Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts

Understanding Mordants and Modifiers



Description: Colorless volatile liquid used in Medieval times as a solvent and to oxidize dyewoods.
      Ethyl alcohol: C2H6O: Absolute alcohol, anhydrous alcohol, dehydrated alcohol, ethanol, ethyl hydrate, ethyl hydroxide
      Methyl alcohol: CH4O: Carbinal, methanol, wood alcohol, wood spirit.
Dye Use: Mild color modifier, good oxidizer for dyewoods, solvent for glues
Best On: Any fiber
Dye Recipe: To oxidize dyewood: Grind 2-4 oz wood chips to sawdust in old coffee grinder, put into shallow pan with 1 c alcohol and 1-2 drops dish-washing liquid. Mix through dyewood; powdered dyestuff will look like dry cookie dough. Spread out on pan and oxidize 4-6 hours or overnight, stir occasionally so all wood is exposed to air. Soak wood in water all day; the longer dyewood soaks, the more dye color is released.
Safety: Ethanol is toxic; methanol is a mutagen; both are flammable, mobile, and poisonous. Never use alcohol over open fire; it can flare and create toxic fumes.
Disposal: Pour down sink or toilet
Alternative: Rubbing alcohol, cheap gin, or vodka.
Source: Pharmacy, chemical supply house

CODES: c = cup; gal = gallon; lb = pound (weight); tbsp = Tablespoon; tsp = teaspoon / [AF] Anglo-French; [Ar] Arabic; [AS] Anglo-Saxon; [Dan] Danish; [Du] Dutch; [Fr] French; [Ger] German; [Gk] Greek; [It] Italian; [L] Classical Latin; [LL] Late Latin; [ME] Middle English; [ML] Modern Latin; [OE] Old English; [OF] Old French; [ON] Old Norse; [OS] Old Saxon; [Port] Portuguese; [Sp] Spanish; [Sw] Swedish / CE = Common Era; BCE = Before Common Era

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