Natural Food Colours

There are a multitude of naturally dyed yarns, rovings and fabrics out there and sometimes it is hard to imagine where the natural color may have come from!Natural Color extracted from red hibiscus flowers Natural color from dried hibiscus flowers But nature is an amazing thing and with a little chemistry you have a unlimited array of natural colors to choose from, for your next knitting or sewing project.

There are many naturally occurring plants, minerals and crustaceans from which you can extract color and produce natural dyes. From soft pastel to strikingly rich natural colors, your yarn or fabric will thank you for it.As with everything in life, some work better than others and produce stronger and longer lasting color.This list is far from exhaustive but will give you a good idea of which natural sources produce which colors.

Experimenting with whatever you have on hand is recommended and is half the fun of producing dyes. You never know what you will discover!Some substances will give different colored dyes, depending on what mordant you use or how long they are processed for. For example logwood mordanted with alum produces a mauve color, yet when mordanted with chrome gives a lovely blue. Many yellow dye baths will give a greenish hue if used with an Alum mordant, but using chrome or tin will brighten them to a much clearer yellow. Using iron will produce a golden hue of yellow to brown.

Product Colour EEC / C.I. No. The Equivalents
Caramel Type III Beer Grade E-150 c Ammonia Caram
Caramel Type IV Food Grade D.S. E-150 d Sulfite ammonia caramel
Caramel Powder Food Grade Double Strength E-150 d
Annatto Oil Soluble 1.5% Bixin) E-160b/75120 Food Yellow – 4
Annatto Water Soluble (1.5% Nor-Bixin) E-160 b/75120
Annatto Nor-Bixin Powder (1.5% Nor-Bixin) E-160 b
Turmeric Colour 5% Powder E-100/75300
Red Beet Juice Powder( 0.3% to 0.45% Betanine) E-162/75470
Paprika Colour Water Soluble 40,000 i.u. E-160 c
Paprika Colour Oil Soluble 40,000 i.u. E-160 c
Chlorophyll Water Soluble E-141/75810
Chlorophyll Oil Soluble E-141/75180
Safflower Extract
Sandalwood Natural Red Colour
Lac Carmine (5%)

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