how to make mulberry dye

Mulberry dye is a popular choice among crafters and artists looking for a sustainable and beautiful way to color their fabrics and yarns. This guide will walk you through the process of making your own mulberry dye, from gathering materials to enjoying the finished product.

Materials Needed:

Large container (such as a 5-gallon bucket)


Mulberry bark or roots
Heat source (such as a stove or campfire)
Mordant (such as alum, iron, or copper)
Fabric or yarn

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

The first step in making your own mulberry dye is to gather all the necessary materials. You will need a large container to hold the water and your dye mixture, as well as some fabric or yarn to dye. You will also need mulberry bark or roots, a heat source to boil the water, mordant to help the dye adhere to the fabric, and any tools you may need to chop or crush the bark.

Step 2: Prepare Your Mulberry Bark or Roots

Before you can start making your dye, you will need to prepare your mulberry bark or roots. Wash them thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris, then chop them into small pieces if using bark, or crush them with a mortar and pestle until they release their juice. Be sure to wear gloves while handling the bark or roots, as they can be quite prickly and potentially harmful if ingested.

Step 3: Boil Your Mulberry Mixture

Next, you will need to boil your mulberry mixture. Fill your container with enough water to cover the bark or roots by at least an inch. Place the container on a stove or campfire and bring the water to a boil. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally. The longer you let it simmer, the deeper the color of your dye will be.

Step 4: Strain Your Dye

After several hours of simmering, remove the container from heat and allow it to cool down to room temperature. Then, strain the dye through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer into a separate container. Discard the solids, which are the bark or roots that have released their juice. Be sure to clean your container thoroughly before pouring the dye back in.

Step 5: Prepare Your Fabric or Yarn

Before you can start dyeing, you will need to prepare your fabric or yarn. Wash and dry it thoroughly, then soak it in warm water for about an hour to soften the fibers. This step will help the dye adhere better and make it easier to rinse out. If you are using wool or other animal fibers, you may want to add a bit of vinegar to the soaking water to help prevent discoloration.

Step 6: Dye Your Fabric or Yarn

Once your fabric or yarn is prepped and your dye is ready, it’s time to start dyeing. Place your fabric or yarn in a plastic bag or container that can be sealed. Pour the dye over the fabric or yarn and seal the bag or container tightly. Leave the fabric or yarn to soak for several hours or overnight, depending on how dark you want the color to be. Stir occasionally to ensure even coloring.

Step 7: Enjoy Your Handmade Mulberry Dye


You have successfully made your own mulberry dye. Use it on your projects to create stunning textiles and other items with a unique and personal touch. Be sure to rinse your fabric or yarn thoroughly before using it, and avoid washing it in hot water, as this can cause the color to run.