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Natural Dyeing with Cochineal - Design and Dye a Napkin Set

  • Hold Fast Studio School 330b Ingalls Street Santa Cruz, CA, 95060 United States (map)
Cochineal 1.jpg

Teacher: Katilin Bonifacio
Cost: $65

Have you ever wondered where the colors in your clothing, food, cosmetics, and paints and pigments comes from? If you’ve ever worn lipstick, eaten a strawberry yogurt or Starbucks Frappucino, or even had a favorite red sweater, chances are it was colored with pigment from cochineal. The commonly used red dye is made from ground scale insects native to South America and the extracted dye yields a range of beautiful red hues from light pink to magenta to royal red. Join me to mix a vat of cochineal dye and color a set of four cotton dinner napkins. We’ll learn about the history of cochineal usage in our own culture and across the world, powder and extract the pigment together, become familiar with the process of treating our fibers before dyeing, use traditional folding techniques to create patterns, and complete a unique and beautiful set of napkins that will be the perfect conversation starter at your next dinner party. 

Students are welcome to bring a small piece from home to dye in the event of leftover time. Keep in mind cochineal and other natural dyes are only effective on natural fibers, so be sure your piece is cotton, linen, silk, bamboo, wool, or leather.


Dye resist folding techniques, cochineal dye methods and history.

take home

Custom dyed napkin set of 4.


Natural Dyeing with Cochineal

Saturday, August 24, 2019


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