A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Ecoprint with cotton: materials

Cotton, the most commonly used fabric for quilters, is not the easiest material to dye using natural dyes. Results are subtle and the process is complicated, and relatively little information can be found on the web about dyeing of cotton. So, we need some preparations to make before we can get started.

These are the materials we need this month:


• 100% Cotton, pieces of 25 x 50 cm (10 x 20 inches)
• Round wood or iron poles of 20 cm (7,5 inch). You can cut a broomstick or dowel in pieces. A thick branch will do too.
• Cotton yarn for binding
• Iron (II) sulfate 
• Soda ash
• Soy milk or Alum
• Leaves
• Boiler/Kettle/pot (one dedicated for art use!)
• Vinyl Gloves

The most difficult to obtain might be the iron (II) sulfate. In the Netherlands we have a moss-remover for the garden which consists of 95% iron (II) sulfate, called 'Tegen mos'. But not all moss-removers are iron sulfate so please check the label. In case you really can't find it, try to make your own iron-water by soaking old rusty iron pieces (or ferruginous fossils) in a plain water bath.

Works more or less, but I prefer the iron (II) sulfate powder of which you only need a teaspoon per session.

The Soy milk can be bought ready made, but can also be made yourself, here you will find a perfect recipe:

No need to collect leaves on forehand. They are most easily used when fresh.

Wednesday we will discuss poles and kettles.


  1. Nienke
    Great post and I'm really looking forward to reading more information this month.
    Just by way of information George Weil in the UK sell all the ingredients you need for natural dyeing.

  2. Another place where you can buy it is www.zijdelings.eu

  3. I'm looking forward to the next post. I have ecodyed in a pot with silk, rusty iron and eucalyptus leaves that I purchased. I am very interested in seeing how you do this with cotton!

  4. Maiwa Handprints Ltd in Canada sells ferrous sulfate....and lots of other stuff related to fabric dyeing. I just ordered mine!!
    I believe they ship worldwide too...

  5. Natural Pigments has outrageous shipping fees.


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