1. Fill a stainless steel or enamel pot with just enough hot or warm
water for the fabric to swim freely, turn on the heat.
2. Add the dye powder to the pot and stir. Normally, in this procedure
you would add 2 to 4% of the dry weight of the fabric in dye powder.
For example, if you are dyeing 1 pound of fabric, use 1/3 to 2/3 of
an ounce of dye.
3. Add the fabric that has been thoroughly wetted to the dyepot.
4. Raise the temperature to 185° to 200°, just below boiling.
5. Add ¼ cup of vinegar per pound of fabric. Try not to pour
directly onto the fabric.
6. Maintain temperature and stir frequently for ½ hour. Wash
in Synthrapol and warm water.
Note: If you are dyeing wool, a gradual heating and gradual cooling
of the dyebath is important so as not to shock and felt the wool.
Washing Machine Immersion
(Not for wool. Wool will felt in a washing machine. Use the stove
top method for wool.)
These directions are for top loading washing machines only.
1. Set the washing machine to the hot wash/cool rinse and longest wash
cycle. Fill water to the lowest level appropriate for the amount of
fabric being dyed.
2. Get fabric wet then pull out and set aside.
3. Add dye powder and agitate until dissolved.
4. Add clean wet fiber and agitate for a few minutes.
5. Add one cup of vinegar being careful not to pour directly onto fabric.
Let agitate a few more minutes.
6. Let machine run through cycle OR for maximum washfastness, reset
washer to maximum cycle length. Do not let the washing machine drain.
You just want to lengthen the time the fabric is in the dyebath. After
resetting, let washer run through cycle.
7. Remove fabric from washing machine. To ensure that all of the excess
dye has been removed, you may want to run the fabric through another
wash cycle with cool water and some Synthrapol.
8. Run washer through a large rinse cycle to remove any dye remaining
in the washing machine.
For professional silk painters who steam set, liquid acid dyes
provide the brightest, most intense colors. To make your own liquid
acid dyes for silk painting, use the following recipe:
1. Stock Solution
Add 8 oz. (1 cup) of very hot water to one .5 oz. jar of Jacquard Acid
Stir until dissolved. This will yield a very concentrated dye stock
solution. Most colors require further dilution. Note: some colors will
dissolve more readily than others. A small amount of alcohol (about
1 tablespoon) can be added to the dye solution as a wetting agent.
2. The final concentration of the dye solution for painting should be
between 4 and 8%. Start by adding 4 oz. (1/2 cup) of water to the 8
ounces of stock solution you have, test the color and continue adding
water until desired shade is achieved.
Keep in mind that the color intensity really develops in the steam
setting process. Most colors will remain stable in solution for a long
period of time. However, some colors will fall out of solution upon
cooling or over time. To restore them simply heat them on the stove.
Screen Printing, Stamping & Painting
The traditional method of printing with dye is to add the dye to
a thickener paste. This method can be used for screen printing, hand-painting,
and stamping and many other direct application techniques. It is important
to prepare the fiber by washing to remove the sizing.
1. Wash, dry and iron the fabric.
2. Prepare dye thickener paste (see below).
3. Add dye, either powder or stock solution, to thickener. Proportion
the dye in the container in relation to the amount of thickener paste
and desired intensity.
4. Print, paint, or stamp on fabric.
5. Air dry. Steam set. (See Steam setting directions.)
Preparing Dye Thickener
When screen printing with dye thickened with sodium alginate, the print
base should be as thin as the image will allow. Dye printed in too thick
a base will halo from the image before the fabric is cured or will accumulate
in the corners, altering the image. Sodium Alginate SH is a high viscosity,
low solids type of alginate thickener used primarily for cotton and
other cellulose fibers. It may also be used for silk when fine line
definition is not required. Sodium Alginate F is a low viscosity, high
solids alginate used for silks and synthetics when fine line definition
is desired. Use about 2½ times more of the F to equal the viscosity
1. Mix chemical water by adding ¼ cup of urea and 1 Tablespoon
of vinegar to 1 quart of water.
2. Sprinkle sodium alginate over water and stir constantly for 10 minutes,
OR mix in blender.
3. Let stand for a few hours or overnight before using. Mixture may
be stored in refrigerator for many months.