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Online Natural Dyeing Course

Claudia Gosse Natural Dyeing

 If you’re someone who likes to work at their own pace, in their own time, our online natural dyeing course is tailor made for you.  Whether you’re looking to replace synthetic with natural dyes for your craft-based enterprise, or you simply want to explore the wonderful world of natural colour, this self-paced course will show you how.

Carefully structured (see full breakdown below), the course is presented in easy-to-follow videos supported by downloadable PDF's.  It is delivered in logical steps under clear headings, and covers everything you need to know to start dyeing your own fabrics or yarns with the fascinating range of natural dyes to be found in the kitchen or the garden, foraged or purchased.Beginning with a brief history of natural dyeing and an explanation of the basic equipment required, the course will give you an understanding of the two main types of  fibre that can be naturally dyed; plant fibre and animal fibre.  It will teach you about the different types of plant dye, their colourfast qualities and how to select those best suited to your project. There is also an introduction to shibori dyeing.

Clear demonstrations show you how to prepare different fibres for dyeing, how to achieve the bond between fibre and dye (mordanting), and how to extend the colour range through techniques such as modifying and overdyeing.  Understanding the importance of pH (acid/alkali) levels in relation to natural dyeing, and how to manipulate them, is covered in detail.

As the course progresses it includes many tips based on my personal experience of natural dyeing, and includes instructions on keeping a record of your own natural dyeing results which is both practical and rewarding.

So whether you’ve already tried your hand at natural dyeing and would like some more support, or you’d like to have a go but aren’t quite sure how to get started, this course is your launch pad and user-friendly guide.

Below is a breakdown of the different sections in the course:

  1. A Brief History of Natural Dyeing
  2. Equipment Health & Safety
  3. Different Types of Fibre
  4. Different Types of Dye
  5. Preparing Animal Fibre
  6. Preparing Plant Fibre
  7. Dyeing Essentials - Before we begin
  8. Dyeing Animal Fibre – Madder
  9. Dyeing Plant Fibre – Weld
  10. Indigo
  • The King of Dyes
  • Preparing an Indigo Vat
  • Dyeing with indigo
  • A Glance at Shibori
  1. Plant Dyes (kitchen, foraged, garden, purchased)
  2. Extending the Colour Range
  3. Colourfast Testing
  4. Terminology
  5. Resources



Where can I buy the course?

The course is available on the Elka website, Not on the High Street, and Craft Courses.

When does the course start and finish?

The course starts now and is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.

For how long do I have access to the course?

After enrolling, you have unlimited lifetime access to this course across any and all of your devices.

Do I need any experience to start the course?

None whatsoever! This course is suitable for complete beginners as well as those who have experience of natural dyeing.

You will be guided through all the fundamentals, from sourcing equipment and materials before moving on to preparing your fibres and dyeing, giving you all the knowledge you need to set you in good stead for taking your dyeing further.

 How long is the course?

The course is made up of fifteen different sections.  How long it takes to complete will really vary between individuals and what you're planning on dyeing.

Natural dyeing is a slow process. With that in mind, we'd recommend not setting yourself targets and just enjoying the process. As a guideline, if you wanted to dye a t-shirt, the whole process from start to finish would take around two to three days, but do bear in mind that much of that time is allocated to soaking and steeping processes, which don't require hands on attention.

The course has been designed so that you can either work your way through from beginning to end (we recommend this method if you've done no natural dyeing before), or you can wade straight into any section that is of specific interest and refer back to the relevant tutorials for more information.

Does the course have live sessions?

No. The entire course is pre-recorded video tutorials so you can play them back as many times as you need. All the tutorials are supported with clear step by step downloadable PDF instructions.

What equipment do I need to start the course?

You will find a full list of materials and equipment in the 'Equipment' section and a list of our recommended suppliers in the 'Resources' section.

Can I enrol on the course if I live outside the UK?

As this course is entirely online you can enrol from anywhere in the world and harness the natural dyes to be found in your natural environment.

 Is the course available with a dyeing starter kit?

Yes! This course is available with a natural dyeing starter kit which includes sufficient ingredients to dye approximately 200g of fibre, either animal (protein) fibre or plant (cellulose) fibre.

 In the kit you will find:

  • 100g Weld
  • 100g Madder
  • 50g Alum
  • 50g Soda Ash
  • 50g Gallnut Powder
  • 50g Cream of Tartar
  • 25g Iron
  • pH Indicator Papers

 This starter kit is designed to be used with the detailed video and PDF instructions in the course.

 All the ingredients should be handled with caution, and you are advised to:

  • Wear gloves, goggles, and a mask
  • Work in a well-ventilated space
  • Keep lids on pans
  • Refer to the health and safety section

If you have any questions at all, please drop us a line in the comments below.


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