Natural Dyes – Bloodroot

Bloodroot natural plant dye has been used by First Nations to dye wool yarns, yielding reds, pink and orange colours.

Difficulty Level:
Average 4 hours

Here’s How:

  1. When handling dyestuffs, use rubber gloves to avoid absorbing the dye into your skin.
  2. Cut the roots of the bloodroot plant into small pieces and soak in water for 2 hours.
  3. Bring the water to boil.
  4. Add clean, premordanted wool into the dyebath.
  5. Simmer for 1/2 hour.
  6. Remove the wool and add Glauber’s salts to the dyebath. Stir well.
  7. Put the wool back in and simmer another 1/2 hour.
  8. Let the dyebath cool and remove the wool.
  9. Rinse and allow to dry.


  • Using Alum as mordant, you will get reds.
  • Tin mordant will give pinks.
  • No mordant will yield orange shades.
  • Glauber’s Salt (Sodium sulphate) is used as a levelling agent, to even out the dye colour. You can use table salt instead.

Toxic – Caution

Bloodroot can be toxic if ingested, causing vomiting, dizziness, nerve damage, and even death. Bloodroot sap is a potent irritant of the moist membranes.
Aren’t Natural Dyes Safer than Synthetic Dyes
Bloodroot is not native to the UK, but I recently found some dried bloodroot for sale from a local dye supplier. I was planning on experimenting with this dyestuff but when I read about the potential toxic effects it can have (even while spinning with the bloodroot dyed fleece, I decided against it. There are safer ways to make natural red dyes.

Cherokee Natural Dyes
A bloodroot natural dye recipe for dyeing commercial cane.
Dyeing with Bloodroot
Bloodroot Dye
Natural Orange Dyes

A Weaver’s Garden: Growing Plants for Natural Dyes and Fibers
Natural Dyes Index
How To Make an Alum Mordant
How To Make a Tin Mordant
Natural Dyes and Mordant Recipes

Natural Dye Books
Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes
Botanical Colour at your Fingertips
The Modern Natural Dyer: A Comprehensive Guide to Dyeing Silk, Wool, Linen and Cotton at Home

The Rainbow Beneath My Feet: A Mushroom Dyer’s Field Guide
Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes
A Heritage of Colour: Natural Dyes Past and Present by Jenny Dean (2014-06-10)
Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes
The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use