natural dyeing, purple in logwood

L-R: shibori dyed; the other two pieces are printed with eucalyptus and then dipped in simmering logwood dyed.

Logwood tree, (Haematoxylon campechianum), is the heartwood of a tree that was used for a long time as a natural source for dyeing and staining hunting traps. The trees grow in Central and South America, parts of Brazil and India. Logwood chips harvested from the heartwood is famous for its purple dye color. However, a slight variation may change depending on the type of mordant used, and pH of the water. It yields a vibrant purple color in alum mordant, and black in iron mordant.

This post is a summer dress made with viscose jersey, a stretchy fabric that takes logwood dye quite well. The logwood chips were soaked in hot water and left to steep overnight. The following day the dye bath was simmered with a little alum and water for an hour.

collage depicting stages of how I got purple from logwood


after being soaked in hot water overnight–what a vibrant purple!

a simple dress to beat the summer heat

tie backs made from shibori dyed in logwood dyebath

I’ve learned one thing, logwood has a light washfastness, as I also noticed the colors washed off slightly after I washed with a gentle soap. Nevertheless, I am happy with the results.

*Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melinda Tai and Obovate Designs with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Thank you for visiting, I welcome all your comments.

“A smile is worth a thousand words, live happy, dye happier, sew happiest.”

This entry was posted in dyeing, eco printing, sewing project, shibori, wearable art and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to natural dyeing, purple in logwood

  1. Deb says:

    Such fresh colors!

    I love using logwood. I use it a lot with wool and it tends to wash very well (cotton was less vibrant colors ). I usually mordant with alum first and then dye. I did learn one important thing, don’t leave your chips drying in a container outside and then go on holiday ( I dry them and reuse them for paler shades). We had a big rain storm while we were gone and there was purple dye overflowing when we returned.


  2. Marilyn Stephens says:

    Oh! The joy of Logwood, stunning colours Melinda and as always beautifully informative xxx


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