Indigo: Dyeing the fibre
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Dyeing the fibre with Natural Indigo

Wool dyed with natural indigo | Wild Colours natural dyes

ten 100g skeins of BFL wool dyed with 10 grams of indigo

a) Warm the cotton or wool in water at a similar temperature to the indigo vat. Wearing rubber gloves, squeeze the fibre while still in the soak water and keep it squeezed (compression helps to keep the air out) as you let the excess drip over the soak water.

b) Lower the fibre into the dye vat and leave for 10 minutes (if you are dyeing cotton, you can leave it in the vat for 20 minutes). I use an egg timer at this point; otherwise I tend to forget the fibre in the indigo vat, which can damage wool. If you want an even colour, keep moving the fibre inside the indigo vat.

c) Remove the fibre which is yellowish green at this stage. Expose the fibre to the air and watch as it will slowly turns from yellow to blue. Let the fibre oxidise in the air for 15 minutes then rinse.

d) If you want darker shades of blue, dip the fibre back into the indigo vat again. Leave for one or two minutes and expose for 15 minutes. You can repeat this procedure several times. Leave to air overnight and then rinse well.

Back to;
  1. Getting started with chemical Indigo dyeing (opens a new page)
  2. Prepare the fibre (opens a new page)
  3. Prepare the indigo stock solution (opens a new page)
  4. Prepare the indigo vat (opens a new page)


Gallery of Hand-dyed Indigo stitch resist samples on cotton (click to enlarge)

Cotton tie-dyed with Indigo

Indigo-dyed cotton - detail

Cotton tie-dyed with Indigo

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Cotton tie-dyed with Indigo

Indigo-dyed cotton - detail

Indigo-dyed cotton - detail

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Cotton tie-dyed with Indigo

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Last updated on 02 October 2019
Website & photos by Mike Roberts ©2006-19 Wild Colours natural dyes