Iron Aftermordant or Modifier Recipe

An iron aftermordant or modifier can help darken natural plant dyes for a deeper color.

| December 2013

  • Dyed Animal Fibers
    An iron aftermordant can be added directly to the dye bath after you’ve removed it from the heat and before you’ve added the fiber to the dye bath.
    Photo by Fotolia/Maksim Shebeko
  • The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes Book Cover
    “The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes” by Sasha Duerr is full of helpful tips and recipes for home dyeing enthusiasts.
    Cover courtesy Timber Press

  • Dyed Animal Fibers
  • The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes Book Cover

Home dyeing can be a gamble if you are new to the idea, but even if you are experienced in the art, knowing the different reactions given by plant based fibers and animal fibers can be crucial to proper dye absorption. Using the Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes (Timber Press, 2010) Sasha Duerr walks you through using mordants and natural dyes in perfect harmony. Use this Iron Aftermordant Recipe to give your natural plant dyes a muted, darker look.

Iron Aftermordant or Modifier Recipe

Iron is a good aftermordant for darkening or modifying dye color. An iron modifier can be added directly to the dye bath after you’ve removed it from the heat and before you’ve added the fiber to the dye bath. Measure the dry weight of your fiber before soaking.

4 ounces (113 g) fiber
2 percent (1/2 teaspoon) iron powder to weight of fiber

Soak the fiber in water for at least 1 hour.



Prepare the dye bath you wish to use, according to any recipe in this book.

Remove the fiber from the soak water, and add it to the dye bath.






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