INDIGO DYE KIT INSTRUCTIONS
All of the ingredients of this kit are derived from plants and minerals. Setting up an indigo vat requires adding indigo dye, hydrated lime and fructose. The lime raises the pH of the vat while the fructose removes oxygen, creating the perfect environment for indigo pigment to adhere to textiles. When the chemistry of the vat is correct, the surface of the vat will make a purple film “flower” and beneath it the dye water will turn to a yellowish green hue. Read through the complete instructions before starting.
DYE KIT COMPONENTS
- Natural indigo dye, hydrated lime and fructose in dissolvable paper packages1 pair of biodegradable latex gloves
- 1 pair of biodegradable latex gloves
- Biodegradable rubber bands for pattern making
- Dye-able or reusable fabric wrapping
YOU WILL NEED TO PROVIDE
- Natural fabric like cotton, hemp or silk. Indigo will not dye synthetic fabrics like polyester.
- A large 5-gallon bucket, mild fabric detergent and white vinegar.
SETTING UP YOUR INDIGO VAT
- Boil 1 gallon of water and add to a 5-gallon bucket. Add an additional 3 gallons of your HOTTEST tap water to the bucket.
- Place indigo packet, including the dissolvable paper packaging, into the bucket and stir gently.
- Never add your indigo to boiling water, it will damage the indigo.
- Place lime and fructose packages, including paper packaging, into bucket and stir gently allowing all ingredients to dissolve.
- Stir the vat gently and try not to splash the water. Scrape down the sides.
- Wait 30-45 minutes for vat to activate. When the chemistry has taken full effect the vat will be a bright yellow-green color.
Dampen all fabric to be dyed so it’s evenly wet, but not dripping wet.
- Put on gloves and gently lower fabric into the bucket.
- Rotate the fabric gently under the surface of the water for 1-2 minutes.
- Gently pull the fabric out of the vat while trying to minimize splashing and squeeze excess dye off fabric into vat.
- The fabric will emerge a yellow-green color. Quickly expose all areas of your fabric to the air and watch it turn to blue as it oxidizes. If your fabric is folded or tied, keep folds or ties in place until you’ve reached desired shade.
- Let the fabric oxidize completely to blue for 20 minutes.
- Repeat this process several times until the desired shade of indigo blue is reached. One dip will achieve a sky blue hue, and each additional dip will create a darker shade of blue.
- Allow the fabric to sit or hang overnight.
- Fill a small bowl or sink with warm tap water and ½ cup of white vinegar.
- Place fabric in vinegar solution for 5 minutes. The vinegar will help set the dye.
- Wash fabric with mild soap and rinse. Wash with dark colors, indigo may bleed.
DISPOSING OF THE VAT
- The indigo vat will keep for another day if it’s tightly covered with a lid.
- Once dyeing is complete, it is environmentally safe to pour the vat down the sink.
NOTE: Requires adult supervision for kids 12 and under.