Indigo Dyeing for Beginners
Indigo Dyeing for Beginners
Indigo Dyeing for Beginners
Indigo Dyeing for Beginners

Indigo Dyeing for Beginners

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Dirt + Dye: Indigo Dyeing for Beginners will teach you how to create and dye with a fructose indigo vat. Each step is described in detail, including the science behind why the vat allows you to make this incredible blue pigment available to attach to fibers.

Whether you are repurposing old clothing, hand sew your own garments, spin yarn, or just want to play with cotton bandanas and simple t-shirts, you can follow these steps to set a foundation for experimenting with indigo dyeing!

This leaflet includes:

  • What is an indigo vat
  • Some history on indigo production and extraction
  • A list of materials needed
  • How to choose fiber for dyeing
  • How to scour cellulose + protein fibers
  • How to prepare a fructose indigo vat
  • How to tell if your vat is ready
  • Troubleshooting common issues
  • Finishing indigo dyed items for long lasting color
  • How to care for indigo dyed items
  • Detailed instructions and hand-drawn illustrations for each step

This is a downloadable PDF for purchase. Due to the nature of digital downloads, refunds are not available after purchase.
All rights reserved. No part of this booklet may be reproduced, shared, redistributed or used in any manner without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. This booklet may not be used for educational tutorials or workshops without prior written permission of the copyright owner.


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Color nuances may vary based on your computer screen settings. Naturally hand-dyed yarn color will vary slightly between batches. You may notice minor shade or variegation differences between skeins and batches. Please be sure to purchase all yarn needed for a project from one batch, and alternate skeins to prevent color pooling.

Indigo dyed yarn may rub small amounts of blue on your hands as you work with it. This is called crocking, and is a normal part of working with indigo dyed items. Minor crocking does not indicate poor dye quality. Indigo that rubs onto your hands or clothes while working will wash out with soap and warm water. After knitting/crocheting and rinsing, crocking should cease. Avoid using wood and bamboo needles, as they may stain.

Naturally dyed color will last the lifetime of the garment and beyond with proper care. 
To extend the life of the fibers and deep colors, hand wash in pH neutral soap and hang to dry. Naturally dyed fibers made of cotton and linen can be machine washed in cool water and a gentle detergent. Tumble dry on low. Avoid bleach, baking soda, and vinegar when washing. Do not machine wash and dry wool.
Do not dry or store fibers direct sunlight. Avoid wearing deodorant with baking soda while wearing naturally dyed items. Avoid contact with iron rust and strong acids like lemon juice, wine, or vinegar, which can shift or bleach natural color. If the garment comes in contact with a strong acid or alkaline substance, immediately soak the garment in cool water and pH neutral soap to neutralize the reaction. Hand wash and line dry.
Take care when spot treating stains and test an area of the fabric first. Dilute pH neutral soap in water and allow to soak on the spot before washing and drying. Multiple gentle treatments and washes may be needed for stubborn stains like oil.
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