Natural Dyes – Pomegranate skin mordant

Our pomegranate tree is fruiting! It produces a lot of juicy fruit over a long period of time, so when I read that pomegranate can be used as a natural mordant on all sorts of fibres, I got a bit excited. It can also be used as a yellow dye, but my interest at the moment is using it as a mordant so I don’t have to buy alum.

My approach to this project was to pick the fruit, extract the seeds and store for cooking etc, then remove all the pith inside the peels. After that I placed the clean peels on a tray and stored them in the oven for a week. We removed the tray before using the oven, but put it back in while the oven was still warm after use. In this way I managed to dry the peels to rock hardness without using any extra gas.

After the peels were dry, I ground them to powder in the coffee grinder and stored my new mordant in a labelled jar for future use.

To use the skins as a mordant you need to use 50% pomegranate skins to the fibre (by weight). By this I mean that I would use 50g of pomegranate peels to each 100g of yarn I put in the pot. I also have taken to using fresh skins in a dye pot at the same rate (realising that this will change the ratios).

There is something very satisfying about using scraps to do one more job before they become compost.

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