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LAC DYE ~ Dye colours violet to red to brown

Lac is a powerful dye and probably mostly know in relation to the Tibetan Monks' Tunic - all dyed with Lac. It doesn't have the brilliance of cochineal red, but a much more mature red, like wine.

*Lac is the scarlet resinous secretion of a number of species of lac insects, of which the most commonly cultivated species is Kerria lacca.

**Cultivation begins when a farmer gets a stick (brood lac) that contains eggs ready to hatch and ties it to the tree to be infested.[1] Thousands of lac insects colonize the branches of the host trees and secrete the resinous pigment. The coated branches of the host trees are cut and harvested as stick lac.

The harvested stick lac is crushed and sieved to remove impurities. The sieved material is then repeatedly washed to remove insect parts and other soluble material. The resulting product is known as seed lac. The prefix seed refers to its pellet shape. Seed lac which still contains 3–5% impurities is processed into shellac by heat treatment or solvent extraction. (Wikipedia)

Colourfastness: good- - excellent

Basic recipe:

3-5% Lac
wool (no mordant needed)

use 10-15% ALum, if using more than 5% Lac

Dissolve lac in warm water and add to dyepot.

Add wool (always wet) to dye pot and bring to a simmer.

leave for one hour.

One bath can dye several skeins of yarn.

Add wool to the dye bath simmer for one hour.
Let it cool and leave in dye bath overnight.

Rinse and dry.


Lac dyed yarn benefits from a vinegar soak for 20min after rinsing.