Gif's picture credit: Textile Lab Amsterdam

Week 4, new assignment natural dyes, with food and bacteria. Materials: animal and vegetable and fibers. I worked with spinach dyes. Recipe:

  1. Pre-mordant the yarn. This will prepare the fiber to take up the dye. Boil 2 quarts of water in a medium nonreactive (not aluminum) pot. Add two teaspoons of alum to a quart of water. Do the same in another pot trying only with iron. Most guides to dyeing will tell you to use percentage based on weight of goods. Since I was experimenting, I used teaspoon measurements.

  2. Bring to a boil and simmer. Add the wet yarn to the pot and turn off the heat. Allow to sit in the mordant water for at least an hour.

What is a mordant? Mordants are usually metal ion substances that enable the dye to be absorbed by the wool fiber. Alum is the most often called for mordant in natural dying. Spinach dye will yield a yellow color in the presence of alum. If you want the yellow to deepen into the green shades, add some rust or iron to the water.

  1. Crush the spinach with a mortar and after that boil it in a pan. Strain the spinach, saving the dye water. I used approximately 300g of spinach.

  2. Add the spinach dye into different pan with pre-mordanted fiber. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Cover the pan so the water doesn’t evaporate! Add a tablespoon of iron to adjust the color to green. It won’t be a dark green. Caution! Don’t try to darken it too much by adding lots more iron. What you will do with that idea, is weaken the fiber of the yarn.


From Youtube


We made diferents recipes at Fablab Barcelona, I want to documentate some of them. For more informationyou can find the link of the students that work deeply into the end of my documentation of this week.



Uncooked black beans Water Soda ash (optional – you’ll see why) Soaking pot Nonreactive dye pots Natural fabric or yarn

What I found is that dyeing is all about experimenting. One type of beans may yield a totally different color than another. Same goes with the type of water (hard/soft, tap/bottled) and type of fabric. My advice is to play around with all different things and have fun with it!


  1. Pour some beans into your soaking pot and fill to the top with water.
  2. Allow your beans to soak for 24 full hours, stirring whenever you have a moment. When 24 hours is up, you’ll find that the water is a somewhat murky brownish, bluish, or purplish color.
  3. Do not stir the pots at this point. Remove any bean particles that may be floating on top of the water using a strainer, then transfer the water into your dye pots using a cup or ladle. Be careful not to get any bean particles into your dye pots – they will turn the fabric a grayish color.
  4. Add a little soda ash to one dye pot, and left the other untouched.Soda ash is a water softener that is often used in dyeing as a way to achieve the desired color. Below are my two dye pots. The jar on the right is the one containing soda ash.
  5. Cut two pieces of the cotton lace fabric, submerge each one into one of my 2 dye pots, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for another 24 hours. You can leave it in for 48 hours for more saturation if you’d like.
  6. After 24 hours remove the lace pieces from the jars and hung them to dry overnight. Here’s how they turned out!

Class results

For more information click here you will enter to Gabriela Lotaif perfil

I recommend to see this clearly video and note step by step to have HIBISCUS RECIPE

Class results

For more information click here you will enter to Nico Tando perfil

Mordants/scouring agents alum & cream of tartar copper liquor - copper pipes+vinegar or in crystals form iron liquor - rusty irons+vinegar or in crystals form Na2Co3 (sodium carbonate)

ph modifiers acids: vinegar, lemon base: sodium carbonate

Students and collaborations index

Red cabbage and black beans Gabriela Lotaif

Onion peel and Chicory Amaya Deyarvosky

Rusty objects Loana Flores

Avocado Peel and seeds Juan Felippe Enriquez

Pomegranate Estefania Cavalie

Annato and mushrooms Agnes

Nicolas Tando Hibiscus


. Bacteria name: Serratia Marcescens Bacteria

. Colour: pink

. Incubating days: 3 days

Jessica Dias was our super guide during this task. A special thanks to her :)

The process begins with the Shibori technique. We use a viscose fiber that has to be dry, I am not very fan of shibori aesthetics, so I applied a simple form in my textile to be a geometric result, (kind of squares, rectangles). We placed the textile in a separate Petri dish, I used a small one, some of my classmates shared wider and larger Petri dishes as they had thicker textiles. Next step was to place all the Petri dishes in a special plastic bag and then in the pressure cooker to sterilize for about 15 minutes. We sterilized the table, placed the gas camp and surrounded it with a circle of alcohol. Once the sterilization process is finished, we place our bacteria in the textiles placed on the Petri dishes: I washed my hands with a lot of alcohol I opened the bottle with the LB broth: liquid that feeds the bacteria to grow, while opening the bottle with one hand, with the other I opened the lid of the Petri dish of my textile to place the LB broth in it. It was my first time, so I tried to be very careful. I opened the Petri dish with the bacteria and took the inoculation handle, which I gently took a little to place on my Petri dish plate. I closed the petri dish of the bacteria and slightly opened the one on my fabric, it is not necessary to open it completely, it is enough that we can insert the inoculation handle and gently scrape the tissue with it, placing the bacteria there. I have repeated this process 3 times placing it in different points of my textile Then, we seal the Petri dishes with special tapes and let them rest inside the incubator, which is a type of refrigerator that keeps the bacteria at a temperature of 25º

After 3 days, we removed the bacteria from the incubator, removed the tape we had placed around the Petri dish and put them back in the same special plastic bag that I had mentioned before, and put it in the pressure cooker for 25.30 to kill the bacteria. We use latex gloves to open and rinse them and here is the result :)

Shibori Tie-Dye with Rubber Bands Fabric Dyeing Technique

Shibori Tie-Dye with Stitch Resist Fabric Dyeing Technique

Shibori Pole Dyeing Technique

Shibori Folding Technique

Ombre Dip Dye Technique

No-Wax Batik Technique

Low Water Immersion Fabric Dyeing Technique