Madder consists of the ground-up dried roots of a plant Rubia
tinctorum, cultivated in France, Holland and other parts of Europe,
as well as in India. Madder is one of the best and fastest dyes. It is
used also in combination with other dyes to produce compound colours.
The gradual raising of the temperature of the dye bath is essential in
order to develop the full colouring power of madder; long boiling
should be avoided, as it dulls the colour. If the water is deficient
in lime, brighter shades are got by adding a little ground chalk to
the dye bath, 1 to 2 per cent.
Madder is difficult to dye as it easily rubs off and the following
points should be noted.
(1). The baths should be quite clean. Rusty baths must not
(2). Before dyeing, the wool must be thoroughly washed so as
to get rid of all superfluous mordant.
(3). A handful of bran to the pound of wool, helps to
brighten the colour.
(4). The wool should be entered into a tepid dye bath and
raised to boiling in 1 hour and boiled for 10 minutes or
Mordant with 1/4 lb. Alum to the pound of wool. Boil for 1 hour, let
cool in mordant, wring out and put away in bag for 3 or 4 days. Wash
very thoroughly. Then dye with 5 to 8 ozs. madder according to depth
of colour required, and a handful of bran for every pound of wool.
Enter in cool bath and bring slowly to the boil in an hour or more.
Boil for a few minutes.
(2) ROSE RED
Mordant with Alum. Dye with 4 to 4-1/2 ozs. madder to lb. wool and a
very small quantity of logwood (1/2 oz. to 1 oz. to 3 or 4 lbs. of
(1 lb.) Mordant with 2-1/2 ozs. Copper Sulphate. Dye with 2 ozs. to 4
ozs. Madder according to depth of colour required. For yellow brown
add a small quantity of fustic (1/4 oz. to the lb.)
(4) RED BROWN
Mordant wool with 3% Chrome (see p. 9), wash well and dye with 5 to 8
ozs. madder, bringing slowly to the boil, and boil for 1 hour.
Various shades of brownish red can be got by a mixture of madder,
fustic and logwood with a Chrome mordant in varying proportions such
as 28 per cent Madder, 12 per cent Fustic, 1 per cent Logwood for a
brownish claret. 5 per cent Madder, 4 per cent Fustic, 1/2 per cent
Logwood for tan.
Next: Brazil Woods