Traditional Natural dyes or Vegetable colours of block printing

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Traditional Natural dyes or Vegetable colours of block printing

Since ages natural or vegetable colours are used for block printing technique but now chemical and synthetic colours have taken their place. Extract of vegetables, fruits, trees etc. ingredients are used for making colours. Natural colours are beneficial for environment as well as skin. Many European countries still prefer natural colours because of skin cancer problems. There are five main colours and other colours are light and dark shades of these main colours.

– Indigo

The most beautiful and most valued colour, Indigo blue is made from extracts of an indigofera plant. Soaking and fermentation process give shade between blue and violet colours. This colour was firstly made commercially in India. In 1848 indigo was used to dye blue jeans of workers of American gold mine.

 – Red

This colour is obtained by mixing alum and alizarin. This colour gives shades between red to pink. Another process of making red dyes is by using roots of madder plant which is also commercially used in India. This makes shades between dark and light red.

 – Brown / Black

Iron rust from scrap of iron is the main element used in making this colour. An acidic solution is prepared by processing iron with jiggery and salt. This mixture is buried under the ground for at least 15 days. Finally iron’s rot of this mixture is used as colour which has shades between brown to black.

 – Green

pomegranate and turmeric together make green shade on indigo colored fabric. Indigo is a strong colour which does not fade but yellow dyes loose their strength with repetitive washing and wearing.

– Orange
Shades between yellows and golds can be attained by processing shells of pomegranate. To make it more yellow, pomegranate liquid is dipped into water for 48 hours and mixed with turmeric. Turmeric gives a strong colour on fabric and it can be used alone too for making yellow dyes. Turmeric yellow is also used in conjunction to make other colours like green on indigo dyed fabric, rusty orange on madder red fabric.


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