Has anyone used Oak acorns to dye with.  I am thinking they have alot of tannin in them.  My plan is to gather some and run two test baths.  One with Alum Sulfate and the other without any mordant to compare the two.  When reading about acorns folks crush and soak the acorns.  That is what I plan to do.  Has anyone done this?  I'll report back but I was wondering if others have walked the path!

ps, I am prepping my photos from running cactus tuna, red cedar, kota, japanese indigo and agarita chips, hopefully I'll have my blog updated and will post some photos to this group!  Now if I could only gather all my notes that I generated around the dyepot!  Deb


whiteoakgrandmother (not verified)

Hi Deb, I have done some dying with acorns, so here's some of my experiences and tips. The easiest way to gather them is to spread a tarp under the tree for a few days while they're falling, then gather up the corners of the tarp and voila! The fresher they are the more color you will get. Color depends on variety of oak. I have gotten anything from tan to very dark brown. Some varieties of oak give a more yellow color. It is not necessary to crush them to get color, but if you do, you will get a lighter color, but have more tannic acid in the dyebath. You can then use this as a natural mordant with something else of a compatible color. Or you can just add acorns to the cooking pot of something else. If you decide to crush them, the best way I've found is to spread them on a driveway and drive over them. Sweep them up and put them to soak. If you also find oak galls, these will make black, but if you add just one or two to the acorns you will get a darker brown. Hope this helps, and good luck!


I LOVE the tarp idea AND the driveway highest and best use!  thanks!  I will report back.  I am updating my blog as we type so I'll post the link once I get the Japanese Indigo put on there!


okay, here's my range of colors from acorn...there are some oak leaves, some cedar chips and some lichen exhaust skeins in there also but you get the idea!  My summary, crack and soak in water, need at least 1:1 ratio to get good color.  Can't wait to see how lightfast test and overdyeing goes...!

Here's the link to my blog where I put up more photos and a key to which skein is what and some process photos.....

weave2 (not verified)

your dyeing experiments.  I hope to try some soon, but not too soon since it's down to 60 F during the day (outside) and more like 50F inside.  The joy of living in a completely cinder block/stone house!


you can always just collect the acorns and put them to soak in water...that way they are ready when the yarn is...they'll just ferment...date the jar (masking tape and sharpie pen) so you can see how that vintage works out!