Making an Organic Indigo Vat

After a workshop I attended last year, I was really keen to try making an indigo vat of my own. Flora, the workshop facilitator, told me about the 1-2-3 method coined by Michael Garcia.

The ratios are:

  • 1 part indigo
  • 2 parts lime (calcium hydroxide)
  • 3 parts fructose 

The Botanical Colors blog has a great step-by-step guide, which I followed to create the vat. The process was fair straight forward, which I think was helped by the fact I already had been show how to do this in the workshop.


Once the vat was made I experimented with some basic shibori techniques, wrapping threads around knitted swatches and using pegs as a basic clamp to create resists. I also tried an ombre effect, here I had to be particularly careful not to let the fabric touch the sediment at the bottom of the vat. Some of these were successful, some were not, but I learnt quite a lot by trying just a few folding techniques. I will look into making some wooden blocks to clamp next time.

Below is my first attempt at a stop frame video, which attempts to show the colour change that occurs through oxidation...



Botanical Colors. Make an Easy, Organic Indigo Vat. [online][ Available at: