Myrobalan natural Tannin
Myrobalan natural Tannin

Myrobalan ~ Natural Tannin

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MYROBALAN ~ a tannin used for (pre) mordanting cellulose (Cotton, Linen) Fibres. Recipe below.

ORIGN: India

Myrobalan is a very common tannin used in India and around Asia. It creates a plum-like fruit from various trees of the genus Terminalia, formerly used in medicine as a mild laxative and now used in the dyeing industry.

Myrobalan creates butter yellow on fabric, like most tannins. Tannin is important for mordanting cellulose fibres like cotton and linen. Alum alone is not a suitable mordant for cellulose fibres and its use will produce inferior colours.

Myrobalan can be used in print, over dye with indigo for teal, use as a stand alone colour or as a mordant.


Recipe Downloadable PDF for creating Greys and Charcoal 

Basic recipe for mordanting cellulose fibres:

A 2 step process, please read through the entire instructions first.

Step 1:


10% Myrobalan (10% of the weight of fabric (w.o.f.))

1.Fill a plastic or stainless steel vessel with hot water (40-50 d. Celcius/100-120F) to a 30:1 ratio (water:fabric)

2. add tannin and stir until dissolved or evenly distributed

3. add fabric, immerse fully for 1-2 hours. The bath will cool down, which is totally fine. Stir occasionally.

4. use rubber gloves when removing fabric, squeeze fabric. Rinse very lightly or better spin it out using a centrifugal spinner or washing machine. Tannin is bound to the fibre only by affinity and can be removed if rinsed aggressively.

5. save mordant for future use.

6. don't let it dry before moving to the 2nd mordanting step.

Step 2:

Alum 12% (w.o.f.) Dissolved in enough boiling water, cool.
Soda Ash 1.5% (w.o.f.) Dissolve in enough boiling water, cool.

1. Combine the two solutions while stirring. It will bubble, so make sure your vessel is big enough.

2. Bubbles will subside quickly and you should be left with a clear liquid. Add additional hot water as described above. Follow steps 3 - 5 from above.

3. Rinse the textile well, to make sure any unattached mordant is rinsed off.

4. The textile may be dyed immediately or dried for future use.


*Too hot and the tannin will oxidize, which is fine, if you want a potentially darker colour. For overdyeing, it is best to keep the colour as light as possible.
** You can also use cold water instead of hot, but it will require a 12h soak at least.
***Any tannin can be used with this recipe, but for lighter results use Oak Gall or Tara.