TBT Dyeing valiantly: supplies!

My booty! Spoils and treasures after a weekend of dyeing with indigo

My booty! Spoils and treasures after a weekend of dyeing with indigo

This TBT (Throwback Thursday) is the first of many colorful posts about dyeing. Specifically, about what kind of equipment you could use to have a good dyeing experience.

Kids dyeing at Gulf Wars

Kids dyeing at Gulf Wars

I’ve been a dye student of Mistress Willoc for the past two years. This past Gulf Wars I taught kitchen dyeing. It detailed which dye stuffs are ok to use with a current set of kitchen pots. I think this is a great beginner level gateway to dyeing fabric and fiber. (That will be a separate post on a future TBT)

At Gulf Wars I taught the youth page school about dye history, then we played with koolaid and onion skins. So much fun!  (I’m planning a separate post about kid-related dye activities, so I’ll save that squee for later.)

If you’re going to be more than a “dabble dyer” I’d suggest getting:


• One copper pot- It’s used in the mordanting phase to prep the fiber/fabric.

• One rusty cast-iron pot- ditto, it’s a good mordant, but will probably need either rusty nails or additional ferrous sulfate powder.

• At least one enamel pot- These are the blue speckled kind normally used for crawfish boils, or canning. These and glass pots are the best to use, they do not react with any of the mordants or dyestuffs, or leach any metals or materials into your project.

• One large pot- It will never see fire, this can also be a plastic tub or bin. It’s filled with water and used to pre-soak the fibers before use. You’ll probably also want a couple other tubs to use as rinse basins. If you do that, do not cross-contaminate. Some of the dyes react with each other in unpleasant ways.

• plus a thermometer and scale sensitive to gram measurements.

• some type of mesh bag, either laundry bag, old plastic mesh from onions, or several old pairs of stockings. These will help hold the dye stuffs and keep them from getting stuck in your fiber project during the dyeing process.

I also suggest having dish rags around to pick up hot pots, and wipe messy hands on.

There are other more personal items you can get, such as your own style of measuring spoons, but overall this list is a great starting point.

But to be honest, boiling it down to its simplest degree: ONE DEDICATED POT is just as effective as having the whole set.

Stalk your local thrift stores, they have some great finds!

Until next post, much love and have a great weekend. 🙂


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