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Making Lake From a Leftover Dye Bath

Making Lake from a Leftover Dye Bath


  • 28 grams of aluminum sulfate

  • Sodium carbonate

  • Dye bath leftovers (e.g., from St. John’s wort, logwood)

  • Vinegar (if needed)

  • Funnel

  • Filter

  • Water


  • Mixing container

  • Stirrer


  1. Prepare Aluminum Hydroxide:

  • Dissolve 28 grams (example from the video) of aluminum sulfate in water.

  • Add sodium carbonate to the solution until it generates bubbles and becomes milky, forming aluminum hydroxide.

  • You may use the leftover of aluminum acetate mordant for this purpose

  1. Recycling the Dye Bath:

  • Strain the dye leftovers well

  • Add the aluminum hydroxide to the leftover dye bath. For example, use the remaining solution from St. John's wort or logwood.

  • Stir the mixture well.

  • Let it sit for a while to allow the formation of the pigment (lake).

  1. Filtering the Lake:

  • Use a funnel and filter to strain the mixture, collecting the pigment.

  • Rinse the pigment to remove any impurities.

  1. Drying the Lake:

  • Let the filtered pigment dry completely. This can be stored for future use.

  1. Creating the Dye from the Lake:

  • To use the lake pigment for dyeing, dissolve it in a suitable medium:

  • For acidic solutions, dissolve the lake in a mild acid like citric acid, you may use it for one-bath recipes for wool and silk

  • For basic solutions, dissolve the lake in an alkaline solution like caustic soda (sodium hydroxide).

  • Stir until the solution is transparent, indicating that the pigment has fully dissolved.


  • This process allows for the recycling of dye baths by converting leftover dyes into usable pigments.

  • The aluminum hydroxide acts as a mordant that captures and fixes the dye molecules.

  • The resulting lake pigments can be stored and used for future dyeing projects.

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