How To Make Iron Liquor For Dyeing

how to make iron liquor

Iron liquor is very useful: as mordant for fabric, to weather wood and dye leather naturally black. Iron liquor is easy to make at home and really cheap. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to make DIY iron liquor.

You’ll need:

  • 2 parts water
  • 1 part vinegar
  • rusty iron pieces (nails, screws …) or steel wool
  • glass jar

iron liquor

Put all ingredient into a jar. Cover it loosely with a lid. Let the iron liquor stand for some days or weeks.

rusty iron solution

The solution will darken over time and there may be some rusty spots on the glass.

You can use iron liquor over and over again. If the solution gets to weak, add more iron pieces.

iron pieces

Iron liquor can be used as mordant or modifier in natural dyeing. It can also be used to dye natural tanned leather black, and for staining wood for a silvery weathered look.

weathered wood with iron liquor

You can paint tannin-rich wood like oak directly with iron liquor. Other wood is painted with a strong brew of black tea before iron liquor is applied.

iron liquor mordant

12 thoughts on “How To Make Iron Liquor For Dyeing

  1. Thanks so much for this recipe Lina. We have a whole bunch of pallets that need to be stained so they look “older” and this is going to be just perfect

  2. I want to use my iron modifyer on woll fibre. I’ve siak the iron pieces in the vinegar and water. Can you tell how much of the liquor I need to pour into the saucepan of water please.

    1. I used about 1l iron liquor for the yarn and fabric that I dyed with red cabbage. But I used cotton yarn and fabric – I’ve never used iron liquor on wool (I’ve read that iron liquor can damage wool and silk fibers), so I don’t know if it works or how much you need.

  3. I have the iron liquid in my jar that I have used on a few projects to weather the wood and they all came out great! QUESTION: I am on a new wood project, and the liquid is not drying to a gray, but a red stain, and I cannot figure out why. Is it the type of wood? Thank you in advance for any advice!

    1. Yes, it’s the type of wood. 🙂 I use scrap wood for my projects and, depending on the type of wood, it turns the wood gray or brown or red.

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