A natural dye often only really shines when its brother, the mordant, is part of the plan.
IRON MORDANT ~ Mordant, Colour Changer, increased light fastness
Iron (Ferrous Sulfate) is used alone as a mordant, influencing Colours and to increase light fastness when used in combination with other natural dyes.
Iron is best known for shifting yellows into greens, keep in mind that this is not given and doesn't work with every yellow plant dye, in which case it will be more of a brown. it is used to increase light fastness for weaker plant dyes, bu it will always sadden and/or darken the colours.
When adding Iron to your dye bath start of with 3% and use it at the end of your dye bath or as an after bath. Allow to oxidize for 10 min for full colour development.
*If you like your colours darker, increase the Iron amount by 1-2% at a time.
**Leave for 10min than remove from dye bath - Iron will make wool brittle.
GUAR GUM ORGANIC
GUAR GUM ORGANIC ~ used for printing with natural dyes
Guar Gum is also called guaran and is extracted from organic guar beans. It is used in the print making by mixing the powder with small amount of water to create a paste and is used with mordant dyes and Indigo. Guar Gum thickens as it absorbs liquid. Use a handheld blender or mixer to make sure that the gum dissolves evenly. The amount of gum can be increased if necessary.
Guar Gum acts as a mordant carrier when using mordant based dyes. The recipe below creates a rubber like substance, with which the pattern is drawn or printed on the fabric. After it is dried, the Gum has to be removed by using a Chalk and Wheat bran solution followed by a rinse.
Only now can the fabric be added to the dye bath. once dyed, it should be thoroughly rinsed and boiled by using a bit of organic washing up liquid.
Basic recipe to create Guar Gum Mordant carrier for mordant dyes on Cellulose fabric: Once mixed it will only keep for a couple of days and must be kept in the fridge.
Ingredients for 100g:
Soda Ash 5g
Vinegar (5% acetic Acid) 84g
Guar Gum 1g
Sodium Acetate ~ Used to turn Ferrous Sulfate into Ferrous Acetate; used in the Mordanting Recipe for Cotton and Linen without Tannin (see below)
Sodium acetate, NaCH₃COO, also abbreviated NaOAc, is the sodium salt of acetic acid. We use Sodium Acetate to turn Iron into an easier digestible version of itself, Iron acetate. Similar to 'Iron Water' but you can control the amounts. Iron acetate is not as harsh on the fibres and can be easier digested by nature or your septic tank when turned into rust. Once made, it has no shelf life and needs to be used immediately.
For mordanting Cellulose fibres, please choose one of the following recipes on our blog:
1part Ferrous Sulfate
1part Sodium Acetate
Mix and dissolve in Water. I find that it makes the iron stronger and we only use 1% of Iron acetate on most recipes. Warm water will also intensify the reaction.