Bengala Dyeing

iron oxide

Bengala dyes are natural and environmentally safe.  The name comes from the Bengal region in India-Bangladesh where the process originated.  The dyes are used with water only, although it is recommended that one uses their ammonium based pre-fixer to make the colours more vibrant on your fabric. The dye is kneaded into the fabric, and the water will gradually become clear as the fabric takes up more of the dye.  Once you have the colour you want, if there is any dye still left in the water, it will last for up to five days in the refrigerator so you can use it again.  The dye is made from iron oxide so any unused dye can be disposed of by tipping it onto the soil.  The colour will be fast once it has dried and it has gentle UV protection.  Historically, iron oxide is a very old pigment which was used by many ancient cultures, and the Japanese used iron oxide to paint their wooden structures to give UV protection and to deter termites.  There is much iron oxide in many Australian soils which gives it the red colour.  This sounds like a fun thing to play with.  I have not found it for sale anywhere in Australia yet unfortunately, but here’s hoping.

One Comment:

  1. Very strange how we don’t seem to be able to buy this dye in Australia…….the original vanity unit in our 1975-built bathroom was “Pilbara Red” laminex and is this exact colour…..VERY trendy then, but alas, not now! Am guessing that is also the colour which we see in the aboriginal rock art and why it also has survived for soooo long.

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