Acacia Extract
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Dyeing with Acacia Extract

  1. What is Acacia?
  2. What colours does Acacia extract produce?
  3. How do I use Acacia extract as a mordant?
  4. How do I use Acacia extract as a dye on cotton?
  5. How much cotton does the Acacia extract dye?
  6. What is Acacia extract?

Acacia Extract (also known as Wattle Extract and Mimosa Extract)

1. What is Acacia?
There are several species of Acacia or thorn trees that are rich in tannin. The Black Acacia (Acacia mearnsii), also known as Black Wattle, is the source of this particular extract. This fast growing tree is native to Australia and there are commercial plantations in several continents.

Acacia extract as a mordant

Acacia as a mordant:
top - acacia + iron
middle - acacia + iron + logwood
bottom - acacia + madder


The dye comes from the bark and it is rich in tannin. Acacia can be used both as a mordant and a dye for cotton and other plant fibres.

2. What colours does Acacia extract produce?
Acacia is a great dye to modify colours on cotton. On its own it produces colours ranging from beige to brown, but the colours may vary.

3. How do I use Acacia extract as a mordant?
You can use acacia extract instead of gallnut extract or tannic acid as the source of tannin when following one of the cotton mordant recipes.

Use 15 to 20 grams of Acacia extract per 100 grams of scoured cotton followed by a second bath with 7 to 10 grams of aluminium acetate.

4. How do I use Acacia extract as a dye on cotton?

Acacia extract as a dye

Acacia as a dye:
top - acacia only
2 - acacia + iron
3 - acacia + indigo
4 - acacia + madder

Scour 100 grams of cotton fabric and mordant it with aluminium acetate (see ‘Scouring cotton and Mordanting’ with aluminium acetate for details).

Make a paste with 25 grams Acacia extract and a small amount of warm water. Fill a saucepan with water and add the Acacia extract paste.

Add the pre-wetted mordanted fibre. Bring the dye bath to a gentle simmer and then keep at that temperature for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring gently from time to time. Leave overnight to cool.

5. How much cotton does Acacia extract dye?
20 to 30 grams of Acacia extract will dye 100 gram of cotton fabric light to medium brown. We suggest you experiment, as dye colours will vary with the type of fibre, the mordant and the quality of water.

6. What is Acacia extract?
Our Acacia extract is shipped as a brown crystalline powder that is very stable and of high colour fastness. It is produced using processes that respect the environment and comply with organic textile certifications.


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Updated on 28 November 2020
Website & photos by Mike Roberts ©2006-20 Wild Colours natural dyes