INDIGO dye baths begin in LIVE TA DYE’s studio

One of my favorite things to look forward to when SPRING comes is warm weather in my DYE STUDIO!

Most all my work is made outside dependant on the weather.  i close up shop every year in about December and wait for March to come so that i can get back into my studio and turn things amazing colours with rocking patterns!

Today in my studio i decided to make a batch of INDIGO dye to celebrate the warm weather. Indigo dye baths need to happen on warm days so that you can keep a balanced PH and achieve nice deep even indigo colours on your fabric.

I listened to some loud music in between all these steps and sewed in a few new patterns, and cleaned my art studio from wicked storms. mostly picking tacks out of the ground and broken glass, tweaking my draining system on my outdoor sink and just being super happy.

here is the recipe i used to dye a batch of cotton clothes in indigo.




  • Fill up a quart size mason jar with hot water. dissolve 1.5 tsp of lye in the water.
  • stir in 2-4 tsp of powdered indigo. stir for a couple minutes.
  • add 1 tsp of thiourea dioxide, stir for a minute or two.

if the reduction of the indigo starts properly, the colour of the surface will change to a purplish violet with a coppery sheen. put a lid on the jar and let it sit in a warm spot (i put mine in a sun ray) for an hour or so. the solution will change colours from opaque blue to a clear brownish yellow.  try dropping some of your dye onto a white cup and see if it turns blue after a minute or two.  if it does you are ready for the next stage. at this point you can save your stock solution for up to a week.

while you wait the hour it’s fun to put patterns into clothes for dyeing.


  • put 5 litres of hot water 110-140F in a plastic pail.  i use an old cooler.
  • add 1/8 tsp lye into the water and stir until it dissolves
  • add 1/2 tsp synthropol
  • add 1 tsp thiourea dioxide, stir until dissolved. cover the vat and let it reduce for 15 minutes.
  • carefully lower the jar of STOCK SOLUTION into the dye vat. you want to try not to let out air bubbles when you pour your stock solution into you dye vat.
  • stir gently and let sit for 30-60 minutes until the vat turns yellowish green.

i waited about 30 minutes today, i didn’t have a lot of time so i tried patience and it worked so so. i noticed that when i dyed with the vat a little later than an hour it seemed darker, maybe.


  • add your fabric to the vat carefully, not to splash around water and air.
  • make sure to wear rubber gloves
  • hold down your fabric under the water for a couple minutes gently massaging it. ( some people will leave their fabric for 10-20 minutes)
  • while you are holding your fabric under the water squeeze out all the dye and bring your fabric out of the water.
  • have a bucket next to your dye vat and squeeze the rest of the liquid out of the fabric into it.
  • WATCH THE MAGIC of your fabric turning blue from green!
  • hang your fabric on some line and keep dipping.
  • wait about 10-20 minutes before you dip the fabric the 2nd time and 3rd time…and every time

i would suggest dipping a piece of fabric at least 5 times to get a nice blue and if you want it dark you might want to dip up to 10 times leaving the fabric in the water for 10-20 minutes some dips.  You will want to wait at least 24 hours before you rinse out the indigo dyed fabric. it takes a while for the dye to bond with the fibres. indigo dyed fabric is sensitive to direct sunlight and to chemical laundry soap…

Indigo is amazing because it is a real character! a piece of work to make work.  that is why i love it so much. there is a lot to learn with it!

if you start with this recipe you most likely will have success your first time.

please leave comments of your indigo experiences!




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