How to Mordant Cotton and Linen

Linen and cotton yarns require a different mordant preparation prior to using natural dyes.
Difficulty Level:
Average
Time Required:
90 minutes
Here’s How:

  1. Use clean, scoured wool or yarn.
  2. Fill a large pot with clean water and heat.
  3. Weigh the yarn or clean, dry fleece.
  4. Using 20% Alum to weight of fibre, mix the Alum into the hot water.
  5. Using 10% Tara Powder to weight of fibre, place the Tara Powder into a nylon stocking or small bag. Add it to the hot water mixture.
  6. Rinse the wool so that it is damp.
  7. Add the wool or skeins of yarn into the hot Alum/Tara mixture.
  8. Make sure that the wool is all covered by the water, if not, add more water to the pot.
  9. Simmer the mordant mixture for x-about an hour at 90 degrees Celsius.
  10. Remove the yarns from the mordant mixture.
  11. The Alum/Tara mixture can be reused by adding 1/2 the amount of Alum and Tara powder as previously

Tips:

  • If dyeing skeins of yarn, make sure that the skeins are tied securely, but loosely in at least 3 places, to avoid tangling.
  • The mordanted yarns can be dyed immediately, or dried and stored for later natural dyeing.
  • The mordant is suitable for cottons, linens and other bast fibres.
    How To Make an Alum Mordant

How To Make a Tin Mordant
Natural Dyes and Mordant Recipes
How to Scour Linen and Cotton before Mordanting

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
A Weaver’s Garden: Growing Plants for Natural Dyes and Fibers

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
EBAY – NATURAL DYES
NATURAL DYES – US
NATURAL DYES – UK

Last Updated on March 21, 2021 by Paivi Suomi

By Paivi Suomi

I've had an interest in weaving, looms, yarns and textiles since I was a small child. I learned to knit, crochet, sew, do needlepoint at my mother's knee. My grandmother was a Saami from northern Norway. I am very interested in studying more about traditional Saami and Finnish style weaving and handicrafts. Paivi Suomi