Walnut hulls & madder root again – but no purples or pinks

I have now done some more experiments using a combination of walnut hulls and madder root – this time using dried madder root, rather than madder extract. As the photo below shows, sadly no purple or pinks were achieved. So I assume that there must be something in the madder extract that caused the results I described in my last post. Whatever this “something” may be, it would not seem to be present in dried madder root.

From left to right: alum mordant, no mordant, no mordant + alkali, no mordant + iron, no mordant + (1) iron & (2) alkali

I simmered the walnut hulls and madder root together for about 30 minutes, then strained off the dye liquid and added the first two samples. After these had been dyed, I added the three remaining samples. After these had simmered for 45 minutes, I removed them and divided the dye bath into two. I added washing soda to one dye bath and iron to the other. I modified one dyed sample in washing soda and two in iron. I then removed one sample from the iron-modified dye bath, rinsed it well then added it to the dye bath containing the washing soda.

Sadly, no purples or pinks were achieved but the reddish-browns are attractive shades.

3 replies
  1. Leena
    Leena says:

    Thank you Jenny for the follow-up. it's good to know it was the extract which gave the surprising colours. These look more what you would expect to get from madder and walnut hulls.

  2. Cedar
    Cedar says:

    Thanks for carrying on with the experiment, and detailed results..  I am ready to dye with the hulls and madder extract today, so will see if we have the same chemicals in the extract as you do,lol, as it seems likely that is the cause of those lovely colors….I will let you know..

    • Jenny Dean
      Jenny Dean says:

      I shall be most interested to know the results of your experiments. These unexpected colours have really fascinated me.

Comments are closed.