Natural Dyeing: All About Natural Dyeing


If you want to be able to reproduce the exact same color, hue, or shading with every batch of dye - natural fiber dyeing techniques are not for you. But if you want to experience some gorgeous variations of color and hues, spend time in the great outdoors, and revel in an ancient craft technique, this is a wonderful way to accomplish it.

A terrific source for natural dyes can be found right in your own back and front yards. Plants, roots, flowers, stems, nuts, and petals are just a few of the common, natural ways to get many colors and hues. Yellow, orange, blue, red, green, brown and grey - plus all variations in-between, are available... all you have to do is play.

Though natural dyeing takes considerably more time and effort, it's well worth the additional work. We've achieved some incredible one-of-a-kind colors this way. Remind me to tell you about the results I got from 2-year old, dry sawdust.


Madder is a excellent dye because it contains natural mordanting agents.

During the Middle Ages, people who made and dyed hats, 'hatters', frequently used heavy metals in their dye baths as mordants.

As they did not wear protective gloves, some hatters absorbed toxic levels of heavy metals causing them to become mentally deranged or "Mad as a Hatter".

Safety First

Just because your doing 'Natural Dyeing' does not mean you aren't careful, taking precautions, or use safety procedures.

Never ever use the same implements in your natural dyeing process that are used for cooking: pots, pans, spoons, cups etc.

Always take the time to do it safe and do it right. When in doubt, Don't Do It!

Royal Purple

Tyrian Purple, also known as royal purple or imperial purple, is a purple-red dye made by the ancient Canaanites, Phoenicians in the city of Tyre. It's made from a mucus-secretion of the hypobranchial gland of a marine snail known as the Murex brandaris.

The Phoenicians also made a purple-blue indigo dye, called royal blue or hyacinth purple, which was made from a related species of marine snail, called the Murex trunculus.

Tyrian purple was expensive. The fast, non-fading dye was an item of luxury trade, prized by Romans, who used it to color ceremonial robes.

The ancient method for mass-producing the two murex dyes has not yet been successfully reconstructed, but this special "blackish clotted blood" color, which was prized above all others, is believed to be achieved by double-dipping the cloth, once in the indigo dye of H. trunculus and once in the purple-red dye of M. brandaris.