Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Quick organic indigo vats

Well, the banana vat pictures are finally downloaded, along with the henna vat that I made this afternoon. After blogging, I shall go and make the iron vat and hope to spend some merry hours doing some printing with it tomorrow.

These are the mashed bananas with one of the skins to show how black they had become - I was surprised the bananas were still edible! They'd been in the kitchen for at least 8 weeks....though as we were away, the heating was off, there was no cooking or washing being done, so in Feb/March the room must have been like a fridge.

The vat, containing indigo, calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) and mashed bananas - I forgot to weigh the bananas before I mashed them, and then couldn't be bothered, so the
quantities are possibly not as well matched as they should be (1-2-3, indigo, lime, fruit), but Michel says that fruit is not going to be as measurable for fructose content as fructose powder is, so one has to use one's judgement. Obviously that is what I must have done!

The first dip in the vat, 10 minutes after it was made (these vats reduce instantly), and the second and third dips after about 30 minutes. The second dip was followed with the material being plunged into a bowl of clean water till the green changed to blue, then straight back into the vat again for a minute.

The henna vat is made with 10g indigo powder, really well wetted out, 20g calcium hydroxide and 30g henna powder - I bought mine from an organic beauty shop and it is intended for hair colouration.
I added the indigo to 2 l of boiling water, then the henna and finally the lime, gave all a gentle stir and in less than a minute, the blue froth and metallic flower had appeared on the surface.

The cloth dipped in this vat, though it is still damp and difficult to be sure, looks a deeper blue than the previous vats. This is  my recollection of what happened at Michel's workshop.


  1. Thank you so much, Jane, for this clear information about the vats. I need to try it again.

  2. Thank you Jane! I am really glad you posted the recipes and the pictures, I hope I am able to do this vat, too. It's so interesting.