Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dyeing Notes

Notes on using Natural Dye Stuff:

  1. Some sources say that you can dye any natural material in a cool dye bath as well as heated, however, some dye stuff requires heat to release the dye;
  2. Although a cool dye bath may work, generally heat I think is the better method, since your dye will adhere to the material faster and cane may be different than other materials such as cotton or linen;
  3. I have purchased an Aroma PHP-323 Electric Halogen Range for use in my dyeing; this is a fancy word for *hot plate*; this one however has a really large base and works well with the larger dye pots I use; and it heats and cools down very rapidly;
  4. Most natural dyes are not toxic so although you can dye in your kitchen, it is better to have some sort of ventilation for the area anyway and I don't think I'd be eating any of these whether toxic or not; be sure and wash or rinse your hands after each handling of any of the dye stuffs for safety;
  5. Mordants on the other hand can be toxic, so follow instructions well with those and make sure you have lots of ventilation for them;
  6. Most of the dye materials will have their own unique funky smell as well;
  7. The above halogen range will also work well outside if you prefer to dye out of doors, my preferred place is outside;
  8. Always remember that if you finish a recipe and the color just isn't as dark as you'd like add more dye stuff;
  9. I'm also beginning to think that with any dye stuff you will need at least 1 cup of dye stuff with 2 gals of water at a minimum; anything less than that will not give you a true indication of the dye color when finished; remember your dyed material is going to look dark when wet in the dye pot but as it drys it will get lighter in color.
  10. You should also NOT place a naturally dyed basket in direct sun light, sun light will cause the natural dye to fade very rapidly;
  11. Sources also suggest drying your newly dyed material in the shade rather than direct sun light.
  12. I always add 1 to 2 tbs of water softener to my dye pot since I have hard water whether the recipes state that or not.
  13. When experimenting you may want to dye the cane first and then try your color modifiers, this way you can see what the color change is; you would make your color modifier just like you would a dye pot but wait until after you have dyed your material, then put it in the color modifier solution. The all in one dye pot doesn't give you the benefit of seeing the dyed material and then what the color modifier will do to the color.
  14. Always try a test piece of cane in the color modifier before putting the entire coil of cane in the solution. Don't want to ruin that gorgeous original dye, if the modifier doesn't do what you think it will.
  15. Every dye batch will be a different shade or variation of the color, so be sure and dye enough material for your project, so you will have some consistency in color.

And most important have fun.....:)

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