FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Online Order Shipping Terms

What are your shipping terms?

Our small team packages orders twice weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please allow 2-4 business days for internal order processing before pickup and transportation begins with your selected shipping provider.

Next-day orders are processed and packaged the same day the order is placed, Monday through Friday. As a small business and do not ship any orders over the weekend.  

For international orders shipping, duties and customs fees are the responsibility of the customer.

What do I do if I need my package by a specific date?

If you need a package to arrive by a specific date for a special occasion or event, please contact us at contact@stonycreekcolors.com to arrange the order. Our team will try its best to fulfill your order in time.

How will I know when my order has shipped?

You will receive an order confirmation via email when your order has been packaged with your corresponding  tracking information.  

Please fill out the order form with your preferred contact information to ensure you receive any shipment updates.

How long does it take to ship my order?

Orders are shipped every morning on Tuesday and Thursday.  For example, if you place an order on Wednesday, we will not ship your order out until the next day on Thursday.  If an order is placed Friday, it will not be packaged until the following week on Tuesday.  

Next-day and express shipments are packaged and sent out the same day the order is placed Monday through Friday. As a small business and do not ship any orders over the weekend.  

We offer next-day and priority ground shipping (typically 2-3 days from ship date). 

How are shipping costs determined?

We use UPS and USPS to calculate shipping costs based on the total weight of the packaged product. 


Artisan Use of Natural Dyes and Assists

How do I dye with Osage Orange?

All dyestuff must first be processed to extract the pigment. In beginning any new project, calculate the proper amount of Osage Orange Chips.

First, we need to measure the weight of fabric, WOF. We recommend using 40% WOF, weight of dry materials. For example, if you are dying 500 grams (1 pound) worth of fiber, you would need 200 grams of osage orange.

Weight of Fiber x 0.4 = weight of dry materials

Before dyeing with osage orange, we recommend mordanting your fibers with myrobalan and alum.

To extract dye from osage orange, add about 1 quart of water into a pot then add the pre-measured amount of osage orange. Bring the water to about 175 degrees F, above a simmer but below a boil, for about 30 minutes to an hour (the longer the better!). Strain the osage orange from the liquid, saving the liquid. This liquid is your extract.

You are now ready to begin dyeing and prepping your dye bath!

To prep your dye bath, fill a pot with enough water to fit your fiber. Add the correct amount of dye, extracted liquid, and stir it well.

Begin dyeing your fiber! We recommend getting your mordanted fabrics wet and ringing them out until they are damp; this helps evenly distribute the dye.

Once the fabric is in, slowly begin heating your water to a simmer, about 90 degrees F. Ensure the dye can penetrate every bit of fabric by gently moving it around.

Leave the project in the dye bath for about 45 minutes to an hour.

 The final step is to rinse the dyed fabrics a few times and wash using a pH-neutral liquid detergent, like Dr. Bronner’s.

How do I dye with Black Walnut Paste?

In beginning any new project, the proper amount of Black Walnut Paste needs to be calculated.

First we need to measure the weight of fabric, WOF. We recommend using 50-100% WOF dye paste for dark browns and 5-20% WOF for tans and khakis. For example, if you are dying 500 grams (1 pound) worth of fiber, you would need 250-500 grams of paste for dark browns and 25 - 100 grams for tans.

If we are calculating 50% WOF black walnut paste this would be our formula:

Weight of Fiber x 0.5 = Amount of Black Walnut Paste needed (by weight)

Before dyeing with black walnut, we recommend mordanting your fibers and alum for lighter colors or iron for deep, dark browns.

We made it easy by extracting the dye from our Black Walnut Hulls for you. To prepare your dye bath, fill a pot with warm water, enough to allow your fiber to float freely. Add the pre-measured paste and stir well until it's completely liquid.  

You are now ready to begin dyeing! We recommend getting your mordanted fabrics wet and ringing them out until they are damp, this helps evenly distribute the dye. Once the fabric is in, slowly begin heating your water to a simmer, about 90 degrees F, to dye cotton. For wool or silk increase the temperature to just below a boil, at 180 degrees F. 

Long dye times are recommended to maximize color uptake, 1-2 hours is ideal. Ensure the dye is able to penetrate every bit of fabric by gently moving it around.

The final step is to rinse the dyed fabrics a few times and wash using a pH neutral liquid detergent, like Dr. Bronner’s.

How do I use Myrobalan?

Myrobalan is used as both a dye or a mordant for plant-based fibers, like cotton and linen.

Dyeing with Myrobalan

In beginning any new project, the proper amount of Myrobalan Powder needs to be calculated.

First we need to measure the weight of fabric, WOF. We recommend using 20-30% WOF for buttery yellows. For example, if you are dying 500 grams (1 pound) worth of fiber, you would need 100-150 grams of powder.

If we are calculating 20% of Myrobalan powder this would be our formula:

Weight of Fiber x 0.2 = Amount of Myrobalan powder needed (by weight)

Before dyeing with Myrobalan, we recommend mordanting your fibers with alum for protein-based fibers like wool and silk. For plant-based fabrics, like cotton and linen, you can mordant with myrobalan, then alum.

To prepare your dye bath, fill a pot with warm water, enough to allow your fiber to float freely. Add the pre-measured powder and stir well until it's completely liquid.

You are now ready to begin dyeing! We recommend getting your mordanted fabrics wet and ringing them out until they are damp, this helps evenly distribute the dye. Once the fabric is in, slowly begin heating your water to about 180 degrees F, above a simmer but below a boil with slight steam, for about an hour. This is where you can add modifiers, or dye assists, to manipulate color.  

MAIWA recommends adding 2-4% WOF to the dye bath to produce grey and earthy greens.

The final step is to rinse the dyed fabrics and let them dry overnight. Wash using a pH neutral liquid detergent, like Dr. Bronner’s.

How do I dye with Madder?

In beginning any new project, the proper amount of Madder Paste Extract needs to be calculated.  

First, we need to measure the weight of fabric, WOF. We recommend using 100% WOF for to achieve the deepest most reddish shades possible. For Madder orange, only 50% WOF is needed. For example, if you are dying 500 grams (1 pound) worth of fiber, you would need grams of paste for red, and 250 grams for orange.

If we are calculating 50% of paste this would be our formula:

Weight of Fiber x 0.5 = Amount of Madder Root paste needed (by weight)

Before dyeing, be sure to mordant your fibers accordingly.

We made it easy by extracting the dye from our Madder roots for you. To prepare your dye bath, fill a pot with hot water, enough to allow your fiber to float freely. Add the pre-measured paste and stir well until it's completely liquid.  

You are now ready to begin dyeing! We recommend getting your mordanted fabrics wet and ringing them out until they are damp, this helps evenly distribute the dye. Once the fabric is in, slowly begin heating your water to a light simmer, about 90 degrees F for about 30 min, then increase the temperature to 180 degrees F, above a simmer but below a boil with slight steam, for another 30 min to an hour. This is where you can add modifiers, or dye assists, to further manipulate color.  

Botanical Colors recommends adding chalk, or calcium carbonate at 3-5% WOF to the dye bath to deepen the color. For burgundy shades, add the chalk and leave the fabrics in the dye pot for an additional 30 minutes to an hour.

We recommend adding 5-8% WOF cream of tartar to make terracotta oranges. After dyeing, post-mordanting with iron can result in a muted purple.

The final step is to rinse the dyed fabrics and let them dry overnight. Wash using a pH neutral liquid detergent, like Dr. Bronner’s.

What are Dye Assists?

Dye assists are various chemical and natural compounds used to scour or mordant fibres, or modify colors. Explore all the dye assists we offer.

Scouring Agents - All textiles need to be washed through the process of scouring to remove any impurities, waxes, or oils for a deeper and more even color penetration. Soda ash is typically used to scour most cellulose fibers, like cotton and linen.

Mordants - Mordanting fabric allows for dye to better adhere to the fibers and can affect the vibrancy and color results. Alum, Chalk, and Iron baths can be made to mordant cellulose and protein-based fibers.

Modifiers - When added to a dye bath, modifiers are used to change the resulting color into an array of shades and hue by oftentimes changing the pH balance or chemical composition of the dye bath. Modifiers include pickling lime, chalk, soda ash, alum, iron, and glauber’s salt.

How do I scour my materials?

The process of washing textiles to remove agents that would impact color absorption into the fabric. New textiles often have a film prior to mordanting and dyeing cellulose fibers containing pectin and waxes. Without scouring, you run the risk of the dye bonding to those waxes or pectin rather than the fiber itself, resulting in uneven results and colors that do not wash fast.

Scouring does not mean washing fabrics in your washing machine alone. To properly scour animal or protein-based fibers, silk, or cellulose fibers requires different methods.  

Scouring animal or protein-based fibers like wool and silk:

Protein-based fibers can be damaged from sudden changes in water temperature. Silk should never be boiled as it cannot handle as high of temperatures as wool. Wool or silk textiles can be washed with warm water with concentrated, pH neutral soap or detergents, like Dr. Bronner’s, for a couple cycles. If scouring in a pot of water, heat slightly below a simmer for about an hour, then let the fibre cool down. Since with cool water as the final step. For every pound of material, 1 tsp of detergent is needed.

Scouring plant or cellulose-based fibers like cotton or linen:

For cellulose-based fibers use a concentrated pH neutral soap or detergent with soda ash. For every pound of fabric, 2 tsp of detergent and 4 tsp of soda ash is needed. Simmer in a pot for about an hour or wash for two cycles on the hot setting. If using a pot of water, boil the water to dissolve the soda ash first, then bring down to a simmer to add into the fibers.

Follow along with our video tutorial on Youtube for step-by-step instructions.

What is pre-mordanting and post-mordanting?

Most natural dyes do not adhere to fibres well and need the help of a mordant to achieve bright, lasting color. Indigo is an exception! Pre-mordanting refers to the process of mordanting the fiber, then following it with the dye process.

Mordanting fabric allows for dye to better adhere to the fibers and can affect the vibrancy and color results. Alum, Chalk, and Iron baths can be made to mordant cellulose and protein-based fibers.

Post-mordanting uses modifiers to change the outcome of the color. It can darken the shade, manipulate hues, or create a completely new color by changing the pH balance of chemical composition of the dye bath. Modifiers include pickling lime, chalk, soda ash, alum, iron, and glauber’s salt.

What is a mordant?

Most natural dyes do not adhere to fibres well and need the help of a mordant to achieve bright, lasting color. Indigo is an exception!

All textiles need to be washed through the process of scouring to remove any impurities, waxes, or oils for a deeper and more even color penetration. This is referred to as scouring. It is necessary to scour before mordanting.  

The process of natural dyeing begins with scouring, then mordanting your fabric. The next step is calculating dyestuff, extracting pigment, creating a dyebath, and dyeing your textile. Once dyed, it rests or is set out to dry, properly washed, and ready to go! These are all essential steps.

Alum powder is most commonly used with cream of tartar for protein-based fibers like wool and silk. Cream of tartar improves the overall consistency of the dye and often adds vibrancy to the color.  

When you mordant cotton and other plant- based fibers you need to use tannin as part of the mordanting process. Protein-based fibers already contain natural tannins and do not require this extra step.  

There are two kinds of tannins: clear tannins that do not add color, and colorful tannins that add a bit of a yellow-ish tint.

Some of the most clear tannins are gallnut and sumac. Myrobalan and henna can be used as color tannins.

What is the difference between a hydro, fructose, and iron vat?

Each vat is used to extract indigo’s iconic blue pigment from the indigo paste, powder, or leaves and be ready to use and dye with.  

A hydro vat, also known as a chemical vat, uses hydro or thiourea dioxide, even Rit Color Remover can be used, to reduce the vat. This kind of vat yields the quickest results and works well for all types of fabrics.  

A fructose vat uses fructose powder, a simple sugar derived from plants and fruits, and is also known as a 1-2-3 vat. Perfect for beginners, the 1-2-3 method refers to the recipe used in creating this safe, plant-based vat: one part indigo, two parts lime, and three parts fructose. This is the safest, most traditional method.

An iron vat is reduced with ferrous sulfate. We recommend an iron vat if you are trying to achieve deep dark blues on cotton or other cellulose fibers.

To set up your own vat, visit our For Artisans page for a detailed recipe or follow along with our video tutorial available on Youtube.

How do I dye with Indigo?

There are several ways to dye with indigo using a hydro, iron, or fructose vat. To extract safe, natural pigment, we recommend using our paste or powdered indigo options for traditional dyeing methods.  

For artisans and hobbyists interested in learning natural dyeing with indigo or a new vat method, please view our video tutorials on YouTube or scroll-down on our Recipes page for instructions.  

How does the paste work differently compared to the powders when creating a vat?

Not only is the paste already hydrated, but it is also milled into a very fine particle size (finer than we are capable of milling the powder). Chemically this means more surface area is available to react with the reducing agents, so it reduces much more quickly and evenly.

Does your Indigo Paste work for Fructose, Henna, Hydro & Iron vats?

Yes, it works for all varieties of vats.

What are some of the reasons why someone might use Indigo Paste verses Indigo Powder?

The paste results in a vat that is ready sooner, with deeper blues and an even coverage as there are significantly fewer particles of unreacted indigo left in a vat. This is especially helpful for beginners who are unfamiliar and making a vat for the first time at home. Potency is probably the biggest difference between the products, producing more color with less product. You would need almost 200 grams of paste for an equivalent of 50 grams of our High Purity Indigo Powder.

What is the difference between the 25% and 40% indigo powder?

The 40% is more concentrated by 60% or 1.6 times. More of our 25% indigo powder is necessary to achieve a similar color impact.

Once the correct amount of concentrate is calculated, we have seen no difference in results between dyeing with 25% and 40% indigo powder. A favorite ingredient of our global fashion brand partners, this natural indigo powder offers our highest purity concentration with industrial-grade performanceWe recommend using Our 40% indigo powder is a favorite ingredient of our global fashion brand partners and contains a higher purity making it convenient to dye higher volumes of product.

How do I calculate how much indigo I need to dye with?

If you are aiming for dark blue, we recommend you make a vat with 2% WOF of pure indigo to start.   If you are using our 25% powder or 10% paste, you would need 7-8% WOF. For 40% high-purity powder, only 4-5% WOF is needed. This will give nice dark blues for a long time.

To calculate WOF, simply add up the weight or weigh the entirety of all the fabrics you wish to dye. Take the desired percentage of your WOF. For example, if you are dyeing 4 lbs worth of t-shirts using 25% Natural Indigo Powder:

4 lbs x 0.08 = 0.32 lbs. Therefore, 0.32 lbs or 145 grams of indigo is needed for 4 lbs of t-shirts. This would equate to 90g of 40% High Purity Powder or 360g of our 10% Indigo Paste.

Do dye pastes have an expiration date and does the color split over time? 

The indigo paste does not expire. Even if mold grows, nothing is going to happen to the indigo. It will eventually settle out, but all you have to do is shake it up and it is good to go. The madder paste is also fairly stable, but black walnut paste does degrade over time and we could not guarantee it would last more than 1 or 2 years.

How do I substitute your plant-based indigo into my existing indigo vat recipe?

If you know the purity of the indigo you are accustomed to using, use the following formula to calculate how much Stony Creek indigo you will need:

(purity of old indigo)(quantity of old indigo)=(purity of Stony creek indigo)(mass of Stony Creek indigo)

For example, if you are accustomed to using 30 grams of 80% synthetic indigo and you are trying to substitute in 25% pure Stony Creek indigo:

(0.8)(30g)=(0.25)(mass)

24 grams of old indigo = 0.25 (amount of SCC indigo you will need)

24g/.25=96 grams of Stony Creek indigo needed.

Paste may be substituted directly into recipes and used exactly as you would with powder.

How do I use the madder and black walnut dye pastes?

These dye pastes may be used exactly as you would madder root and black walnut hulls, without the extraction and fermentation processes needed. Feel free to experiment and use swatches, or test samples, to ensure you are receiving desired results

Please visit our For Artisans Page for recipes on how to use each dye. There are suggested recipes for every dye we offer.  

If you’ve created any beautiful pieces, tag us @StonyCreekColors on Instagram and use the hashtag #colorwithlife, #stonycreekcolors . We love seeing your results!

Iron vat problems/troubleshooting:

What went wrong? There are a few issues that often occur when using an iron vat. Our lead chemist, Summer, offers some solutions to common problems you may encounter.

“Iron sulfate turned rusty-colored when I dissolved it in water and no reduction is happening in my vat.”

A couple of things could have happened here. The Iron sulfate quickly decomposes when added to water resulting in iron oxides, or rust. If you dissolve the iron sulfate in too hot of water, this accelerates the decomposition. If you wait too long to add the lime, the iron may already have decomposed as well.

If your vat still looks like a rusty mess after sitting sealed for a day, let the indigo settle out, then either start over with a fresh iron vat using the sludge as your indigo source or add Rit Color Remover to reduce the indigo in a hydro vat. The iron will stay insoluble in the hydro vat and you will be able to carefully pour off the reduced indigo solution.

“My iron vat has turned [insert color here]!”

Iron vat appears Green

We recommend adding more iron, starting with 1 tsp and stirring carefully. Add more after 30 min to an hour if the vat is not restored.

Iron vat appears Blue

This means your vat has already oxidized. Add 1 tbsp pickling lime and stir carefully. If the vat is not restored after 30 min to an hour, add 1 tsp iron and 1 tbsp lime, stir, and wait an additional hour. If the vat is still blue, add a liter or two of boiling water, carefully to minimize the introduction of air. If the vat has still not recovered in an hour, it may be best to recover the sludge and use it to make a small hydro vat.

Iron vat appears yellow

This is good! Dye away!

What is the equivalent of 50g of 25% Indigo Powder in Indigo Paste?

125 grams of paste is equivalent to 50G of 25% Indigo Powder.   To calculate 50 grams x 0.25 / 0.1=125 grams of paste equivalent

0.25 represents the percentage of indigo in our 25% indigo powder

0.1 represents the per centage of indigo found in our indigo paste

If you wished to calculate how much paste would be needed to substitute the equivalent of our high purity powder, you would calculate the following:

50 grams x 0.4 / 0.1 = 200 grams of indigo paste

IndiGold™

What is IndiGold™?

IndiGold™ is the world’s first pre-reduced, 100% plant-based liquid indigo dye.

Experienced and new dyers alike will love the depth of blues quickly achieved in a completely hydro-free indigo vat system. You can now access, appreciate, and utilize a dye that is truly natural in a fast, fun, and easy way.

What IndiGold™ products does Stony Creek Colors offer?

We offer our IndiGold™ Easy Indigo Dye Kit, EasiColor Spray, EasiColor Pen, and IndiGold™ (50g and 200g bottles).

IndiGold™ Easy Indigo Dye Kits include everything needed to create a fructose vat using our pre-reduced IndiGold™ dye. Our kit includes fruit sugar (fructose crystals; 150 g) and pickling lime (calcium hydroxide; 100g) as your reducing agents, our pre-reduced IndiGold (50g), and an easy instructional booklet. All are packaged in reusable plastic and amber jars.

Our EasiColor Spray uses our IndiGold™ technology in an easy-to-use spray bottle application with a high concentration of color for unique and fast designs. This product works great for stenciling.

The EasiColor Pen is made from the same high-quality saturated pigment as IndiGold™. We made this for those that want a mess-free no set-up 100% natural indigo straight from a bottle. Our 1 oz pen packs a lot of color! You can use it to draw directly on your fabric and acts as a ready-to-use reduced indigo vat in a pen.  

If you are not a beginner dyer and have your own reducing agents at home, our 50g and 200g bottles of IndiGold™ are just what you need. Experienced dyers Love the larger 200g bottle of IndiGold™ pre-reduced natural indigo liquid to use for larger vat preparations.

How is IndiGold™ made?

We are using a process called electrocatalytic hydrogenation to create leuco indigo, rather than chemical reducing agents. Usually, in an indigo vat, the reducing agents donate electrons to turn the indigo into soluble leuco-indigo. With IndiGold™, we skip the chemicals and use electricity and water as the reducing agent. This means no added chemicals other than pH modifiers (Sodium and potassium hydroxides) are used to ensure the solubility of the leuco-indigo. We are unlike pre-reduced indigo flakes available in kits to crafters. These are typically chemically reduced then brought through a freeze-dried process to dry and are not 100% plant-based or natural.

How much equivalent indigo is included in the 50g liquid pre-reduced dose included in the kit? What is a comparable weight to Stony Creek Colors' Natural Indigo Dye Powder?

50g IndiGold™ is about equal to 40 grams of Stony Creek Colors 25% powder, or 25 grams of Stony Creek Colors 40% powder. Because IndiGold™ is pre-reduced, creating a darker more rich color is achievable with considerably less product.

Does IndiGold™ have an expiration date or shelf life?

The indigo within pre-reduced IndiGold™ will slowly oxidize over time, even more so if the container is opened and closed frequently. If the bottle remains unopened, it will stay reduced for more than a year. If opened, it will oxidize much more quickly... within several weeks.   If the pigment oxidizes, it will still be useful as traditional indigo, either to be vatted or used as a pigment in painting or printing.

How can I keep the vat going past a week?

IndiGold™ vats can last for several weeks with no additions or special attention. Plant-based indigo is precious and we encourage you to keep it working for as long as you can!   If the vat goes out of reduction, which would be indicated by dipping a white fabric strip. If it comes out green or yellow, rather than blue, it should be cared for as you would a traditional fructose vat. Keep it warm and rebalance the pH before adding more fructose powder (fruit sugar). If you have a good reduction but the vat is no longer dyeing deep blues, you may have used up all the indigo in it. In this case, add more IndiGold™!

What should I do if the vat does go out of reduction or gets used up? 

If the vat goes out of reduction, the best results will be obtained by adding more fructose and lime, and heating the vat. If the vat is simply exhausted (ie well reduced but not adding much blue), more IndiGold™ can be added and dyeing can continue.

How much fiber can I be expected to dye with the 50g of IndiGold™?  

We estimate at least about fiften to twenty 150g tee shirts can be dyed from a 50g IndiGold vat. It depends on the type of fiber, depth of blue, and how well prepared your garments or fibers are. Wool and silk take up the dye deeply and need less dye to produce the same shade you would on cotton or hemp.

Once the vat isn’t dyeing deep blues you can still get lovely lighter blues or build up to darker shades with consecutive dips. We hope to have a better idea once we have more artisans and at-home dyers experimenting with their IndiGold™ vats.

What are the phases that the plant goes through for it to become Indigo powder?

For production of all our products, indigo plants are harvested by Stony Creek Colors team members and extracted in water. The water is separated from the leftover biomass, and pH is adjusted. After oxidation with air, the dye pigment precipitates and is collected with filters. After collection, the pigment is dried and is ground into the powder used to create your indigo vats. We use special techniques across our agricultural and processing steps to make indigo with a high purity content- this is ultimately the critical factor that enables us to bring this pre-reduced indigo into the market!

What's the main difference between IndiGold™ and the indigo paste already offered?

IndiGold™ doesn’t require making a stock solution, and the vat, which normally takes hours or days to prepare, is ready for use within 15 minutes of adding IndiGold™.

IndiGold™ requires shorter dips for more consistent and deeper shades of blue.

Unlike most other indigo vats, it is a completely hydro-free and doesn’t require the need to check pH levels unless you are trying to extend its life for months at a time. It also doesn’t seem to “strip” away the color after multiple dips.

How Stony Creek Colors is different:

We are the only pre-reduced liquid using 100% natural indigo.

We have a transparent supply chain from seed to finished product.

We support US farmers through climate-positive processing methods.

In launching this project, IndiGold™ is also women-run and women-owned.

How can users safely dispose of a vat?  

Although this vat is safe to pour down the drain as is, you can neutralize the vat with a bit of vinegar and toss it in the garden to help improve the soil.

Is IndiGold™ safe for disposal in a septic system or compost?

Yes, the small amount of product included in the kit doesn't need neutrralization. An alternative, great way to dispose of IndiGold™ is to add a bit of vinegar and toss it in a garden.

Will IndiGOld™ work by itself - without the addition of the fructose and lime (calcium hydroxide)?

Yes! We offer IndiGold™ in a spray and an EasiColor Pen for dyers and crafters who wish to apply without a vat system. Fabric can be directly dipped into IndiGold™, but the color would be extremely concentrated, almost black-blue. If IndiGold™ is added directly into a bucket of water a similar shade to that of a trraditional vat can be achieved, but the vat would not last long as water contains oxygen. In addition, without added alkali, you may fall short of the pH ranges needed to dye plant-based fibers like cotton.