DYE RESOURCE BOOK LIST
Natural Dyes and Home Dyeing
Adrosko, Rita J.
Dover Publications, Inc.
180 Varick St., New York, NY 10014
This is an unabridged and corrected reproduction of the work originally
published in 1968 as United States National Museum Bulletin No. 281 under the
title "Natural Dyes in the United States", which was published by the
Smithsonian Institution Press.
This is a historically oriented volume, focusing on the dyestuffs used in
America in the 18th & 19th centuries. There is an extensive bibliography and a
set of appendices which focus on information from even older dye manuals. It
contains over 150 recipes and is an excellent sourcebook for those interested
in historically accurate dye materials and techniques.
North American Dye Plants
Interweave Press, 1993
Anne lives in the Northern Colorado foothills and so her book has a leaning
toward the natural materials available in this part of the country.
A nice little book that is a valuable guide for anyone who would like to learn
more about plants that are suited for brewing natural dyes. Nice drawings,
small "cartable" size. A good resource book for plants for a dye garden.
Weeds: A Guide for Dyers
Boulder, Colorado: Juniper House, 1978
This book gives the historic and contemporary usefulness of fifth easily
recognized "weeds" along with hints for preparing edible weeds and complete
instructions for dyeing. A useful reference book.
Early American WEAVING and DYEING
Bronson, J. and R
The Domestic Manufacturer's Assistant and Family Directory
in the Arts of Weaving and Dyeing
Dover Publications, 1977
This volume, with an introduction by Rita J. Adrosko, Curator, Division of
Textiles, National Museum of History and Technology, is an unabridged and
slightly corrected reproduction of the work originally published in 1817 under
the name which is now the sub-title.
The dye recipes in here are definitely historically accurate. For example, a
recipe for a good black on cotton calls for 2-1/2 pounds of logwood, 1-1/2
pounds of sumac, 1/2 peck of stone lime, 1 pound 8 ounces copperas, 12 ounces
fustic, and 4 ounces hog's lard to dye 5 pounds of cotton yarn.
It is a wonderful historical reference and besides the dye recipes, if one
is a weaver there are some great historical weave patterns in the book as
well. Anyone who weaves will no doubt recognize the name Bronson.
Lichens for Vegtable Dyeing
Bolton, Eileen M
Newton Centre, MA
Charles T. Branford Company, 1960
Nice little book that gives detailed descriptions of many lichens and how
to use them. Not a lot of color but there are color paintings of groups
of lichens. No color photos of dyed fiber.
The Weaving, Spinning, and Dyeing Book
Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 1983
Ms. Brown's work was done at the Craft House in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico,
but most of her dye recipes widely available materials.
Another favorite book in this collection. Far beyond just a dye book,
it covers fiber arts in such a way that if you want to get involved in
this area, live far away from teachers and other sources of equipment,
materials, etc., and can have only one book, this is the one to go for.
It even contains full directions for building several kinds of looms,
an assortment of projects with detailed directions for those looms,
warping, weaving and finishing instructions; how to make a simple
spinning wheel and spinning instruction, types of fiber and their
properties, plying and blocking, preparing skeins for dyeing. While
there are not a great number of dye recipes in the book, all are
explained simply and in detail. There is also a chapter on color and
design. The resource section is huge and the book has lots of line
drawings and black and white photographs, and even a section of color
plates, including plates of yarns dyed with natural dyes.
Navajo Native Dyes: Their Preparation and Use
Bryan, Nonabh G
Palmer Lake, Colorado
The Filter Press, 1978
An interesting little book about dyeing the Navajo way with a
description of the traditional Navajo dyeing techniques as well
as a complete description of the plants used and the colors they
give. Very interesting from a historical perspective.
A Dyer's Guarden
Interweave Press, Inc. 1995
A great book with lots of beautiful color photos and directions for
dyeing. Also has a number of garden layouts for planting your own
dyer's guarden. I recommend this book.
Dye Plants and Dyeing
Cannon, John & Margaret
Herbert Press Limited, 1994
This is a lovely book. Full of beautiful illustrations. The recipes
seem extensive with lots of historical information. A nice addition
to the library.
Spinning and Dyeing the Natural Way
Van Nostrand Reinhold Company
a division of Litton Educational Publishing
450 West 33rd Street
New York, NY 10001
This is the book to get if you are a teacher or have other opportunities
to teach children fiber arts. The entire book focuses on methods
and techniques for teaching children spinning, dyeing and various
finishing techniques that are designed to catch children's interest and
make for positive experience and successful completion. Chock full of
black and white photographs of students from grade school through
college involved in the steps of the process, and with occasional color
plates where useful, this book goes from sheep to finished product in
detail and patient explanation of every step. Included are instructions
on off-loom weaving (on branches), backstrap weaving (instructions
included), knitting (making needles out of doweling for economy),
rug hooking, tapestry, embroidery, crochet, finger weaving, etc.
Contained are color results with different mordants for 43 dye plants,
along with basic mordant and dyebath technique.
Dyes from Your Garden
Conor, Bernice Gillette
E. A. Seemann Publishing, Inc., 1975
A cute little book with some general information on collection
and preparing dye materials. The best thing about this book is
the large number of dye recipes from unusual dye materials from
avocado seeds to ficus to tomato vines. Some good color photos.
The Dye Pot
Davidson, Mary Frances
self-published - dated 1976
Address: Route 3
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
This is a very informative, easy to read book. Her explanations
on dyeing properties of fibers, information on mordanting which
goes deeper than "use this to do this", and her instructions on
dyeing process for each plant are excellent if somewhat varied
in detail. The impression is that where measurements are needed
she gives them, and often extra historical and/or regional information
(plants from different areas do not always give the same colors.
For example, the Highland Scots used Dandelion roots to obtain
a magenta for their tartans. However, Dandelion roots in this
country give yellows to creams & some greenish yellows depending
upon location and mordant.) On her indigo vat instructions she
even provides a trouble-shooting section for vat failures.
Another value of this book is its wide range of plants listed,
including wild "weeds". Also, as this woman's location is in Tennessee,
it is a good source book for Eastern U.S. dye plants.
The Craft of Natural Dyeing
Kent, England: Search Press Limited, 1994
Nice book with nice color photos. A good book for the dyer's library.
Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants
Grae, Ida -Dean, Jenny
pub. Collier Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Co, Inc.
866 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022
A favorite dye plant book for many. Step by step instructions,
lots of photos as well as drawings, diagrams, color plates, recipe
book format, reference tables, cosmetic recipes, materials source
listings, and sections on techniques for developing your own dye
recipes and on using food and food related plants for dye sources
makes this a book as easily used by the city dweller as by the
The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing:
Traditional Recipes for
Knoxville, University of Tennessee Press, 1990
This book consolidates the lore of the older dyers with the
author's own first-hand experience to produce both a history
of natural dyes and a practical manual for using pre‹synthetic-era
processes on all the natural fibers‹cotton, linen, silk and wool.
Nature's Dyepot: A Resource Guide for Spinners, Weavers & Dyers
McRae, Bobbi A
Austin, Texas: Fiberworks Publications, 1991
This is a book of resources. It is a little out-dated but full
of good sources for : Plants and Seeds, Dried Dyestuffs and
Miscellaneous Supplies and a bibliography of Select Books and
Articles plus an A to Z chart of potential dye plants. A good
The Use of Vetable Dyer
London, England: The Dryad Press, 1964
This book could be out of print as I found it in a used bookstore. Has a good
list of usable dye plants and is a good historical reference book.
Indigo, Madder & Marigold
Van Stralen, Trudy
Loveland, Colorado: Interweave Press, Inc. 1993
This is a great book. It has very clear, step-by-step instructions for
dyeing with all sorts of natural materials with lots of color photos
showing the different colors abtainable with different mordants. A
definate must for any dyer's library.
Ancient Dyes for Modern Weavers
New York, NY: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1974
This little book lists 125 recipes using natural dye materials and
different mordants. The only color photos are on the inside front and
back cover but the information is extensive.
Dyeing with Natural Materials
Las Aranas Spinners and Weavers Guild
Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987
This booklet was prepared to be used in a workshop and has recipes
for a number of plants.