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Mordant Cotton



  • 5g of aluminium acetate
  • 100g of scoured cotton


  • Soak the material in warm water overnight. The next day half fill a 12 litre stainless steel bucket with water.
  • Dissolve the aluminium acetate with boiling water in a small bowl and add to the bucket.
  • Add the material and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn off the heat and leave to cool overnight.
  • Remove material and dry without rinsing.
  • When you are ready to dye the material, rinse it carefully first.

Mordant cotton with alum and tannic acid

This method takes longer as it is mordanted in three stages over three days. Each step is simple and the results are superior to any other method. You just need to be patient!

Wash the cotton in the washing machine as previously described and proceed as follows:-


  • 50g alum
  • 12g washing soda
  • 6g tannic acid
  • 100g cotton


  • Dissolve half the alum and half the washing soda in a bucket of hot water, making sure there is sufficient water to cover the material to be added.
  • Add the clean, wet cotton and gradually bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and allow to soak overnight.
  • The following day, remove the cotton from the bucket and dispose of the alum solution. Squeeze out surplus water from the material.
  • Dissolve the tannic acid in about ¼ of a bucket of hot water. Ensure that the powder is completely dissolved as any remaining particles will leave marks on the material. Once dissolved add enough cold water to cover the material without pressing it down. Add the material and bring to simmering point. Turn off the heat and leave to soak overnight.
  • The following day rinse the cotton and repeat step 1 using the remainder of the alum and washing powder. After the material has soaked overnight, rinse it thoroughly and it is now ready to dye!

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