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.

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.
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

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.

Additional information

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


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