Monday, June 15, 2015

Mixed-Up Monday: terra-cotta

Terra-cotta means "baked-earth" and is a type of earthenware.  It also refers to a brownish orange color.  The color is warm and natural and especially lovely paired with vibrant blues and turquoise.

What you'll need:
wool: fiber or yarn
acid: citric or vinegar
acid dyes: yellow, red, brown for basic recipe.  Magenta, blue, black for variations.  (mixing dye stock tutorial here)
dye pot: stainless steel or crock pot
measuring spoons

I'll be working with a 1 oz bundle of mixed breed wool combed top for each dyepot.

Gather your wool and soak in some plain tap water until saturated.

Add a few inches of water to the dye pot (enough to cover the amount of fiber you're using).  
Add acid. I'm adding 1/2 tsp citric (or 2 tsp vinegar) for 1 oz of fiber.

Add 2 tsp (10 ml) of Yellow dye stock.

Then add 1 tsp Red dye stock (5 ml).

The final color is 1 tsp (5 ml) of Brown dye stock.  Stir it all up!

Add the damp wool to the pot making sure it is completely submerged.
Turn heat to low, cover.
Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Water will be clear when done.

Let cool.  

Prepare 2 rinse baths, one with a few drops of textile detergent or Blue Dawn,  the other with plain water.  Soak in each one for a few minutes.

Dry flat or hang dry.

The result is an earthy warm terra-cotta.  :)


Adding 1/4 tsp Magenta for a more vibrant color and a bit more orange.  (You could also achieve this by adding more red.)

Here I added 1/2 tsp of Blue dye sock to get a richer and warmer color.

Adding 1/2 tsp of Black dye stock will darken it toward brown.

You can also play around with depth of shade and add less dye.  Not show here, but just a 1/4 of the recipe would yield a beautiful soft apricot color.  If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

Have fun and keep on dyeing!

Mixed-Up Monday will be back in August.  :D


  1. Just visited the lovely state of Colorado, I think you have really captured the desert/canyon colours.