Methods of Oriental rug dying were closely guarded secrets among clans or workshops involved in weaving them in the years gone by. Vegetable dyes were commonly used before the newer generation of synthetic dyes stormed into the market. However, the traditional rug weavers largely depend upon pigment extracts to color the beautiful rugs that their nimble fingers create. It is a popular belief that natural dyes are a lot better than their chemically manufactured counterparts. Nothing could be more wrong. There is a certain category of chrome dyes that are hardier and hold fast to the beautiful floor covering from the East. It cannot be claimed with certainty that vegetal dyes have been used for a 50 year old Oriental rug because by the end of the 19th century Oriental rug dyeing was carried out freely using man made colors.
The most commonly used natural dyes are made from the indigo, madder and larkspur plants. The nomads followed a typical method of Oriental rug dying in which the fibers to be used were immersed in dye pots for hours, removed and hung up to dry. Variations in color tone occurred in the same piece when the weavers ran out of fibers of certain hue and dyed more for the purpose. Often the first dip in the dye pot produces the brightest color while it gets duller with each subsequent dip.
Oriental rug dying is a cheaper substitute for rug replacement. When redecorating your room you need not do so around the color of your existing Oriental rug. Instead you can get it re-dyed to match your décor. Dyers have learned to combine several basic colors to get a totally new and exciting one. Today the possibilities are endless. Man made dyes come in a very large palette of colors, turning the craft of dying rugs into a commercial one.