Maker of clothes, recipes, natural fabric dyeing, Gardener of veg, fruit and flowers.

Maker of clothes, recipes, natural fabric dyeing, Gardener of veg, fruit and flowers.

Fabric dyeing with ivy

Fabric dyeing with ivy (using mordant). I have been dyeing with ivy again recently as my first attempt didn’t turn up very well. Dahlia flowers and ivy dyeing This time round I simmer the ivy leaves in a pot for at least half hour till there is colour seen on the dye pot.

I have also used iron as after dye mordant.


Ivy leaves and berries are available all year round to harvest. Once established they grow like weeds in damp cold climates. Some use ivy for decorative purposes as they are hardy and easy to grow. They are natural climbers so they look good filled up a climbing frame. In my personal opinion as a gardener I don’t like them as they are trying to kill my elderflower tree and I can’t wait to get rid of them. they are not easy to get rid off. By using them for natural dyeing is an excuse to get rid of them even more.

dyeing with ivy leaves
dyeing with ivy leaves with silk & wool (protein) fibres and cotton (cellulose) fibres.

Above on top picture it’s dyed with pre mordanted fibres with alum and below is with post dye pot dip with iron as mordant.

Natural dyeing

Fabric dyeing with ivy is quite easy. If one doesn’t have them on hand they are available in dried form online from dye and craft suppliers in dried form. The leaves and berries will yield different colour so do separate them.

Boil the leaves for about half hour or till there is some colour in the pot. Then all the pre mondant (i use alum) fibers. And boil gently (simmer) for another 15mins to half hour. i have also dip the fibers in iron so as to deepen the colour.

Above it’s pre mordant fibres (protein and cellulose) with alum and below is with post dye  using iron mordant.

To draw colour from the berries ground them first in pestle and mortar. Then boil like the ivy leaves. I have use the same mordants and the results is a much more deeper colour.

Do give it a try if there is plenty of ivy around and it’s free. It’s available in abundance and they grow like weeds.

For supplies I buy the mordants from George weil and UK based craft supplier. They also sell dried ivy leaves and many other supplies (like indigo, cochineal, etc) for natural dyeing.

Let me know how it went. Good luck and all the best.

fabric dyeing using ivy

fabric dyeing using ivy leaves

1 thought on “Fabric dyeing with ivy”

  • I have had fabulous results with ivy. Leave to simmer for an hour and leave it to cool before adding cloth or wool mordanted with alum. If you use soda ash as a modifer you get lime green.

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