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Dying with Black Walnut Hulls

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Tallswife

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My longhunter frock was way to white, so as promised, here's my post about dying with Black Walnut Hulls.



This is the 12oz of hulls, ground to coffee grind consistency, ready to go. I purchased them already ground.

I make this into a "tea bag" for steeping.



I start with 4 gallons of hot water, and suspend the tea bag in the water. This will steep for 24 hours. After that time, I drop the bag into the water and bring it to a boil for an hour. I let it drain suspended until it stops dripping.



At the same time, the frock is soaking in plain water for 24 hours to make sure it's thoroughly saturated.


I add 5oz of Glaubers salt and 1oz Cream of Tarter to the dye bath. This acts as a mordant, and allows the dye to penetrate the fabric evenly.



After a thorough wringing of excess water, into the dye bath it goes. I submerge it with two heavy glass measuring cups to keep it completely under the dye. Every 10 minutes or so, I remove the cups and mash it around a bit, then back under. This process takes an hour with the dye at a simmer the entire time.



Rinse with cold water and let dry!!
 

Artificer

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Very interesting. Thank you. :thumbsup:

My Paternal Grandparents had about a half dozen mature Walnut Trees on their rather small town house plot. I remember Grnndpa shucking the green hulls and Grandma "picking" out the nutmeat to use, trade and give away. Couple of times my curiosity got the better of me and I handled the hulls. Will never forget how dark it stained my hands and of course, the trouble I got in for doing it. :redface: :haha:

Gus
 

Tallswife

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Your welcome gentlemen.

Yes Gus, this stuff stains everything!! Got some on my fingers today and down the front of my shirt. Glad I wore a crappy shirt!! The stainless steel and glass tools clean up easily.

Next time I do something this big I think I'll use the cauldron and fire outside! Wonder if the cast iron will act like a mordant and change the color??? I'll have to research that one.
 

bubba.50

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I never could get them to stain anything as good as they did my fingers :surrender:
 

pondoro

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I admire your results. We have black walnut trees. The kids and I tried to make ink one year with very little success. I dug out the meat from a few walnuts and learned that I could only make about $2.00 per hour (versus buying black walnuts already shucked).

I have some heart wood from a downed limb that I plan to make some knife scales from.

About the only use I can see from my walnut trees (other than looking at them) is if I were to shoot and eat the squirrels.
 

rustyh

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That frock looks good I've been thinking of doing that to mine but I'd have to wash out all the dirt/patina and camp fire smoke first. Where do you buy your ground hulls?
 

50cal.cliff

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The green outer hulls before the nut ripens will have even more dye power. I use to pick up the ones the storms would blow off the tree before they were ready and that outer green hull is awesome!

I use to dye my traps every year in a #2 wash tub on top of the stove. Bring to a boil and hold for an hour! Turn off and let cool in the liquid!

Word to the wise do not use Mama's good tub cause it won't come out later except with Lye!!

The walnut dye will keep metal from rusting as well. It works kind of like a blueing!!!
Good looking frock!
 

Tallswife

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Twister said:
That frock looks good I've been thinking of doing that to mine but I'd have to wash out all the dirt/patina and camp fire smoke first. Where do you buy your ground hulls?
Thank you! Yes, washing would prob be good, if you can part with all your history! LOL!!!

I got these hulls at a local wool festival. Dharma Trading carries both the walnut hulls, and various other natural dyes, and the Glaubers salts for your purchase.
 

Tallswife

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Thank you folks for your comments! I do appreciate them very much.

I wish I lived somewhere that black walnuts did grow well, I would have a few planted for the hulls as well as the nut meat.
 

wattlebuster

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Walnut dye not only makes the clothes look better it also does a fine job on leather for a good ole fashion aged look :thumbsup:
 

Doc Arroyo

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I picked up a five gallon bucket of walnuts off the ground. Had some plan, but forgot about them. Rain blew under the lid, and filled the bucket. The nuts, hulls, a few twigs and a handful of leaves just rotted away over the course of a year, and turned that water near black. I strained out the big stuff, heated it a bit, and dunked in a couple of pair of pants and a hunting frock. worked fine
 

ohio ramrod

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I liked your method of "bagging up" the hulls and letting them soak in the solution. I always had problems with pieces of the hulls sticking to the item to be dyed and leaving dark spots when using walnut hulls. :idunno:
 

Gene L

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When I was a kid we had a walnut tree in the pasture. My mother talked about dying stuff with the green outer covering of the walnuts. It's dark and very consistent.

I think you'd have to set the dye with vinegar. I don't know how it would work out in the rain. But you'd know.
 

Tallswife

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ohio ramrod said:
I liked your method of "bagging up" the hulls and letting them soak in the solution. I always had problems with pieces of the hulls sticking to the item to be dyed and leaving dark spots when using walnut hulls. :idunno:
That was a concern of mine also. This totally eliminated the problem.
 

Tallswife

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Gene L said:
When I was a kid we had a walnut tree in the pasture. My mother talked about dying stuff with the green outer covering of the walnuts. It's dark and very consistent.

I think you'd have to set the dye with vinegar. I don't know how it would work out in the rain. But you'd know.
The Glauber's salt and cream of tarter did the job so no vinegar needed for this dye. I've washed it in the reg laundry and no bleeding so it seems pretty permanent
 

necchi

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Excellent topic Judy, I have available Walnut trees and have used the natural dye for clothing and leather/hide goods. Thank you for the tip about the proper mordant.

Gene L said:
I think you'd have to set the dye with vinegar
To address Gene's memory of the Vinegar,, a water solution of walnut die is actually very high in sugars and the just right ph for natural molds,, if left alone in a jar for even a few days you'll get a gooey mess of nasty stuff floating around. People would add vinegar to slow the growth of the icky stuff. You can keep it in the fridge or I can it hot like a jelly when I make a batch and it'll keep for years.
 

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