Unlike conventional watercolor paints, our watercolors are 100% natural, using only plant dyes, minerals and other natural ingredients. The plant dyes include indigo leaves, madder roots, weld, myrobalan, oak galls, and logwood.
Indigo leaf dye has been safely used for thousands of years (dating back to 2000-3000 B.C.) for its ability to make strong and beautiful blues. In the 1800s, natural indigo was almost completely replaced by synthetic indigo, which is derived from the known toxin aniline (a chemical that has been used to make rocket fuel).
Madder root is one of the oldest natural dyes, known for its ability to make beautiful reds. It has been safely used for thousands of years, since at least ancient Egypt (cloth dyed with it has even been found alongside the possessions of King Tut).
Weld is an incredible natural dye plant that was historically used throughout Europe, Asia and was even used by native Americans. It is known for its ability to make the longest lasting natural yellows, and also makes olive greens with small amounts of iron.
The dried fruits of myrobalan trees used for dyeing are commonly used in ayurvedic and traditional Tibetan medicine. Because myrobalan is very high in antoxidants, it has been used to protect against various age and heart related diseases.
Oak galls are high in tannins that bind to fabric and paper to create long lasting color. Oak also has natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce skin irritation.
Logwood dye is extracted from the heartwood of logwood trees. It has been safely used in Europe since the 1500s, and by the Mayans for hundreds of years before that.