Red (Purple) Cabbage Dye

Red (Purple) Cabbage Dye

Red cabbage is one of nature’s true gifts. Not only is it delicious and nutritious, but it can impart wonderful colors to your textiles!

red cabbage dye

Creating a red cabbage dye vat (also known as ‘Purple Cabbage’, ‘Red Kraut’ or ‘Blue Kraut’) can produce different results on different protein fibers, depending on the pH of the dye bath.

Changing the pH level is as easy as adding some ammonia to alkaline the bath, or some vinegar to increase the acidity level.

Once your item has been dyed, make sure the washing powder or liquid you use is neutral pH, or the colour will change yet again!

Red Cabbage Dye

Whilst a range of beautiful colors can be achieved, one of the most difficult things about red cabbage dye is getting it to fix to your medium for any length of time.

Cabbage Dye results

Mordanting the yarn with Alum and Cream of Tartar before dyeing helps this process.

Adding some salt to the dye bath is another good idea to help the colors ‘stick’.

Creating your Dye Bath

Dice the cabbage finely and place in the dye pot. Cover it all with water and add a tablespoon of salt for every 1/2 cabbage.

Simmer for approximately half an hour, to get as much color as possible from the cabbage.

Strain off the cabbage, squeezing it to extract any color left. You now have a dye vat of purple coloured red cabbage dye!

You can choose to use this purple dye as it is, or you may change it to blue by adding a tablespoon of ammonia. Adding 2 tablespoons of white vinegar will change it to a lovely pink!