Carthamus tinctorius. Produces yellow, pinks, orange, coral and reds, depending on method.
Safflower is a thistle-like plant with yellow flowers that is cultivated mainly to make vegetable oil from its seeds, growing well in dry areas. It can be used to produce vibrant yellow and pink colours, orange/coral tones and even reds, depending on the methods and fibres used.
Product code: 4158
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How to dye with Safflower:
Ensure your fibre/fabric has been properly scoured before use.
For pink colours mordanting is not required, but it is recommended for increasing the light-fastness of yellow tones.
To obtain both yellow and pink dyes:
Use at least 100gm dried safflower petals to dye approximately 100gm of fibre. Place the petals in a muslin bag or a very fine sieve. Cover with cold water and leave for at least an hour, agitating occasionally. Drain off the yellow liquid and reserve, squeezing or pressing the petals as much as possible. Repeat this, adding the yellow liquid to your reserved batch. Repeat again, if the liquid still looks a strong yellow, add it to your reserved batch.
The reserved yellow liquid can now be brought to the boil and simmered for 45 minutes to an hour, mordanted fabric/fibre added, simmered a further 45 minutes and left to cool. The fabric/fibre can be left in the dye bath overnight for stronger colours. The use of an iron sulphate modifier after dyeing can provide mustard and olive greens.
The petals in the muslin bag or sieve should now be soaked further in cold water, as above, but the water discarded each time, until very little yellow is being extracted. Add a few litres of water which you have modified to pH11 with sodium carbonate (soda ash). Check the pH carefully, as making the solution too alkaline will spoil the process. Leave to infuse for a few hours, agitating occasionally. The liquid will gradually turn an orange/brown colour. Remove the petals and reduce the pH of the dye bath to pH6 using clear vinegar or lemon juice. It will turn a reddish colour. Add unmordanted cellulose fibres/fabrics and/or silks and leave to soak overnight. Do not heat the dye bath. Cellulose fibres will take on pink colours and silk will turn orange/coral shades.
To obtain only yellow dye:
If pink colours are not required, but only yellow, the petals can be simmered in water for 45 minutes, strained and then fibre/fabric added, simmered for 45 minutes and left to cool. The fabric/fibre can be left in the dye bath overnight for stronger colours. The use of an iron sulphate modifier after dyeing can provide mustard and olive greens