top of page

Printing on Wool Fabric with Mordant Dye Pastes

Recipe for Printing on Fabric with Mordant Dyes

Ingredients and Materials:

  • Weld extract: 20 grams

  • Logwood extract: 30 grams

  • Cochineal extract: 16 grams

  • Aluminum sulfate: 30 grams for each dye extract

  • Guar gum: 4-5 grams for each mixture

  • Hot water: 200 milliliters for each extract preparation

  • Glycerin: A few drops for each mixture

  • Fabric for printing

  • Silk screen (optional)


  1. Prepare the Dye Extracts:

  • Weld Extract: Dissolve 20 grams of weld extract in 300 milliliters of hot water.

  • Logwood Extract: Boil 30 grams of logwood to create a strong extract. Strain to remove any wood particles.

  • Cochineal Extract: Mix 16 grams of cochineal in 300 milliliters of hot water to create a concentrated extract.

  1. Mix with Mordant:

  • For each dye extract, add 30 grams of aluminum sulfate to the solution. This mordant helps fix the dye onto the fabric and enhances color fastness.

  1. Thicken the Dye Mixtures:

  • Add 4-5 grams of guar gum to each dye mixture, stirring well to ensure there are no lumps. Guar gum acts as a thickener, making the dye suitable for fabric application through printing.

  1. Add Glycerin:

  • Add a few drops of glycerin to each mixture. Glycerin helps the dye retain moisture, improving the print quality and durability on the fabric.

  1. Prepare for Printing:

  • If using a silk screen, ensure all mixtures are free from particles that could clog the screen. Strain each mixture through a fine mesh if necessary.

  • Prepare your fabric by laying it flat and securing it if needed to prevent movement during printing.

  1. Printing Process:

  • Apply each dye mixture to the fabric using a brush, block, or silk screen. Experiment with different designs by using stencils or free-hand techniques.

  • Overlap different dyes to explore color mixing effects directly on the fabric. The interaction of different mordant dyes can create unique patterns and shades.

  1. Setting the Dye:

  • Allow the printed fabric to dry slightly. For optimal results, the fabric should not be completely dry before the next step to enhance color absorption.

  • Steam the fabric for at least one hour to set the dyes. Steaming helps the dye penetrate deeper into the fabric fibers and ensures color fastness.

  1. Cleaning and Maintenance:

  • Clean all tools and blocks immediately after use to prevent the dye from setting and making cleaning difficult.

  • Store leftover dye mixtures in airtight containers if they are to be reused. Note that some sedimentation may occur, and mixtures should be stirred before reuse.

Description: This process involves creating and applying three different mordant dyes—weld, logwood, and cochineal—each mixed with a common mordant (aluminum sulfate) and thickened with guar gum for fabric printing. Adding glycerin aids in moisture retention during the printing process, which is crucial for achieving vivid and lasting colors. This technique is ideal for fabric designers and artisans looking to explore the rich possibilities of natural dyes in textile art. The use of mordant dyes not only imparts beautiful colors but also ensures that the prints are durable and resistant to washing and light.

48 views0 comments


bottom of page