I haven’t had chance to iron and photo the logwood samples yet but here are some more photos and some info.

I dyed in two ways

1. In a large cookpot on the stove
2. In rusty roasting trays in the simmering oven.

I buy Logwood extract (an powder) from George Weil who say
”It comes from the Logwood Tree (Haematoxylum campechianum) from Central America and was much sought after in the 17th century.  Achieve shades of purple-grey/black with this powdered logwood“. 
Well I haven’t ever got black, but purples certainly!

More info here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haematoxylum_campechianum

First of all I make sure all the fabric is “prepared for dyeing”, either washed at home or purchased from Whaleys.

I soak the fabric in Alum (a mordant to make the colour “stick”) before dyeing.  In the large cookpot I dissolve about 4 tablespoons.  Don’t ask me how large the pot it.  Large. 

(Important note here – when I dye with Procion I measure everything, when I use natural dyes I like to play and just let it happen). 

So the fabric soaks in alum water for about 30 mins.  I have made sure the alum is completely dissolved and the water about boiling level then I switch off the gas.

Results from the pot below;


I drain the fabric from the alum water but don’t rinse it or let it dry. I make up the logwood dye in the cookpot I bring it to the boil and then turn it off.

Then I put the some fabric into the roasting tins – mainly the smaller pieces and I do think about how they are crumpled and laid out.  Then I pour the dissolved logwood over, cover with kitchen foil and bake in the oven (60 degrees C) for a few hours.  Switch off the oven and leave overnight.

(Note – the roasting tins are old and rusty.  I’ve had these two out all winter in all weathers.  The rust is important to deepen the colour).

Some fabric goes back into the cook pot plus the dye and is covered and boiled for about 30 mins then the heat turned off and left to cool. 

This is how one roasting tin looked – can you see the “gold”?  Never seen this before.  It washed off but I wonder what caused it.


After washing at 30 degrees (this is for wall pieces so I’m not bothered about removing every single dye molecule) I tumble dry and now have a pile to iron……watch this space.


Safety note – all utensils, pots and such only used for dyeing, wear a mask…. wash hands…. etc etc etc….

8 thoughts on “Logwood

  • 26/03/2011 at 4:29 am

    I always wondered how you dyed your fabrics – thanks for sharing Helen. Will give it a go when I get spare time (hopefully this century!!!)
    Just LOVE the gold – pity it washed out.
    Can't wait to see the wall hanging you make from this stash.

  • 26/03/2011 at 7:13 am

    Lovely colours. I would like to try this too.
    Did you use aluminum pans, boilers??

  • 26/03/2011 at 9:50 am

    Many thanks, amazing colours and all from the same dye bath! was the lace synthetic? It hasn't taken as much dye.

  • 26/03/2011 at 4:58 pm

    It looks like you've come up with a gorgeous collection of logwood dyed materials. Can't wait to see what you're going to do with them!

  • 27/03/2011 at 2:57 pm

    If someone could tell you what the gold is, it might be possible to work out a way of keeping it – then you'd have even more options!

  • 31/03/2011 at 11:57 pm

    I'm just starting to experiment with natural dyes and have never heard of logwood, wonderful colours.
    I've had a similar metallic sort of gold appearing during my rust dyeing but it washed away too – there is a photo of it on my flickr if this link works http://flic.kr/p/5PkR8x

  • 18/03/2013 at 10:49 am

    I did some dying today using a starter pack from George Wiel. All interesting results.
    I used the chrome mordant and the logwood sample came up a beautiful rich black.
    I'm making another test tomorrow, using the same dyes but with the alum mordant.

  • 27/07/2014 at 6:51 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I'm about to try Natural dyeing for my Degree module.

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