Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dye Another Day!

How often you you get inspired with a new dye colour or idea and want to rush to the pots eager to try it out? Then discover you have to make up the soda solution and dye concentrate before starting? Maybe you only have 30 minutes and would love to try creating a new rich, soft brown with tints of red?
Why not make up the solutions and have them ready for when the inspiration strikes?
I have dye concentrates made up in 12 ounce squeeze bottles in two sets of primaries, plus a few extra colours and store them in my dye room. The room is cool all year round, but if your space gets warm, then invest in a small bar fridge.
I generally buy my dyes twice a year and make fresh concentrates every 3-4 weeks, more often if I'm having a particular colour splurge!
I buy my dyes from www.dharmatrading.com, they ship quickly and I like their service.
The colours I have are:

Cool Primaries                      Warm Primaries
Fuchsia                                    Scarlet
Lemon Yellow                        Golden Yellow
Turquoise                                Royal Blue

And I add in Bronze, Purple, Black (sometimes 2 or 3 different ones)' Avocado, Moss Green and Eggplant. I often will try a new colour and see if I'd like to add it to my palette, but generally am happy with this selection.

Here's the dye concentrate recipe I use:
Dye Concentrate:

            1 cup Chemical Water
            1 Tablespoon Procion MX Fiber Reactive dye powder
            Stir dye powder into Chemical Water until dissolved
            * I generally double the amount of black for intensity

Chemical Water: Urea is a wetting agent that keeps the dye solution from drying too quickly. This is important when laying the fabric flat to batch. Use this recipe for making the Dye Concentrate and Print Paste. The solution will keep indefinitely.
            4 cups lukewarm water
            9 Tablespoons Urea Granules
            Stir Granules into the water until dissolved.

I measure fairly accurately, but I know to get repeatable results it would be best to weigh my powders. I make little funnels from strips of paper to fit into the neck of the bottles, plastic funnels would work but I'd need one for each colour if I'm making multiple colours.

I make the soda ash solution in jugs or plastic bottles so that its ready to pour into cups with the dye concentrate:
Soda Solution:
            2 quarts lukewarm water
            4 Tablespoons soda ash
            Stir powder into water  until dissolved, soda ash will often take a little while to  dissolve thoroughly.

 Safety First!
·         Always wear a mask when working with dye powders.
·         Do not drink or eat in the dye area.
·         Reserve all equipment to use only with dyes and paints.
·         Label all dyes and chemicals clearly.
·         Work in a well ventilated area
How do you like to mix your dyes?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this very concise and clear explanation of your dyeing techniques Susan - I agree, having everything ready to go means you can create when the muse strikes! I'm going to print this out so I have it for reference!