Madder - One of the Oldest Dye Stuff Known


Madder is one of the oldest dye stuff known and is best known to produce Turkey reds, terracotta, orange-red etc. In combination with other dyes it can yield crimson red , purple, rust brown and near black. One could spend a lifetime exploring madder as a dye plant. Madder contains complex group of substances. It is said that more than 20 variety of compounds can be found in the plant.   That explains why madder produces a plethora of naturally dyed colours. 

Alizarin is the organic dye component found in the madder root that creates the crimson red colour that we usually associate with the term madder. Its sad but true that in the 1860's researchers discovered how to manufacture Alizarin synthetically and the use of madder as a dye stuff has become mostly limited to artisans in the small scale and cottage industries.

Madder is highly sensitive to temperature. It works great with slightly hard water. The dye bath demands a lot of care in order to get a true red. As the temperature gets hotter, you will end up with brown tones as the heat releases other colourants as the temperature raises. 

When it comes to growing madder it takes 3 or more years for the roots to reach its maturity and yield their best colour possible while extraction. 

Madder Tie & Dye Kit

At AVANI we widely use Indian Madder for dyeing our textiles especially, silk, wool and linen. We also do sell Madder root powder for hobby dyers and other artisans. We also have a Madder - DIY kit to learn Tie and Dye with a user guide.

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Reference: Maiwa