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Topic: low water immersion dyeing - novice experimentation w/ pics  (Read 3281 times)
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ptarmic wumpus
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« on: August 19, 2007 07:05:44 PM »

I've been experimenting a bit with low water immersion dyeing. I really don't know what I am doing, but basically you mash your fabric into a small vessel with different colors of dye.

This is how I made dyed a shirt yesterday:

1. Take a natural fiber fabric or garment, and wash it well. I washed in synthrapol, a special fabric detergent. This shirt was from the thrift store, not pfd, so the polyester thread in the seams will not dye. In comparison, there is embroidery on the front in cotton thread that *will* take the dye.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/lwid1.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

2. Optional - soak the shirt in some soapy water to wet.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/lwid2.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

3. Find a small jar, or plastic or metal vessel. The jar needs to be big enough to fit the whole garment in (tightly!) but not so large that the garment can fit in loosely. This jar is actually a bit on the small side for the shirt.  Mix up one color of dye in a little water (a cup or less) in the bottom of the jar. Here I have put Bubblegum pink procion dye, about a spoonful.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/lwid3.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

4. Take your garment, squeeze out the extra water, and squish up tight. Gloves are a good idea if you don't already have them on.

5. Stuff the squished shirt into the jar. Smash it down in there real good!
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/lwid5.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

6. Mix up a second dye color (if desired) in a separate cup and pour on top. I have added "mixing blue" procion.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/lwid6.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

7. Add more water if needed (or more dye colors) until the water comes up to the top of the fabric. Note that the jar is a bit small for this one.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/lwid7.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

8. Let this sit for a while. The longer you leave it, the more the dye spreads up into the scrunched fabric. If needed, mix up any chemical fixatives (soda ash in my case) and add to the top after 30-60 minutes.  You can leave for several hours, but the longer you leave it, the more the colors blend. But take it out quickly, and the dye won't have spread very far. If you poke the fabric, the dye will work in more.
Here is the jar right after mixing:
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/lwid8.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

Here is the jar with the mixing colors after about 45 minutes.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/lwid9.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
9. When you think you are done, pour out the dye water and remove your fabric. Then clean and wash as usual.
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/lwid10.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

10. In this case, I added the fixative very early, and didn't leave the shirt in the jar for very long. This left big white patches on the garment:
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/lwid11.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/lwid12.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
So, I made a little bath of purple dye and overdyed the whole shirt:
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/lwid13.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

The finished dry shirt:
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/sswap150.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]
Here are some other things I tried :

Yellow and red:
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/sswap149.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

Robins egg blue and berry with batiked design:
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/sswap143.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

Yellow and forest green with batik:
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/sswap151.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

Purple and green with batik:
http://decapod.home.silentsong.net/sswap152.jpg [edited to change broken image to link]

There is also a version of this where the dye is sprinkled on in powder form (crystal wash), but I am working inside and am not going to work with loose dye powder in my apartment.  As usual, take safety precautions (respirator/mask, gloves, etc) when working with powdered dye and other chemicals.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2013 09:57:49 PM by sweets4ever » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2007 07:28:36 PM »

Those turned out so cool looking!  Beautiful colors!

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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2007 07:32:37 PM »

Wow! This is truly amazing. I'm favoriting this so I can try it out tomorrow. I'm also hitting "This Rocks"  Tongue

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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2007 07:33:16 PM »

Oh wow! I love the batiked one! Are those boxers, though, cuz it would be a shame if it had to hide under your pants.
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2007 11:42:05 PM »

Love the batiked designs! The immersion dyeing is great too. Smiley

Thanks for all the pictures! Need to try this sometime when I've got cotton dyes..

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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2007 12:18:26 AM »

That's neat--look similar to tie dye but without most of the work.  I really like the yellow and red shirt and absolutely love the batiks.

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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2007 06:02:56 AM »

Ooh... I hadn't heard of this technique before - very cool!  Thanks for sharing the concept, and your beautiful examples!
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2007 06:03:15 PM »

Hmmm... hard to believe this is novice work. It looks really good.

By the way, is batik hard to do? I'm a little intimidated at the thought of removing wax.

Anyway, I love your low water immersion techniques. I really like the button down shirt, because those are so formal, and the tie dye look is so relaxed... it's kind of interesting. I am tempted to go to my local thrift shop for some cotton button shirts to dye!
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2007 07:46:43 PM »

There are some good online sites with more info, which are basically the instructions that I followed:

The batik is fairly easy, I'm not doing any complicated layering of colors, and I mostly do the immersion type. I've been using soy wax instead of traditional batik wax - it has a low melt point and isn't suitable for hot dye baths, but it washes out in hot tap water, is safe to put down the drain, and doesn't give off toxic fumes. It doesn't stand up to the soda ash as well as 'real' batik wax, so you can't leave it in the bath for too long or the soda ash will strip off the wax. You can find soy wax sometimes in the candle area at craft stores, but it is a lot cheaper online.

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