Dyeing Forum

Dyeing Tips

          •Soak your reed in warm water before dyeing to make the reed more receptive to the dye
          •Adding yellow Jacard to black Jacard dye gives a rich black color
          •Combine navy and plum RIT dyes to get a deep black
          •Use a mordant (a substance which combines with the fibers to make them more absorbent to the dyes). Different mordants work            with different fibers. Here are a few common mordants.
              ° Alum
              ° Salt, non-iodized
              ° Iron
              ° Ammonia

Natural Dyes

          •Black walnut hulls
          •Coffee, tea, fruit, and other foodstuffs
          •Lichens, galls, algae, and mosses
          •Wild mushrooms, fresh, dried, or frozen

Keep in Mind

          •Use enamel pots, rubber gloves, wooden spoons (anything metal can affect the color of your dye)
          •Rain water, soft water, or distilled water is preferable to deep-well or municipal water (the high mineral content of hard water            may affect the color)
          •Extreme temperature changes may cause reed to become hairy, as will soaking reed too long


          •Try putting some Spic 'n Span or liquid Tide in your rinse water (they contain washing soda, which helps set the dye); rinse the             reed until the rinse water runs clear; dry the reed between rinsing and then again before weaving
          •When weaving, keep the dyed reed drier than the plain or lighter-colored reed
          •¼ cup of bleach in the dyeing vat will lighten the reed, if desired

Reusing Dye

          •Store in clear plastic bottles or plastic bags - milk jugs will disintegrate
          •Strain your previously used dye through a coffee filter to remove the mold
          •Add a little white vinegar to the dye vat to prevent mold
          •Add a little non-iodized salt to the dye at the time of reheating to brighten the color

Resource Materials

Natural Basketry by Carol and Dan Hart
Baskets from Nature’s Bounty by Elizabeth Jensen

Where to Buy

NorEsta (dyed reed) – website: www.NorEsta.com phone: 1-800-667-3782; bulk discounts
Walmart has a good selection of RIT dyes

If you have any additional information or corrections to this page, please email me Kathy Morris

This website is designed by Kathy L. Morris