We will be closed this Jubilee bank holiday from 2nd - 5th June.

Any orders placed after midnight on Tuesday 31st May will be processed on Monday the 6th June.

If you have bought an Indigo cake from us, you can follow one of the dyeing methods below.

Method No.1 - 1-2-3 FERROUS VAT (good for cotton)

75g Indigo cake (1 part)

150g Ferrous sulphate (2 parts)

225g Lime (3 parts)

30 litres water

30 litre Plastic bucket with lid or

30 litre Earthenware pot

1 large and 1 small wooden/stainless steel spoon Jam jar with lid

1 litre mixing jug

Old dishcloth

Thick rubber gloves (from a garden centre) Clothing hangers or washing line

Clothes pegs

Ph testing paper

White vinegar/acetic acid

PREPARING THE VAT

Take 30 litres of water and almost bring to the boil (95 degrees) add to the plastic bucket or earthenware pot.

Crush the indigo cake into powder and add to the jam jar with some of the nearly boiled water. Put the lid on tightly and shake to hydrate. Add the indigo to the vat and stir.

Dissolve the ferrous sulphate in some of the hot water from the vat, then add to the vat and stir.

Dissolve the lime in some of the hot water from the vat until it is a paste then add to the vat and stir.

Wait for the vat to turn greenish-yellow (this will take between 1-3 hours) Check for a brown surface with dark bubbles. The vat should be ph 11-13.

PREPARING THE YARN OR CLOTH FOR DYEING

Wash your yarn/cloth in natural soap and hot water to remove all starches and stiffeners.

Cotton can be almost boiled with the soap solution. Wool and silk must be soaked overnight in warm soap solution. Leave overnight and wash in cold water the next morning.

USING THE VAT

Take your washed yarn/cloth, squeeze until damp.

Take out half a litre of the vat liquid using the measuring jug and keep to one side.

Put on the rubber gloves, and fully immerse the yarn or cloth in the vat, squeeze out all surplus air and gently open out the yarn /cloth underneath the surface of the vat and gently move it around for about 10 minutes.

Take out of the vat and squeeze to remove most of the liquid. Let the excess liquid drip into the vat until the dripping stops. The colour should change from greenish yellowish blue to blue. Dip in water to oxidise. Hang for 5 mins until excess water has dripped away.

Repeat dyeing once more.

Hang on hanger or peg to washing line in the shade.

Put the half litre of vat liquid in the measuring jug back into the vat. This rebalances the vat with the original enzymes.

Use the vat again next morning to repeat the process.

Repeat until the desired colour has been achieved.

Finally hang yarn/cloth for 4-5 days in the shade so the colour will be strong.

Rinse yarn/cloth in warm vinegar water mixture; 10 litres water to a capful of vinegar. Do this 2-3 times, or until the water runs clear. This helps to balance the ph of the dyed yarn or fabric.

Give a final rinse in cold water. Hang to dry

Technique No.2 - NATURAL INDIGO VAT FOR 20 LT. VAT - ADVANCED

This vat will keep on going if maintained

180g Dry Indigo cake

70g Lime

105g Carbonate of soda

55g Dates (un pitted)

20 litres Water

25-30 litre Plastic bucket with lid or

25-30 Earthenware pot

1 Large and 1 small wooden / stainless steel spoon 1 saucer

1 litre mixing jug

Old dishcloth

Thick rubber gloves (from a garden centre) Clothing hangers or washing line

Clothes pegs

Ph testing paper

White vinegar / acetic acid

PREPARING THE VAT

DAY 1

Take a 20-25 litre earthenware pot or plastic bucket. This will be the vat. Half bury the vat in the ground if it is hot, or wrap with straw/blanket if it’s cold for insulation. Keep the vat in a shady spot out of direct sunlight.

Fill the vat with plain water: 19 L

ADD:

15g Lime

35g Carbonate of soda & stir

DAY 2 ADD:

15g Lime

35g Carbonate of Soda & stir

DAY 3 ADD:

15g Lime

35g Carbonate of Soda & stir

Total Quantities for above 3 days are:

45g Lime

105g Carbonate of Soda

In the evening, soak 90g of indigo cake in water in a saucer. The water should be enough to moisten the dry indigo cake.

DAY 4

In the morning, grind the indigo to a paste with a little bit of water. Add to the vat and stir well

Then soak another 90g of Indigo cake in water in a saucer.

In the evening, grind the second lot of indigo and add to the vat and stir well 

DAY 5

In the morning, boil in an old saucepan:

25g Lime

55g Dates

500ml water

With enough water to cover, boil it down for about 15 minutes until the liquid is a dark yellowy brown.

Add this mixture to the indigo vat while it is still hot and stir a couple of times.

DAY 6

When the vat is ready there will be a bluey-green foam on top. In a hot climate the vat will be ready on the 6th day. If it’s cold, it will take a few days longer.

PREPARING THE YARN OR CLOTH FOR DYEING

Wash your yarn/cloth in a natural soap in hot water to remove all starches and stiffeners.

Cotton can be almost boiled with the soap solution. Wool and silk must be soaked overnight in warm soap solution. Leave overnight and wash in cold water the next morning.

USING THE VAT

Take your washed yarn/cloth, squeeze until damp.

Take out half a litre of the vat liquid using the measuring jug and keep to one side.

Put on the rubber gloves, and fully immerse the yarn or cloth in the vat, squeeze out all surplus air, gently open out the yarn/cloth underneath the surface of the vat and gently move it around for about 10 minutes.

Take out of the vat and squeeze to remove most of the liquid. Let the excess liquid drip into the vat until the dripping stops. The colour should change from greenish yellowish blue to blue. Dip in water to oxidise. Hang for 5 mins until excess water has dripped away.

Repeat dyeing once more.

Hang on hanger or peg to washing line in the shade.

Put the half litre of vat liquid in the measuring jug back into the vat. This rebalances the vat with the original enzymes.

Use the vat again next morning to repeat the process.

Repeat until the desired colour has been achieved.

Finally hang yarn/cloth for 4-5 days in the shade so the colour will be strong.

Rinse yarn/cloth in a warm vinegar water mixture; 10 litres water to a capful of vinegar. Do this 2-3 times, or until the water runs clear. This helps to balance the ph of the dyed yarn or fabric.

Give a final rinse in cold water. Hang to dry

TIPS

The vat should ALWAYS be covered when not in use, but so it can breathe. If you are using a plastic bucket, drill several holes in the lid. If you are using the traditional earthenware pot, cover it with a cloth or a woven basket.

The vat’s ph level should be between 10 - 13

Always cover the vat when not in use as direct sunlight weakens the vat

TROUBLESHOOTING

If there is white foam, add 60g of lime

If the vat feels too soapy/ limey, add 50g dates

If not fermenting, put your hands down to the bottom of the vat and give the mixture a good squeeze.

To rest the vat when not in use add 100g of lime

To get the vat going again, boil up 30g of lime and 60g of dates in 500ml of water. Add to the vat when hot and stir.

RECHARGE RATES

Recharge for equivalent of 5m of fabric

32g Indigo

37g Carbonate of soda

19g lime

37g dates

Dilute the carbonate of soda into a paste and then add to the vat.

Add a little hot water to the lime and make into a paste. Crush the dates, add to the lime mix, then add to the vat. If the water in the vat has gone down by a litre or two, dilute the date and lime mixture with the 1-2 litres of hot water, then add to the vat

Crush up the indigo into a paste using some water from the vat. This helps the indigo to dissolve. Add to vat and stir. The vat should be ready the next day.

Technique No.3 - FRUIT VATS

BANANA VAT

30 old small bananas- riper the better

75g indigo cake

75g lime

28 litres water

PAPAYA/PEAR VAT

2.5kg ripe papaya or pears (skin and all)

95g indigo cake

55g lime

25 litres water 

25-30 litre Plastic bucket with lid or

25-30 Earthenware pot

1 Large & 1 small wooden / stainless steel spoon 1 saucer

1 litre mixing jug

Old dishcloth

Thick rubber gloves (from a garden centre) Clothing hangers or washing line

Clothes pegs

Ph testing paper

White vinegar / acetic acid

PREPARING THE VAT

Soak 100g of indigo cake in water in a saucer. The water should be enough to moisten the dry indigo cake.

Peel the bananas, chop the bananas, papaya or pears, add a splash of water and mix in a blender until almost smooth. Add a cup full of water and gently bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 mins. 

Heat up the water until boiling. Add this to the vat, then add the banana pulp and stir. Mix the lime with a bit of water into a paste and add to the vat and stir.

Grind up the indigo into a powder/paste, add to the vat and stir. Gently stir again after 10 and 20 minutes.

The vat will be ready when it has cooled down to warm and there is a blue foam formed on the surface.

PREPARING THE YARN OR CLOTH FOR DYEING

Wash your yarn/cloth in natural soap in hot water to remove all starches and stiffeners.

Cotton can be almost boiled with the soap solution. Wool and silk must be soaked overnight in warm soap solution. Leave overnight and wash in cold water the next morning.

USING THE VAT

Take your washed yarn/cloth, squeeze until damp.

Take out half a litre of the vat liquid using the measuring jug and keep to one side.

Put on the rubber gloves, and fully immerse the yarn or cloth in the vat, squeeze out all surplus air and gently open out the yarn/cloth underneath the surface of the vat and gently move it around for about 10 minutes.

Take out of the vat and squeeze to remove most of the liquid. Let the excess liquid drip into the vat until the dripping stops. The colour should change from greenish yellowish blue to blue. Dip in water to oxidise. Hang for 5 mins until excess water has dripped away.

Repeat dyeing once more.

Hang on hanger or peg to washing line in the shade.

Put the half litre of vat liquid in the measuring jug back into the vat. This rebalances the vat with the original enzymes.

Use the vat again next morning to repeat the process.

Repeat until the desired colour has been achieved.

Finally hang yarn/cloth for 4-5 days in the shade so the colour will be strong.

Rinse yarn/cloth in warm vinegar water mixture; 10 litres water to a capful of vinegar. Do this 2-3 times, or until the water runs clear. This helps to balance the ph of the dyed yarn or fabric.

Give a final rinse in cold water. Hang to dry

TIPS

The vat should always be covered when not in use. So it can breathe, if you are using a plastic bucket, drill several holes in the lid and put the lid on the bucket. If you are using the traditional earthenware pot, cover it with a cloth or a woven basket.

Vat’s ph level should be between 10 - 11

Always cover the vat when not in use as direct sunlight weakens the vat

RECHARGE BANANA

15 ripe old small bananas 

55 gm indigo cake

40 gm lime

RECHARGE PAPAYA/PEAR

900g ripe papaya/pears (skin and all)

70g indigo cake

35g lime

RECHARGE PROCESS

Use 1-2 litres of nearly boiling water instead of 28/30 litres full amount. Follow the instructions above for preparing the vat and add the recharge mix into the existing vat. Give it a stir, leave overnight. The vat is ready to use next morning.

STORING STUFF

Indigo cakes, lime and ferrous sulphate should all be stored in air-tight containers away from sunlight on the back of a shelf or cupboard in a shady/dark spot.

If you have any questions please contact us at studio@clothhouse.com