30) Natural Dyes (Basics)

This course provides an introduction to the art and craft of natural dyeing. Participants will learn to scour and mordant different kinds of natural fibers. They will learn how to extract colors from easily accessible materials such as food waste and plants found in the region, and experiment color shifts in the dye bath. This practical introduction to dyeing and mordanting will be put into practice with decorative techniques traditionally used with natural dyes. Participants will block print using mordants to create different shades of colors. They will also be introduced to the Japanese resist dyeing techniques of shibori and itajime to make designs and patterns.

Class Outline

Week 1
Introduction to natural dyes, different types of fibers (animal and cellulose), and corresponding scouring techniques. Starting a dyer’s journal.
Week 2
Mordanting techniques based on the type of fibers and the quality of colors aimed at.
Week 3
Extracting colors from regional food and dyeing. Experiment with basic color shifts in the dye vat.
Week 4
Extracting colors from regional flowers such as marigold, aloe vera, and bougainvillea. Experiment with color shifts in the dye vat. Mixing colors by combining natural dyes.
Week 5
Block printing with mordant, Part 1. Preparation of a printing block. Mixing mordant paste and printing.
Week 6
Block printing with mordant, Part 2. Mixing different mordant pastes to yield more shades of a hue and printing.

Week 7
Shibori and Itajime, Part 1. Basic foldings and knots techniques. Experiment with pattern making.
Week 8
Shibori and Itajime Part 2. Radial folding and knots techniques. Experiment with pattern making and color mixing. Future references in natural dyes.

Please note: VCUQatar reserves the right to cancel classes for which not enough participants are registered. Already paid fees will be refunded.

Please do not purchase materials until VCUQatar has sent final course confirmation.

Items to buy for this class

Dyer’s Journal (a notebook to document color recipes, add personal notes and keep samples

Rubber gloves


Collected dyed-material 

Fabric or yarn (for personal projects in addition to the samples and blanks provided with the training).

On occasions, there may be some more materials to be bought and brought in if and when advised by the instructor.

Where to buy your materials

Most of the materials are available from any art supply shop, for example:

  • Cass Art (Fire station): Community Classes students get a 15% discount upon presenting the registration ticket
  • Jarir Bookstore: on Rayyan Road or Salwa Road
  • Color Note: on Al Nasser Street
  • Ibn Al Qayyim: at Markhiya Roundabout
  • Al Rawnaq

Register & Pay »

Terms & Conditions apply

Participants must buy their own materials

Tue, 15 Oct, 2019
Tue, 3 Dec, 2019
5:45 PM - 8:45 PM
QAR 1400


Paula Bouffard

Paula Bouffard is a textile artisan specialized in handcrafted design techniques and a natural
dyer. She is the founder of Touche textile, a small studio that offers eco-friendly and ethical
goods for a sustainable lifestyle.
Paula's journey into the world of textiles follows a long academic career in the field of linguistics.