Iron (ferrous sulfate) is used as a color changer, darkening or “saddening” natural dyes on protein or cellulose fibers. It also increases lightfastness and acts as a mineral mordant for dark shades. The famous black dye recipes from the 17th and 18th century use generous amounts of iron and tannin. Iron reacts with the tannin in many dyestuffs creating colors ranging from chartreuse green to black, depending on the dye it is combined with.
This iron powder is light green and food grade. Use it either during mordanting or in a post-dye bath. Too much iron can harshen the hand of protein (silk, wool) fibers, so use it sparingly. There are specific safety precautions with iron: Keep out of reach of children.
Iron may also be used as the reducing agent in a traditional indigo fermentation vat.
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