Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts

Understanding Mordants and Modifiers



Description: Modifier of crystalline granules or powder evaporated from dry lakes, underground caves, the sea; used Since pre-history as a food flavoring; valuable trade item throughout the centuries.
Other Names: Sodium Chloride, bay salt, common salt, halite, halide, ice cream salt, pickling salt, rock salt, sea salt, table salt, [ME] sealt, salin, salten, [OE] sealt, [Ger] salz, [L] sal, [Gk] hals, [OE] s(e)altan, [ON] salta
Dye Use: Neutral catalyst, rinse fixative, dye speed-up, brings out reds, blues; makes greens more yellow; useful for indigo vats if darker colors are desired. Best salt to use: rock, pickling, or ice cream salt with no additives. "Salting" is adding a pinch to the pot to even out dye colors.
Best On: All fibers
Dye Recipe: 1/2-1 c in 1 gal water; salt + vinegar = stronger colors, especially with iron mordant, particularly with purple dyes; salt + baking soda = good greens, darker yellows; salt + ammonia = soft greens with copper mordant
Safety: No danger unless you are on a sodium-free diet. Salt can kill small animals.
Disposal: Pour down sink
Alternative: Table salt has added sugar (to make it pour better) and often has iodine in it, which can affect delicate colors, so it is not as effective for dye work as rock salt, Kosher salt, or ice cream salt.
Source: Grocery store

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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