What everybody ought to know about dyeing with indigo part 1

jar of stock

I love using indigo it is such a beautiful blue from soft pale blues through to rich deep blues. Here is my recipe for dyeing with indigo and also information on what equipment you need.

There are two parts to dyeing with indigo. This is Part 1. First you make the indigo stock solution as shown below and then you make the indigo vat shown in Part 2.

Equipment & materials required:

  • 25g/1oz of natural indigo
  • 30g /1oz /6 teaspoons sodium hydrosulphate (Spectralite or dylon colour run remover)
  • 15g /½oz caustic soda
  • lge glass jar with lid, a Kilner jar is perfect.
  • misc plastic spoons and metal spoons
  • a bucket or stainless steel pan
  • measuring jug
  • scales
  • thermometer

Making the Indigo Stock Solution for Dyeing with Indigo in 5 easy steps

(this recipe is for dyeing up to 500 gr/1.1 lbs dry weight of fabric/yarn)

  1. In the glass jar dissolve 25g/1 oz powdered indigo in water a little at a time to make a smooth paste.
  2. In another container add 15g/ 1/2oz  caustic soda to cold water (always add caustic soda to water)
  3. Add caustic soda solution to the indigo in stock jar, fill nearly to the top.

    indigo stock-adding caustic soda (3)
    Pouring solution into indigo mix
  4. Sprinkle 30g/ 1oz  spectralite on the surface of the stock
  5. This mixture needs to stand for about 30mins and also be heated up. Place the glass jar in water in a stainless steel pan/bucket and slowly heat up to 50 C/130 F (Spectralite needs this temperature to work)  achieve this by adding hot water from a kettle if doing this in a bucket or heating on a ring if doing this in a pan. Keep at this temperature for 30 mins. This may take longer perhaps up to an hour. The liquid should be a brackish yellow green colour at the end. Put the lid on tightly and you will be ready for the next step.

This bottle of stock will keep a long time so have it prepared in advance and then you are ready to create your indigo vat and get on with your dyeing with indigo whenever you want.


I hope this has been helpful and I have given crystal clear instructions on how to make the indigo stock solution. It is all a rather magic process but just have a go you can’t really go wrong! Part 2 will follow with further instructions on how to make an indigo vat to dye your fabrics in.


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1 thought on “What everybody ought to know about dyeing with indigo part 1”

  1. Pingback: 3 Fresh indigo blue and white shibori patterns using a pipette

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