Walnut…..browns…..Cochineal…..bright pinks…..Logwood…..Purple/blue


The children are actively involved in growing the plants in the dye garden and have great fun in picking them and dyeing yarn and fabric.

The aims are:

  • To help the children understand that before there were chemical dyes people had to make natural dyes from certain plants
  • To learn that certain plants contain coloured chemicals which are called pigments
  • To discuss how natural dyes can be used
  • To compare colours

As our herd is called Bright Alpacas I decided to dye some of their lovely fleece using only natural dyes. The results were beautiful!

Seven years on and with much research and experimentation I now grow what I believe to be the most reliable, lightfast and wash fast dyes – with wonderful results. Woad, indigo, weld, madder, coreopsis and walnut husks I also buy imported logwood and cochineal as it is not possible be produce these ourselves!

Many herbs, berries, barks, flowers, vegetables and leaves can be used to make natural dyes. However, sadly many of these will give disappointing results and will prove to have poor light and wash fast qualities.

Natural dyes give a wide range of wonderful, subtle and superior colours.

I love working with natural dyes and I feel they are much more conductive to the creative process, I love the wide range of fabulous colours, I love growing my own dye plants – every aspect of the craft is so exciting……….and I love the thought that I am not using any harmful chemicals in the process.

Natural dyes are the most ecologically sound and by using these in preference to synthetic dyes we can help reduce our carbon footprint. Natural dyes are renewable resources and are kinder to our environment than synthetic dyes which are petroleum based, steeped in toxicity and cause pollution and serious water contamination when disposed of.

It is really important to select a dye which has a reputation for being reliable, wash proof and light proof. It would be most disheartening to spend your time and enthusiasm on a weak dye which would fade or discolour after a few washes.


  • Weld……………… pale yellow/green
  • Woad………………blue
  • Coreopsis………..strong yellow/orange
  • Madder……………red/orange

You can purchase all of the above dyes online at

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