Indigo Ferments Dye Recipe

Caitlin McCann is an artist, forager, plant-lover and mother. We are inspired by her creativity as well as her drive to preserve the environment. You might find her under the oaks, gathering acorns with a big basket to make a tannin solution for dyeing fabric, or hanging with her musician husband and darling little boy on beach.  Her quilts and other home goods are all one-of-a-kind, made with organic materials, colored with rich dyes made from plants she has foraged and grown. We are so happy to share her Indigo Ferment Vat recipe below.   xoxox WH


I am a lover of nature and crafts of all kinds. My interest in sewing stemmed from a desire to first alter clothes that didn't fit me and then to make my own from scratch.  When my nephew was born 14 years ago, I made my first quilt for him.  Over time, I began to feel challenged to find fabrics and colors that I wanted to work with. I felt sustainable options were limited. So I began sourcing organic cotton, foraging local dye materials and purchasing dye materials that were not local.  It has been a joy to dye and sew with the seasons most of the dye plants are perennial.

Here is how I make my Indigo Ferment Vat

This recipe can be scaled down for a smaller vat.


  • 10 gallon of water 
  • 1 lb Indigo
  • 1/2 pound madder root
  • 1/2 pound oat bran
  • 3 pounds of soda ash


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large vat
  2. Cover
  3. Wrap with a heated blanket and/or place a heat lamp over vat
  4. Slowly stir around the edge of vat daily, being carful not to disturb the "Indigo Flower" in the center
  5. Maintain about 100-110 degrees F for about a week
  6. Then it will be ready to use!

Enjoy your creations!

Love, Caitlin

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