Kamala – Kamala – is a powdery substance obtained from the fruit of Mallotus philippinensis, a small evergreen that is also known as the monkey-face tree (because monkeys are said to rub their faces in the fruit). Kamala is found throughout tropical India. Kamala dye is very similar in behavior and colour to annatto. Kamala dyes golden yellows to tangerines with moderate lightfastness on cotton. Lightly deeper shades are obtained on protein fibres. When iron is added deep moss green is obtained. Over or under dyed with indigo produces forest greens.
Mordanting: use alum mordant at 15% WOF for protein fibres. For cellulose mordant with tannin at 8% WOF and then alum at 15%, or alum acetate at 8%.
Dyeing: Kamala is not very soluble in water, so it is necessary to extract the colourant before dyeing. To extract with alcohol, soak the powder with twice its volume of isopropyl or ethyl alcohol. Let stand for 2 hours stirring occasionally. Add the alcohol/kamala mixture to the dyebath.
To extract with soda ash, mix the Kamala powder with half of its weight of soda ash in twice its volume of water. Let stand stirring occasionally. Add the entire mixture to the dyebath. After dyeing rinse first with a vinegar solution and then thoroughly with water. Kamala dyes a beautiful orange yellow on silk and wool. It dyes lighter yellow shades on cotton.