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The king of blues and until the early 20 century the only blue, but still the only natural blue that will withstand any considerable amount of time. This dye has been being used dating as far back as 2000 BC, found in mummies tombs in Egypt it was highly prized and used regularly as is today yet many people would not realize there wardrobe contains at least a couple of garments and the process has remained the same since these ancient times.

Materials list

3 plastic 1 litre jugs
1 2 litre jug
1 scoop
1 10 litre bucket
wisk
vapour mask

Ingredients
100g salt
30g soda ash
20 g sodium hydroxide
30 g indigo vat grains

Step 1:

MEASURE ALL INGREDIENTS IN INDIVIDUAL PLASTIC JUGS TO SPECIFIED WEIGHTS
Can you give a source for the indigo vat grains? Otherwise an absolutely awesome Instructable : ) Thanks!
http://www.alibaba.com has a few supplyers for as low as 1kg minimum order quantities... <br>
hmm purple, if you have no problem smashing snails with a stone and removing the glands why not ;o)
<p>I've used this recipe a couple of times now and it's worked really well. Lumo the Maker, I just have one question. This recipe doesn't require thiourea dioxide or sodium hydrosulfite as reducing agents, but seems to reduce the indigo anyway. Is caustic soda the reducing agent? And is this method still gentle enough for wool and silk?</p>
<p>this article helped me a lot for my project... a very nice way to make people understand about you own experiment. it helped me a lot. i was searching the information about the topic you have written and i have come across plenty of websites and blogs but i dint get the perfect thing which i wanted,and then i got your blog which completed my entire project of blue rebellion. i was asked to write even the steps how to do the indigo dyeing process. thanks a lot! and keep doing these kind of work so that if i need any kind of help from your blog i'll get it... :-)</p>
<p>this article helped me a lot for my project... a very nice way to make people understand about you own experiment. it helped me a lot. i was searching the information about the topic you have written and i have come across plenty of websites and blogs but i dint get the perfect thing which i wanted,and then i got your blog which completed my entire project of blue rebellion. i was asked to write even the steps how to do the indigo dyeing process. thanks a lot! and keep doing these kind of work so that if i need any kind of help from your blog i'll get it... :-)</p>
Wonderful instructions for using the processed indigo vat grains. BUT - how would you go about making a dye from the indigo PLANT? Thanks!
Plant extraction of indigo requires several steps because the dye itself does not actually exist in nature. The chemical found in plant leaves is really indican, a precursor to indigo. The ancient process to extract indican from plant leaves and convert it to indigo has remained unchanged for thousands of years. In this process, a series of tanks are arranged in a step wise fashion. The upper-most tank is a fermentation vessel into which the freshly cut plants are placed. An enzyme known as indimulsin is added to hydrolyze, or break down, the indican into indoxyl and glucose. During this process carbon dioxide is given off and the broth in the tank turns a murky yellow. <br>After about 14 hours, the resulting liquid is drained into a second tank. Here, the indoxyl-rich mixture is stirred with paddles to mix it with air. This allows the air to oxidize the indoxyl to indigotin, which settles to the bottom of the tank. The upper layer of liquid is siphoned away and the settled pigment is transferred to a third tank where it is heated to stop the fermentation process. The resultant mixture is filtered to remove impurities and dried to form a thick paste. <br> <br>Historically, the Japanese have used another method which involves extracting indigo from the polygonum plant. In this process the plant is mixed with wheat husk powder, limestone powder, lye ash, and sake. The mixture is allowed to ferment for about one week to form the dye pigment which is called sukumo. <br> <br>Copy from: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-6/Indigo.html
Lapiz lazuli was mined in India for at least 3000 years. Although it produced a much brighter blue, it was far harder to obtain and use, which is why it wasn't used quite as much way back then.
It was also better at dying silk than indigo was.
Very nice tut. <br>The only big problem with indigo dyeing is that, the excess of tint remain over the fibers and came out for many many time during the use and the washes, i know that because i have an hakama and a kendogi made with japanese traditional indigo dyeing, in my searches on the net to find a way to fix the color i discovered that traditional metods like vinegar or chemical fixatives won't work.The traditional japanese old way is to use animal urine, cause the bacteria inside litteraly eat the excess colour. Some japanese people smell the dyed fabric for be sure that are made on the very old way.
Try with lemon and salt.
Can you please advise the sources for Indigo Vat Grains here in the US? <br> <br>Thanks
We are in the UK and the only person we know sells a minimum of kilogram amounts, although due to popularity of this instructable we were going to sell some smaller amounts of 100 grams. We can ship over if you so wish. Email me if your interested. lumolights@gmail.com
Nice article, but Woad is a traditional blue dye used in Asia and Europe until the indigo trade put it out of business, as indigo is a much stronger source of dye. I believe the color is identical to Indigo, but not as intense. Indigo definitely is not the only natural blue!
Yes woad is a natural blue, sorry bit misleading of me. I think what i meant to say is a natural blue that will last. Woad can be known to fade in a couple of years, where as indigo can last thousands.
Really enjoyed seeing how the fabric turned from green to indigo with exposure to air/ oxygen. Wow. Thanks for sharing.
The thing I find most amazing about this process is that ancient civilizations were able to figure this out. Truly amazing.
Now try making royal purple ;-)
what kind of reducing agent do you use? And what kind of salt?
I would so love to do this! I understand it has a strong aroma, but still, it would be fun! <br> <br>Just a note for anyone who is not aware, the sodium hydroxide is lye. If you are trying to locate it and can't, try googling cold process soap making. You should come up with a few places that sell it.
Wow, Amazing instructable, very detailed, and very cool. Thanks for publish it.

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