Natural Dyestuffs – Sustainably Harvested British Folk Dyes


A selection of local and sustainably harvested or garden grown natural dyestuffs. All grown or harvested by ourselves from the Organic Estate in South Oxfordshire where we are based.



Many of these dye various shades of yellow with an alum mordant and shades of green/gray/purplish gray with an iron mordant. However, there are some notable exceptions which dye orange, russet and brown.
Whilst we do not have organic certification, we do not use any pesticides or other chemicals at all in our garden and when we gather plants they are from the organically farmed Estate on which we are based.

Apple wood and leaves – soft golden yellow with alum
Bidens – orange with alum
Birch shavings – russet
Buckthorn wood and leaves – gold with alum, orange if used strong
Dyer’s Chamomile – warm cadmium yellow with alum, fresh olive green with both
Dyer’s coreopsis – orange with alum
Gipsywort – mustard yellow with alum, dark green / black with iron, green / black with both.
Madder – this is our own home grown madder which produces absolutely beautiful reds, old pinks (especially on cotton) and oranges. It is shredded rather than ground or chopped, so steep for a bit longer than ground madder for best results and enjoy having less rinsing out to do! Madder spends 4 years growing and there is a lot of work in digging, harvesting and drying – hence the price. On the upside this is a totally sustainable and hand grown and processed product.
Meadowsweet – bright chrome yellow with alum, gray with iron
Onion skins – golden yellow with alum, used very strong yellowish brown
Purple Loosestrife – mauve/ dark gray with iron, close to black with both.
Tansy – good mustard yellow with alum, dark forest green with iron and with both.
Yarrow – yellow with alum
Walnut leaves – warm pinkish brown
Walnut hulls – warm brown
Wild Carrot – very strong good yellow with alum, greenish grey with iron, warm forest green with both
Woad balls – blues and a range of greens if over dyed onto any of the above yellows (dyeing with woad balls is a more complicated process than using any of the other dyes, please get in touch if you would like to know more). Please note that the Woad balls are variable weights, we have listed them as 10g as a minimum, they will usually be significantly over this.

We do plan to publish guides to using the mordants and dyestuffs – in the meantime pleaseĀ email us if you have any questions and we will do our best to answer them. Photos of your dye baths / vats / dyed skeins may help us problem solve.

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Apple wood and leaves, Bidens, Birch shavings, Buckthorn wood and leaves, Dyer's Coreopsis, Dyer's Chamomile, Gipsywort, Home grown Madder, Meadowsweet, Onion skins, Purple Loosestrife, St John's Wort, Tansy, Yarrow, Walnut leaves, Walnut hulls, Wild Carrot, Weld, Woad ball


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