From Dye to Pigment

I need to start by saying that THL Marion Forester is probably the best enabler there is. She was kind enough to post her hand out for Pigments in her blog recently, and with my things to dye stash dwindling I decided to give pigments a go.

Before you dive in I HIGHLY suggest reading up on her blog. Pigments, like dye, can be toxic and it is best to have some idea of what you are doing.

So were did I start?

Well with a snow storm and an Amazon order!

I needed a mortar and pestle, gum arabic and some droppers. The snowstorm part provided the flowers as we had to cut the blossoms in out in our garden. We had some sea shells on hand and I have a fair amount of fabric to strain with.

From there it was a waiting game until Amazon delivered.


I started by realizing that my carefully plucked flower petals had dried out in the days between my Amazon order arriving and me picking them. So I decided to raid the daffodils on the counter.

I gave them a quick mush and let them set while I made dinner. Once done I gave some more mushing and then added 1/8th a teaspoon Alum. From there I let them sit for approx 20 minutes.

I used a small square of cotton to strain/mush the flowers. I got a thick mucus-like yellow dye out of the flower mush. I also realized I should have put a second glove on ( I had wanted to take photos….silly me)

From there I attempted to clean up my mortar and pestle…. let us just say this stuff is stubborn. Any suggestions beyond soap, and rubbing alcohol would be welcome.

Now to let it dry and see tomorrow what type of pigment I get out of this!

I do plan next year to buy Daffodils to dye with as the yellow is amazing!

Day two

So I let the pigment dry out overnight in the shell. The result was slightly disappointing as it seemed like there wasn’t going to be enough to mix up.

I decided to go with a slightly stronger gum arabic solution. 2 drops to three water drops. I mixed it up and did a few test squares to see what I got.

Oh My.

Neon yellow it is.

The first few patches seemed way too light but the next few for sure came out a bright day-glow yellow.


For my first attempt I will take it! I have a lot to learn. I can’t say I am 100% happy with my methods and probably need to pick up some more equipment.

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