Web www.pburch.net
Paula Burch's All About Hand Dyeing
Overview Fiber Reactive Dyes Direct Dyes All-Purpose Dyes Acid Dyes      Food Coloring      Lanaset Dye      Acid Levelling (Kiton) Natural Dyes Vat Dyes Disperse Dyes Basic Dyes Naphthol Dyes Fabric Paints
Index How to Dye with
    Fiber Reactive Dye
How to Tie Dye How to Batik Low Water
Dip Dyeing Washing Machine
How to Tie Dye
    with Kool-Aid®
How to Tie Dye with
     All Purpose Dye
How to Dye and
    Paint Fabric
    with Light
cellulose fibers:     cotton     rayon and
protein fibers:     silk     wool synthetic fibers:     acrylic     nylon     polyester     spandex other materials...
acetic acid alginate ammonium sulfate baking soda citric acid ludigol mordants salt soda ash sodium silicate temperature synthrapol urea vinegar water softener
Index Batik Mandalas &
    Peace Signs
LWI dyeing Watercolor Rainbow
Tie Dyeing Spray Dyeing Fabric Paints and Markers
The Dye Forum Book Reviews Find A Custom Dyer Old Q&A Blog Blog of Questions
     & Answers (new)
Search Contact me Link here About This Site
Where to Buy
    Dye & Supplies
Mailing Lists Other Galleries Other Informative
Additional Links
Index General Dye
Fixing Dye Synthetic Fibers Color Choice Dye Auxiliaries Bleaching and
Safety Procion Dyes Acid Dyes Problems Tying Miscellaneous
Facebook: All About
    Hand Dyeing
Twitter @HandDyeing Google+
Procion MX Dyes Jacquard Acid Dyes Other Dyeing
Fabric Paints, Dyes,
    Books, and DVDs

You are here: Home > All About Hand Dyeing > FAQ > fibers > dyeing cellulose fibers


Dye cotton with
fiber reactive dye

Procion MX Fiber Reactive Cold Water Dye
Procion MX
Fiber Reactive
Cold Water Dye


Tie dyeing works great on cotton clothing

Jacquard Tie Dye Kit

Jacquard Tie Dye Kit

The Jacquard Tie Dye Kit includes excellent Procion MX dyes, plus soda ash, plastic squirt bottles, gloves, and rubber bands - everything you need to get started except for the shirts!


What is Cellulose?

Cellulose is the main fiber that plants are made of. All plants contain cellulose. Fibers that contain cellulose include the most familiar clothing fibers: cotton, linen, and rayon. They also include more uncommon plant-based textile fibers, such as bamboo (which is usually rayon), hemp, lyocell (Tencel), and ramie. The only plant-based textile fiber that is not cellulose (or a mixture of cellulose and lignen) is the soy protein fiber sold under the name "Soy Silk".

Dyes for Cellulose Fibers

There are several different types of dyes that work well on cellulose.

Chemical structure of Cellulose

Cellulose is a polymer, a long molecule made from thousands of repeating simple sugar molecules. Here's a chain of five and a half of them....
cellulose molecule...this public-domain image created by Ben Mills and found on Wikipedia
Notice how how glucose sugar molecule is shaped like a ring; in this image, the red balls are oxygen atoms, the gray balls are carbons (the backbone of life), and the hydrogen atoms are shown in white. Five complete glucose rings are visible in the chain above, but there are three thousand or more in each long, thin cellulose molecule.

As described in the Encyclopedia Britannica article on cellulose, 90% of the mass of cotton is cellulose, while wood, which is stiffened by another large molecule, lignin, is about 50% cellulose.

Further Reading

front cover of Cellulosics DyeingThe best reference I've found is the 1995 book Cellulosics Dyeing, edited by John Shore. It can be purchased directly from the Society of Dyers and Colourists, in the UK, for £32 plus shipping (ISBN 0 901956 68 6).

Back to list of FAQs

 Home Page     Hand Dyeing Top     Gallery    About Dyes    How to Dye    How to Tie Dye    How to Batik    Low Water Immersion Dyeing    Sources for Supplies    Book Reviews    Other Galleries    Groups    FAQs     Custom Dyers    Forum    Q&A blog    link here    search    contact me  

Last updated: February 15, 2010
Page created: October 30, 2009
Downloaded: Thursday, March 22, 2018

All of the pages on this site are copyright ©1998‑2018 Paula E. Burch, Ph.D.