The Indigo Vat
6328 San Pablo Ave
6328 San Pablo Ave
Oakland CA 94608
When working with indigo first pre-wash the goods you would like to dye, also known as scouring, to remove any excess dirt, wax, or starch. Unlike other natural dyes, goods you plan to indigo dye do not need to be mordanted.
To learn how to use scour, and to learn how to create an indigo vat, with very detailed instructions, pick up a copy of our book, The Modern Natural Dyer.
In order to create indigo-dyed cloth, the indigo must be made water-soluble. In order to accomplish this, two things must take place to prepare the indigo vat for dyeing.
1. The vat must be a pH of 10-11
(find pH strips in the drop down menu below to measure the pH)
These are ingredients which raise the pH of the indigo vat:
- soda ash
2. All of the oxygen must be taken out of the indigo vat (known as the reduction process).
These are ingredients which aid in the reduction process:
- sodium hydrosulphite
- iron (ferrous sulfate)
The Modern Natural Dyer recipe requires:
50g lye (sodium hydroxide)
50g sodium hydrosulphite
** this recipe will dye approximately 500g (17oz) of goods a medium to dark shade.
-- OR --
100g limestone (calcium hydroxide)
** this recipe will dye approximately 250g (8oz) of goods a medium to dark shade.
You must use proper precautions when working with lye.
Please read before proceeding.
- Always wear gloves and protective eyewear.
- Do not let lye touch your skin, as it is caustic and can burn. If lye touches your skin, rinse immediately.
- Only add lye to water; never add water to lye.
- Use only cool water when working with lye.
- Never add lye to boiling water, It can explode.
Check out Kristine's video on Creativebug on indigo dyeing! It's a fun resource to help you set up your indigo vat and learn a few techniques for creating designs on cotton bandanas! You can tune in to the class here.
Shipping notes: If purchasing lye, it will ship via UPS Ground. Please provide a physical mailing address (no PO Boxes). Please note that UPS Ground shipping times may be longer than expected. We are currently not able to ship lye outside of the continental United States. Please call or email us with any questions.
To purchase scour, click here.
To purchase natural dyes, click here.
Use the drop down menu to see all ingredients available to create an indigo vat.
If you would prefer an all inclusive indigo kit you can purchase our Waves Bandana Kit, click here.
*** All items on this page are to order and will be ready to ship or pick-up 3 business days from time of order. ***
This item is a final sale. Once purchased, there are no cancellations, exchanges, store credits, or returns.
If you would like to add-to-order, please click here to review the instructions. We cannot refund shipping charges.
If you would like to apply a discount code, please click here to review the instructions. We cannot refund discounts.
Packages ship Tuesday through Saturday via USPS. Once shipped, you will receive a confirmation email and tracking number. Please use the tracking number provided and contact the shipping carrier directly with any questions about transit and delivery.
Please select the insured option at checkout to ensure compensation for a lost package. Once the package has been picked up by the shipping carrier, we are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged packages. We do not offer refunds or credits for lost or stolen packages.
If you select an insured option and need to file a claim with USPS, we will provide you with the documentation needed to complete your claim. Packages are insured for the order total. If your package is stolen, please contact your credit card company to receive any possible compensation.
Please note: If you choose the 6-7 business day option, we will ship your package within 6-7 business days of receiving your order. If you would like us to ship your package sooner, please choose the 3 or 4-5 business day option.
US orders $110.00 pre-tax and above:
Free - 6-7 business days, uninsured
$5 - 4-5 business days, insured
$12 - 3 business days, insured
US orders under $110.00 pre-tax:
$9.00 - 6-7 business days, uninsured
$11 - 4-5 business days, insured
$20 - 3 business days, insured
*For packages weighing 2 pounds plus, there will be additional shipping charges. Please contact us for a quote.
All international orders are shipped uninsured USPS First Class Parcel Post. We are not responsible for packages which are held in customs or lost. International orders may incur customs fees. We are not responsible for fees you may incur. International shipments can take two months to reach their destination. We caution against placing an order if you live outside the United States. At this time, we are unable to ship to the United Kingdom due to the complicated VAT situation.
To pick up your order at our shop, when checking out, under shipping method, choose Pick up at our Oakland store - 6328 San Pablo Ave.
You will receive an email when your order is ready. Orders placed Tuesday-Saturday are typically ready within 2-3 hours. To pick up your order, come to the shop between 11am - 3pm, Tuesday-Saturday. Knock on the front door and give us your name.
Pre-orders will ship on the date listed on the product’s webpage. If you ordered additional items, all items will be shipped with your pre-order. If you would like those items shipped separately, please place two separate orders.