supplies.
Dharma Trading – Fiber, yarn, fabric, synthetic and natural dyes and more.
Natural dyeing booklist
The Modern Natural Dyer
By: Kristine Vejar
By: Rebecca Burgess
The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing
By: Eva Lambert and Tracy Kendall
The Wild Dyer
By: Abigail Booth
By: Jackie Crook
The Natural Colors Cookbook
By: Maggie Pate
Colours from Nature
By: Jenny Dean
Botanical Colour at Your Fingertips
By: Rebecca Desnos
A Garden to Dye For
By: Chris McLaughlin
Natural Color: Vibrant Plant Dye Projects for Your Home and Wardrobe
By: Sasha Duerr
A Dyer’s Garden: From Plant to Pot, Growing Dyes for Natural Fibers
By: Rita Buchanan
Natural dyeing websites
All Natural Dyeing – Natural dyeing information and how-to tutorials.
Wearing Woad – Dyeing tutorials and project journal.
Maiwa – Natural dye store and resource site for natural dyeing tutorials and more.
Natural dyers work
Her book Botanical Colors at Your Fingertips is a great resource for dyeing with soy milk and natural dyes.
Botanical Colors is an online shop offering natural dye resources and supplies as well as a library of helpful and informative dyeing tutorials.
Natural dyeing movements
List of organizations and companies that are pursuing natural dyeing as a sustainability project