Oak Gallnut Extract – Tannin

This is an extract made from Aleppo oak galls which are full of tannins.  This is an especially good tannin because it imparts little to no color to the fibers.  Many other tannins impart their own tan or brown color to the fibers, and that affects the outcome of the dye bath, because now you are dyeing fibers that are already brown or tan!  This is not a problem with this oak gallnut extract.

Tannins are generally used for the pre-treatment of cellulose (plant) fibers for natural dyeing to help the mordant fix to the fibers and to increase lightfastness.

Oak galls occur naturally as a reaction from the oak tree to an insect.  The tree produces this tannin-rich substance that forms a gall nut and then falls from the tree and can be gathered. 

Use 10% gallnut extract to the WOF (weight of fiber) for the tannin bath.  Bring the tannin bath to a simmer and simmer for 30-60 minutes.  Then take the fibers out of the bath and rinse the fibers to get rid of any extra tannins on the surface. 

The tannin bath is done BEFORE the mordant bath when preparing cellulose fibers for natural dyeing because the tannin helps the mordant ‘bite’ the fiber.