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Topic: Want to try dyeing... so how do I get started?  (Read 739 times)
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« on: November 10, 2009 08:11:08 PM »

Are there any good websites I should look for?

And what supplies do I need? I need to try to go as inexpensively as possible. And my projects will probably be about the size of a fat quarter 18 x 22. I don't have much space to work in. I'll probably use the results for quilting... quilts, wall hangings, bags. Probably not clothing unless I do scarves. Usually muslin or cotton, possibly silk.

Would appreciate any advice.
ptarmic wumpus
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2009 10:33:28 PM »

I know some quilters use dye techniques on small fabric pieces using baggies or such, sometimes with the microwave. I don't know details, but you can probably find info on the internet or a library.  Silk needs different treatment and dyes than cotton.  For cotton, I would recommend getting some procion or other fiber-reactive dyes rather than a union dye (rit, dylon, anything at the grocery store) - they are more cost effective per quantity and give much better results. Fiber reactive dyes are cold water dyes that you can use in a small bucket, you will also need salt (ice cream salt is cheap and easily found at the grocery store) and soda ash aka washing soda (also inexpensive, you may be able to find some in the cleaning section of your grocers, or buy from a dye supplier).

Gloves are good, as is a decent face mask for particulates.  You can use plastic chopsticks or other plastic utensils to stir the dye - take a trip to the thrift store for glass or enamelware containers (do not use aluminum, copper, or other non-enameled metal containers, they will react with the dye). Do not use any containers that will ever be used for food again. Cotton will not take dye from acid dyes (kool aid, icing dyes, commercial acid dyes).

« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2009 06:21:34 PM »

Just to add to what Ptarmic Wumpus has said...

I dye both cotton and silk with fiber reactive dyes. Silk takes the dye very well and vividly for a majority of colors. Keep in mind that FR were formulated for cotton so the colors you see as examples are for cotton. Like I said, silk dyes spot on for most colors. I can get an o.k. black but browns and sage have been difficult for me on silk. They tend to color separate, meaning the component colors that make up the dye "come out".

For smaller fabric swatches i.e. fat quarters a method called Low Water Immersion works well. I have a tutorial on my blog... http://desertdyeworks.blogspot.com/2009/07/something-fun-and-quick.html

Have fun and be prepared to get addicted to it!

Desert Dyeworks Color, meet Fabric!!
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