Oaxaca Natural Dye Workshops

Oaxaca Natural Dye Workshops can be scheduled at your convenience whenever you plan to visit Oaxaca. Of course, this depends on instructor availability, too. Ideally, we would like at least two or more weeks advance notice to schedule a workshop on the dates you prefer.

Indigo Dye Bath 4

The one, two or three-day workshops, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, are held in the historic center of Oaxaca city. The location is within a five minute taxi ride from the Zocalo or you can choose to walk 20-minutes to get there.  We send map and directions after you register and pay your deposit.

All workshops include instruction, materials and recipes.

Featuring private and small group workshops. 

Penland Indigo Workshop

 The Complete 3-day Workshop (32 colors)

Day 1–Prep for the Process:  9:00 am to about 2:00 pm — This is a preparation day. You will prepare grey and white wool with a mordant, in order to achieve 30 different colors on Day 2 and Day 3! We will talk about natural dyes in Oaxaca, and make the extract of pericón (wild marigold) and pomegranate.

Day 2–Red, Yellow, Brown: 9:00 am to 2:00 pm — You dye with pomegranate and pericón (wild marigold), then prepare extracts of cochineal (acid and neutral), the insect that produces carminic acid to give an intense, colorfast red.

Day 3–Rainbows & Overdyes: 9:00 am to 2:00 pm — You will prepare an indigo vat, make a shibori scarf design, then dye with indigo to get various shades of blue. With an indigo over-dye, you will get a range of purples and greens to master the color variations.

Private workshop fee is $435 USD for one person. $375 per person for two or more people.

The 2-day Workshop (11 colors)

Day 1: 9:00 am to about 2:00 pm — First you begin to understand the natural dye process by first applying a mordant to the white wool. This takes time, and we wait until the wool is sufficiently “cooked” so that you can prepare it to create 11 different colors. You will then dye with pericon (wild marigold) and pomegranate, and make an extract of cochineal (acid and neutral).

Day 2: 9:00 am to 2:00 pm — You will prepare an indigo dye vat and then use the wool you dyed on Day 1 to make over dyes that will yield purples and greens.

Private workshop fee is $290 for one person. $265 per person for two or more people.

The 1-Day Workshop: Cochineal Only

From 9:00 am to 2:00 pm you will start the mordant process, discuss natural dyes in Oaxaca, start the mordant process, and prepared extracts of cochineal as you change the pH of the dye vat to yield 12 different colors of red.

Private workshop fee is $155 for one person. $135 per person for two or more people.

How to Register and Pay: Send Norma Schafer an email to tell us your preferred dates. We will check about available dates and let you know. Then, you tell us you are ready to register.
  1. We send you a PayPal invoice by email for a 50% deposit
  2. Once we receive the deposit, we confirm and send you directions.
  3. You pay the balance due in cash (US Dollars or Mexican Pesos) on the day of the workshop.





  • Days must be taken in sequence. If there is a group of 4 or more people, we can offer a group price. Please contact me.
  • Lunch is on your own. You can bring a lunch or go out in the neighborhood.
  • Please bring your own drinks and snacks.
  • We give directions to the workshop after you register and pay the workshop fees.

About Your Instructor: The workshop instructor is a knowledgeable expert in the natural dye process and materials. She provides dyed wool and cotton yarns and thread to many of Oaxaca’s famous weavers and textile designers, and she works with textile designers worldwide to offer customized colors that are used in fashion and home goods.


Reservations and Refund Policy.  We will send you an invoice by PayPal. Cancellations made within 30-days of the workshop date are not refundable. If you cancel more than 30-days in advance we will refund 25% of the registration deposit.

DyeWorkshopJan_Group-14 DyeWorkshopJan_Group-9

Please let us know if you have any questions.


18 responses to “Oaxaca Natural Dye Workshops

  1. I am visiting Oaxaca City March 20-29 and would like to take your 1-day cochineal course. Is it possible?

  2. I am interested in your dye classes 2 or 3 days February 18-20th. I understand that you will learn various dye processes but what do you actually make during this class. Do you make the same thing by taking the 2 day versus the 3 day class – just less colors?

    • What you learn are dye recipes, mordanting and over-dyeing. You make dye samples and a sample card, and have recipes to take with you. If you take the three-day workshop, on the day you dye indigo you make an indigo-dyed cotton scarf.

  3. I would like to take the 3 day workshop. I want to go to Carnaval March 5th..so either right before or after that day. Can you tell me what dates are available?

    I am interested in using natural dyes with fabrics. Is it possible to dye samples of cotton or silk in the workshop, instead of working with wool?

    Gracias! Val Roy

  4. Ximena Isabel Velez

    Hi, Im interested in the 3 Day workshops, and if there is a posibility to do a visit to a Indigo plantation would be fantastic. I would go any time in september, is the instructor in Spanish or english, I have no problem Im from Colombia.

    • Hi, Ximena. We can schedule a 3-day dye workshop for you in September. Just let me know the dates. Send me an email:norma.schafer@icloud.com

      The indigo plantation is on the coast of Oaxaca, 12 hours by bus from the city. We do not offer visits there. I’m sorry, you would need to make your own arrangements.

      Thanks for your interest.

  5. Please add me to your email list for dyeing workshops. Presently I’m visiting Oaxaca & toured rug & dyeing artists. I live in SF, CA
    Thanks – Robin Hall

  6. Hi Norma,

    I am interested in booking a 2 day workshop sometime between Feb 4th and 10th. Is there instructor availability for any of those dates? Looks like a wonderful program!

  7. Hello

    I’m considering a trip to Oaxaca and would love to do a 1 or 2 day workshop while I’m there on the natural dyes. My travel dates i’m considering are April 3rd and 4th 2017. Would I be able to do a workshop around then?


  8. I think I will be able to come between March 5th-30th. I would like to book a workshop in the beginning of my travels! Can you let me know some dates that work for you? And if you can send me any more information on the dyeing workshops that would be great. Can you send me an address to where I will be taking classes as well?

    Thank you!

  9. Hello!

    I am the co-owner of a local natural dye company based out of Baltimore. One of my 2017 goals is to dive deeper into natural dyes rooted in rich histories of other cultures. I have always wanted to explore Oaxaca and play with cochineal and local dyes. I wanted to inquire about your workshops. I would be interested in coming out for an adventure!

    Please let me know more information. I think my timeline is between March-May. But I can be flexible!

    Let me know how to move forward!

    • Hi, Claire, we’d love to have you come visit and participate in a workshop. Just tell me the specific dates you are thinking of, with some choices, and I’ll check with our master weaver teacher and check that the dates work for him. Click on this link for complete information and pricing. Then, just let me know your plans. Best, Norma

      • Wonderful! Can you tell me a little more about how a custom trip like this would work? I am waiting to confirm some springtime classes I will be teaching and will have specific dates I can send you once that happens. March or April seems like the best time for me. I would love to come in the beginning of the months as I have some other plans to travel. How long would a dye course like this run for me and can you send me a tentative pricing breakdown?

        Very excited to plan this adventure!

  10. Hi. I’d like to get some information about your classes. I’d like to take the multi-day dyeing and weaving classes back to back in early June of 2017 as a retirement present to myself. Would this be possible?
    Diane Pearsall

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