Here is a blog post on setting up equipment for indigo fabric dyeing. Recently I have started to experiment with indigo dyeing at home. I had great success being it my first time. I have always love natural dyeing. As it’s something that is easy to achieve at home without the need of space or too much equipment. Now I have finally got the courage to start experimenting with indigo.
Indigo dyeing is a very old traditional style of dyeing that still pretty much exists till today. It is used to dye denim fabrics to make jeans plus other clothing items and also to make tie-dyeing garments. Recently tie-dyeing has made a comeback as the latest trend.
There are indeed plenty of information around. In this blog post I will talk about how to dye with indigo. I bought my indigo dye materials from George Weil. An online art and craft shop. There are other places like Dharma trading US-based art and craft company.
Indigo dyeing is different from other types of natural dyeing. As the indigo vat needs to deoxidised and ph and temperature need to set for most optimum results.
Equipment for indigo dyeing
One will need indigo powder in which comes in different types. I use natural indigo which more expensive than synthetic indigo. Also, some indigo does come in green-blue hue as well.
For a source of alkali, one can use soda ash or washing soda and spectralite (thiourea dioxide) which acts as the de-oxygenating agent. A combination both of these creates this chemical reaction is when the indigo starts to fix to the fibre. Alternatives will be urine and yeast all these also creates deoxidisation process. This mixture is called indigo vat. The chemistry must be right for indigo dyeing to be successful.
Then there the equipment which involves a thermometer, vat pot ( I use my son’s old nappy bucket) its plastic. The most ideal dyeing bucket is made from aluminium as you can heat it up. Great investment if you planning to be dyeing a lot.
I also got a camping type of stove which I can use outdoors. It runs on a canister. Trust me the fumes that are produced during the deoxidization process have a strong stale/ urine-like smell. You don’t want to be doing this in your kitchen or anywhere indoors.
As I said before in my post on mordants in natural dyeing always separate the pots use for dyeing and cooking.
I write in a separate blog post of how to actually dye using indigo. I believe it’s a process that is good to know in-depth in order to achieve good results.
In nutshell, in order to dye indigo, the equipment one will need for indigo dyeing
Dye bucket (plastic or metal)
Stove to maintain heat at 50 deg Celcius
Litmus paper to test the ph of the vat as the ph value has to be at 9 or 10.