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Plant a Dyers Garden

 

Even if you don't use the following plants for dying:
they make a colorful garden!!
YELLOWS
Agrimony
Ash--Fraxinus americana inner bark
Barberry--Berberis vulgaris- twigs
Beetroot (yellow) (alum & K2Cr2O7)
Black oak bark--Quercus velutina
Broom, the tops and flowers
Burdock
Cameleon plant (golden)
Calendula
Celery (leaves)
Chamomile
Cloth of Gold Yarrow
Daffodil flower heads (after they have died); alum mordant
Dahlia flowers- yellow-green
Dandelion flower
Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) with alum mordant. Pick flowers as they begin to bloom.
Goldthread (Coptis trifolia) - roots cooked with cloth
Hickory leaves (yellow) leaves are boiled and salt added.
Horsetail (Equistum arvense) - whole plant - yellow- green
Jewelweed /Orange Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens capensis) - boiled juice and flowers
Juniper leaves
Marigold (blossoms)
Marsh marigolds
Mullen (leaf and root) pale yellow
Onion (skins)
Oregon Grape (Berberis repens)
Osage Orange (heartwood, inner bark, wood, shavings or sawdust) (pale yellow)
Oxeye daisy- shades of yellow using an alum mordant.
Paprika - pale yellow - light orange)
Peach leaves, dried
Polygonum persicaria, white
Queen Anne's Lace- Using alum for mordant,
Queen of the Meadow- tops
Ragweed
Red Clover (whole blossom, leaves and stem); alum mordant; Gold.
Rhubarb roots
Safflower
Saffron (yellow)
Snowberries
St Johnswort flowers (boiled)
Sumac (bark)
Syrian Rue (glows under black light)
Tea Camellia sinensis ( ecru color)
Sassafrass albidum
Tulip Tree leaves
Turmeric
Weld (bright yellow)
White mulberry tree (bark) Cream color onto white or off-white wool. Alum mordant.
Willow (leaves)
Yellow coneflower (whole flower head); chrome mordant; Brass to Greeney-Brass.
Yellow, Curly, Bitter, or Butter Dock ( bright yellow taproot)
 
ORANGE
Annato Seed (Bixa Orellana) good dye for cotton.
Barberry (mahonia sp.) yellow orange (with alum) very strong & permanent. Any part.
Bloodroot will give a good orange to reddish orange color.
Carrots
Giant Coreopsis (Coreopsis gigantea) permanent with alum.
Golden Margurite
Ladies bedstraw roots
Lichen (gold)
Madder root
Onion skin
Orange dahlia flowers
Paprika
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) (leaves)
Tansy shoots
Turmeric dyed cloth will turn orange or red if it is dipped in lye.
 
GREENS

Agrimony
Angelica,
Artemisia species provide a range of greens.
Artichokes
Barberry root (wool was dyed a greenish bronze-gold)
Betony
Black-Eyed Susans
Bristly Crowfoot (Ranunculus pennsylvanicus)- boil whole plant Broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus) stalks, leaves
Carrot leaves--Daucus sp.
Coltsfoot
Fellis plant
Foxglove
Grass (yellow green)
Horsetails--Equisetum arvense- young tops
Ivy berries- ripe
Hyssop
Lily-of-the-valley (light green) be careful with the spent dye bath. The plant is toxic, avoid pouring it down the drain.
Marjoram
Nettle(roots, stalk, leaves)
Plantain Roots & leaves boiled
Privit leaves
Red onion (skin) (a medium green)
Rosemary
Spinach (leaves)
Sweet Cicily
Tansy,
Yarrow

 
BROWNS

Acacia Catechu- Cutch is a very easy dye.
Acorns (boiled)
Alder-- Alnus sp.
Amaranth
Apple--Malus sp. Rust
Beech--Fagus grandifolia Rust
Beetroot (Dark Brown With FeSO4)
Buckeye husks reddish- brown
Burdock
Butternut--Juglans cinera
Coffee
Comphrey
Fennel
Geranium
Hemlock--Tsuga canadensis
Hickory bark (Juglans cinerea)
Juniper berries
Larch needles
Mahogany sawdust
mountain laurel, leaves
Oak bark- tan or oak color.
Onion
Paintbrush plant -beige
Pyracantha twigs
Red maple-Acer rubrum
Red Oak (Quercus rubra) - inner bark - red-brown
Rosemary & Sage leaves
Speckled Alder (Alnus rugosa) - inner bark - brown and red
Sumac (leaves)
Walnut (hulls) (deep brown)(wear gloves)
Walnut-- Juglans nigra
White Oak (Quercus alba) - inner bark - brown
Wild plum root will give a reddish or rusty brown.
Yellow dock (produces shades of brown on wool)

 
GRAY / BLACK

Alder bark
Buckthorn berries
Butternuts
Iris (roots)
Sumac (leaves)
Carob pod (boiled) will give a gray to cotton
Hopi Indian Dyer's Sunflower - lavender/gray
Logwood (Condalia obovata) - black
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulma) Root
Poplar
Raspberry leaf
Walnut husks
Yellow Flag Iris root


BLUES TO PURPLES

Beech
Blackberry (strong purple)
Black currants
Black huckleberries
Blueberries
Cherry (roots)
Cornflowers
Elderberries (lavender)
Grapes (purple)
Indigo Natural: (Indigo Tinctotia)
Japanese indigo (deep blue)
Larkspur
Mahonia (Oregon grape) berries
Meadowsweet flowers
Mulberries (royal purple)
Nearly Black Iris - (dark bluish purple)
Red cabbage
Red Cedar Root (purple)
Red / black grape
Red Maple Tree (inner bark)
Sloe fruit
Violet Flowers
Wire Birch
Woad (first year leaves)

 
REDS TO PURPLES
Dandilion root-(magenta)
Daylilies (old blooms)
Hibiscus (flowers)(dark red or purple ones) make a red-purple dye.
Pokeweed (berries)
 
REDS

Most red leaves will give a reddish brown color- use salt to set the dye.
Alder
Alkanet-- Alkanna/Anchusa tinctoria
Beets (deep red)
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria) boiled root- also Potawatomi Indians face paint
Brazilwood Dust: (Caesalpania Echinata)-
Buffalo-berry (Lepargyrea),
Chokecherry or wild plum
Dandelion (root)
Goosefoot (Chenopodium capitatum) - crushed red calyx
Hemlock inner bark,
Hibiscus Flowers (dried)
Hops
Ladies bedstraw
Madder
Oregano
Pokeberry--Phytolacca Americana
Potentilla
Red Bedstraw
Red cedar
Red Osier Dogwood
Rose (hips)
Sassafras
Spruce cones
Squaw current
Sumac (fruit) (light red)
Sweet woodruff
St. John's wort - red dye using a tin/vinegar mordant
Tamarack bark
Wild ripe blackberries
Willow or sandbar willow (Salix exigua) - crushed twigs

 
PINKS / ROSE
Amaranth
Beetroot
Birch Bark
Cherries
Chicory root
Cranberry
Lichens - A pink, brown, or wine dye from a lichen 'British soldiers'.
Madder Root
Pomegranate, Punica granatum)
Raspberries (red)
Roses and Lavender
Sassafras roots
Sorrel Root
Strawberries
Willow Bark
 
PEACH / SALMON
Broom Flower
Virginia Creeper (all parts); alum mordant; Peach.
Achiote powder (annatto seed
Plum tree (roots) (salmon color on wool with alum)
Weeping Willow (wood & bark) peachy brown (the tannin acts as a mordant)
Cherry Bark
 
MORDANTS

Staghorn Sumac
Rhubarb
Juniper
Acidic mordants like currants or gooseberries can help make colors more permanent.
Deeper colors can be achieved by adding (female) dock root.
Other natural mordants include birch, oak (especially black oak soaked in standing water for 2 years), iron oxides (ground hematite), and hardwood (or cedar bark) ashes.

Commercially available mordants include iron sulfate/Coppreas (dulls/gray tones), tin (brightens), chrome (stronger/browner tones), copper sulfate/blue vitriol (green tones), alum (yellow tones) and cream of tartar (deeper tones).

*Some mordants are toxic and great care should be taken when they are used in steaming dye baths.

 
TANNINS - tannic acid, or gallotannic acid - astringent vegetable product found in a wide variety of plants.

Chestnut, Castanea dentata  (Fagaceae)
Hemlock, Tsuga candensis (Pinaceae)
Leaves of certain Sumacs and plant galls. 
Mangrove Bark from red mangrove
Oak, Quercus spp. (Fagaceae)
Pomegranate, Punica granatum (Puniceae)
Quebracho – Schinopsis lorentzii and S. balansae (Anacardiaceae)
Spruce, Picea
Wattle bark – Acacia decurrens and other Acacia spp.
Tannin is also present in tea, coffee, and walnuts.