How to

Cold dyeing fabric and yarn

How to use Natural Acquerello and Tempera for cold dyeing and painting

The ABSORPTION COLD DYEING METHOD is suitable for dyeing and painting on fabric, to achieve solid color effect, various color shades effect and shibori/tiedye effect.

It's a very low water and zero energy consumption process.ia. 
This method requires a lower amount of dye bath compared to steam and cold dyeing.                                      The excess dye from the dyeing process can be reused with the same intesity.                                    Color sets on the fabric by oxidation in contact with air.

The suitable products for cold dyeing method are: Acquerello and Tempera.

How to cold dye with ACQUERELLO

φhillacolor Acquerello are concentrated liquid colors that can be used pure or diluted in water for lighter color nuances.

How to dye/paint with phillacolor natural acquerelli


  • Low wide container (baking tray, backing sheet, wide low basin)
  • Measuring jag
  • Syringe 60m
  • Gloves
  • Notebook

The product is 150 ml of concentrated water-based dyes pre-extracted from natural sources. Before dyeing you need to dilute the product in a water solution. The amount of concentrate color to be dissolved in water is depending on the color intensity, light medium or dark, you want to achieve and is calculated based off a percentage of the quantity of water required for the dye bath. Before dilution you need to calculate the amount of water of your dye bath.
For the right percentage we suggest to follow the cold dye/paint colors dosing chart.
For best result the dye color has to completely soak without excess of water.

Calculating the amount of water required for the dye bath

  • Wet the material (fibers/yarns/fabrics) if dry
  • Lay them into a low and wide container
  • Gently fill the pot with cool water until they are soaked without excess of water.
  • Use a measuring jug to calculate the amount of pouring water.
  • To make easier setting the amount of water required, pour small quantities in several times. Maybe be useful to write them down.
  • Add up the quantities to measure the total amount of water filled into the pot.
  • Remove now the item from the container, squeezing out the excess water inside and temporary place it in a basin.

Calculating the amount of concentrated dye

  • To know how much concentrated dye to use, please refer to the cold dye/paint colors dosing chart below and choose the right percentage depending on the color intensity you want to achieve.
  • Make the percentage based off to the amount of water required for the dye bath measured before.
  • With a measuring jug/syringe remove from the pot the same amount of water of the concentrated dye recently calculated with the percentage.
  • Shake well φillacolor box before use and stir well the liquid dye.
  • Use the measuring jug or syringe to measure the amount of product to be use.
  • Poor the concentrated liquid dye into the container

EXAMPLE: to dye 100 gr of slightly lightweight fabric (scarf) with Acquerello Acqua you need approx 200 ml of water for the dye bath (total water), of which 80 ml of concentrated liquid dye (40% of total water as per the dye colors dosing chart) and 125 ml of water.


  • Squeeze well the damp fibers/yarns/fabrics you are going to dye to extract excess water (when possible rinse in the washer by running a cycle).
  • Lay the material into the container and leave it for 30 minutes moving every 10 minutes. Remove it from the dye bath squeezing out the dye water inside and add to the container again for more 30 minutes.
  • When you get the right color, take it out.
  • The cold dye bath do not exhaust, it can be reused adding the to the remaining bath the amount of water and concentrated color required to make the total amount of dye bath needed for the next project.
  • Let dry and rinse in cold water
  • Lay flat to dry avoiding sunlight and iron (NO steam iron)

How to cold dyeing skein of wool with watercolours

Before starting any dyeing process, it is necessary to prepare the skeins following the instructions about the etching.

Proceed with cold dyeing

Get a jar or a container with closure (if possible) that may contains a skein (50 gr) of at least 500 ml.
Leave the skein soaking in water at room temperature for 10 minutes minimum. For each skein (50 gr) 400 ml of liquid is required.
Open the Acquerelli jar and mix the content.
Dark shade: 50 ml.- 60 ml. of colour - 350 ml. - 340 ml. lukewarm water
Medium shade: 30 ml. - 40 ml. of colour - 370 ml. - 360 ml. lukewarm water
Light shade: 10 ml. - 20 ml. of colour - 390 ml. - 380 ml. lukewarm water


Light shade example: get the jar and mix 15 ml of selected natural colour with 385 ml. of lukewarm water and put the wet skein previously etched. Close the jar and allow to rest for at least 24 hours. It is recommended to move the jar inner side occasionally. Remove the skein and carefully squeeze it and allow to dry. Wash carefully with cold water when dry. The remaining colour in the jar may be used for a following dye bath by adding the quantity of water and colour required to reach 400 ml.

Storage, color fastness, care and maintenance of fabrics.

φhillacolor natural dyes are organic. Since they do not contain chemical additives or preservatives, they expire in about 6 months. Store in a cool and dry place. Once opened, keep the container tightly closed, use in short time and if possible store in the fridge.

Color fastness
Is the material’s color’s resistance to fading or running to various external factors, like washing, sun exposure, friction, perspiration, humidity. The color’s resistance to washing and use is higher than to the light exposure. The color fastness of our products is 3/4 on 5.

Maintenance of fabrics
Keep the natural dyed fabrics and clothes far from direct sunlight, gently hand or machine wash at temperature 30° or lower, with mild neutral detergent and gentle spin, dry iron on the reverse side.