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Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus)


Cochineal is an animal dye. It is the eggs of the female Cochenille louse that contain the powerful crimson dye. Carmin accid is the dyeing component.
By adjusting the acidity of the dye bath and using different mordants, cochineal dyes a wide palette of colours, from pink to deep red to purple.

Cochineal is available in packs of about 25 grams, 100 grams or 1 kilo.
This product is packed in a compostable bag produced in the Netherlands.

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Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus) Cochenille (NL)
Dyes: Pink-Red-Purple
Pickling dye

Cochineal is an animal dye. These dried female Cochenille scale lice have been cultivated for centuries to extract a precious crimson dye. The lice live on the disc cactus in Central and South America and the Canary Islands. It is the eggs of the female Cochenille louse that contain the powerful crimson dye. Carmin accid is the colouring ingredient.
Cochineal is used not only for dyeing wool and fabrics, but also as a dye for food, medicines and cosmetics.
By adjusting the acidity of the dye bath and using different mordants, cochineal dyes a wide palette of colours, from pink to deep red to purple.

… gives the deep pink colour to the famous pink cakes.

This is one of the natural dye products described in the book Eco-verf by Anja Schrik.


Basic recipe for 100 grams of wool, silk or cotton to dye pink


– 8 grams of cochineal
– 15 grams of alum
– 2 grams of tartaric acid
– electric cooker or cooker
– 2 old (cast iron) pans
– an old mortar and pestle
– apron, gloves
– wash bag or cheese cloth
– (glass) pots, buckets or containers
– 1 cup vinegar
– 2 cups baking soda (if you are going to dye cotton)

Step 1: Wash (only if you are going to dye cotton, skip step 1 if you are going to dye wool or silk)
Fill a bucket with plenty of water and 2 cups of household soda and leave your cotton in it for 24 hours. Rinse well the next day.

Step 2: Mordanting
Dissolve the alum and tartaric acid in a pot of hot water. Put 3-5 litres of water in the (pickling) pan and add the mixture of alum and tartaric acid. Soak the wool, silk or cotton in a bucket of water and when completely soaked, add them to the pickling pan. Bring the temperature to 80 degrees (not hotter). Let this simmer for over an hour. Then let the fibres cool slowly in the pickling bath. You can leave this overnight or get started right away.

Step 3: Dyeing
First pound the cochineal with a mortar and dissolve the powder in a pot of hot water. Pour the decoction through a tea bag (or catch it in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it into a bundle) into the dye pan and top it up with 3-5 litres of water. Also put the sachet of cochineal in the dye pan. Bring the dye bath to 80-90 degrees and simmer for an hour.
Lower the temperature to 30 degrees and add the wool, silk or cotton.
You can leave the cochineal in the laundry bag in the dye bath during dyeing. Make sure the fibres can ‘swim’ well. Bring the temperature back up to 80-90 degrees and simmer for about 45 minutes.
Let the fibres cool slowly in the dye bath.
MC tips:
1) Soak the pounded cochineal for 1 day for a deeper colour.
2) After cooling, leave the fibres in the dye bath for an additional night.

Step 4: Fixing
Rinse out the fibres and leave it in a bucket of water with 1 cup of vinegar for an hour. Then rinse well again and hang to dry.

Oogst Natural Dye product philosophy

Tiring of quick-fix culture and instant gratification? Frustrated with the monotony of modern life? Are you yearning to make elegant and stylish products yourself?

Instead of falling victim to the ‘quick-fix’ mentality, take your time and create something relatively insignificant by today’s standards. Get back to nature with natural dyes.

The earth is our most precious resource. It provides everything we need, including the landscape in which we live, the food we eat, the air we breathe. It’s our foundation, grounding us in a steady rhythm of seasons. The fast pace of modern life has shifted what is considered valuable. What we need and even who we are has been redefined by a consumeristic society.

Let go of the impulsive convenience mindset. Break free from the urge to just consume. Create something new, make something on your own – using natural dyes – and reconnect yourself with nature. Discover the pleasure of Oogst natural dyes for yourself, getting back to basics with colours directly from nature.

There is something to be said about the process of creation. It is not only the final product that is important, but what led to its creation. We want you to experience how it feels to make something with your own two hands.

And why should that be complicated? The truth is that for hundreds of years before synthetic dyes came along, common folk were creating their own dyes.

We’re bringing back the lost art of natural dyeing. It’s easy to buy what you need at the stores just like everybody else, but when you dye your own projects you come away with something truly unique.

Explore the possibilities at Oogst.

Sustainable packaging

The packaging material we have selected for Oogst natural dyes is made out of agricultural wase.

It is compostable and complies to the EN13432 directives for compostability and is also DIN CERTCO certified.

The package material is suitable for the food industry and helps perserving the materials.

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