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Thursday, February 27, 2014

COCHINEAL BEETLE DYE


native to mexico & the american southwest,  the cochineal beetle lives on
the prickly pear cactus.  if you’ve every seen prickly pear fruit, you know
the amazing color of cochineal dye ~
a brilliant pink that evokes the north american desert lands

here is the recipe we use to dye about 8 lightweight silk garments:
to make the dye ~
plan to use a 15 gallon pot for dyeing
first, add 2 oz of cochineal beetles to a 1 quart pot of water
boil for 30 minutes & strain off dye,
repeat 4 times,
add the dye liquid to the 15 gallon pot filled with water
boil your premordanted frocks ~ ( i boil the fabric or clothing in a potassium aluminum sulphate solution the day before ~ 5.5 oz in 15 gallons of water ) in the dye for 1 hour

sometimes we add vinegar to the dye bath & this yields a less bluish pink that reminds me of the shade used in south american textiles

~ nancy


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