soy wax spread beyond the design before dyeing
Message: Paula,I searched and wasn't able to find anything about this problem anywhere. I used soy wax on an outfit for my granddaughter. By the way it worked great, didn't come off in the dye bath at all. My problem is that when I was applying the wax it spread causing my Care Bear face and my hearts to have white spaces around them where the dye didn't take. It looks sort of cool with the hearts but the bear face looks like a big mistake. Do you know of any way to prevent wax from creeping? Thanks, and Thanks A Bunch for the best web site on dyeing
I'll bet you can salvage the design by adding highlights with a fabric paint, such as Lumiere, that is either opaque, pearlescent, or metallic. Other types of fabric paints won't show up well on the dark background, but these three types will, and a pearlescent or metallic paint often adds a very nice touch to hand-dyed designs. An alternative repair method would be to use the same Procion type dyes you used before, but thicken them with sodium alginate or Superclear, so that they stay exactly where you put them, and carefully paint them on, either adding the soda ash directly to the dye, or presoaking the shirt in soda ash again. Of course you will get a different effect where two layers of dye overlap, darker in color than where you have only a single layer of dye, so you probably won't want to just cover up the lighter blotches; adding to the design may work well, though.
Your question is, why did the soy wax run beyond the area you intended to cover? My first thought is that you might have used a different type of soy wax. Where did you buy it? There are different grades of soy wax; some are thinner than others, depending on the degree of chemical processing the soy wax has been subjected to. For batik work, we want the very most hardened type of soy wax. The pillar-type candle soy wax is often recommended, but I am not sure whether all brands of soy wax are equally good. (Avoid container-type soy wax.) Both PRO Chemical & Dye and Dharma Trading Company sell soy wax for use in batiking fabric.
Would it be possible for you to apply less wax at a time if you used a different application tool? Perhaps a finer brush or tjanting would work better for you.
A different problem people complain of with soy wax is that, if it is not hot enough when it is applied, it will not fully penetrate the fabric. This results in dye penetrating under the edge of the wax. To correct this problem, one needs to heat the soy wax to a higher temperature when melting it. Using a double boiler is not ideal. For best results, you can treat it just like beeswax, heating it in an electric skillet or other thermostat-controlled wax-melting pot. Although soy wax has a lower melting temperature than beeswax, it also cools down more quickly, which can keep it from penetrating the fabric well. In your case, it seemed that the soy wax penetrated too well, but I think that using cooler soy wax would cause more problems, rather than solving the one you have.
Soy wax is very convenient for its washing-out properties. You don't have to boil or iron it out, as you do the traditional beeswax and paraffin. However, it can cause problems when washed down the drain of the washing machine, just as putting melted animal fat down the sink can. The material can congeal when the temperature gets below its melting point, and can clog up the pipes, resulting in an expensive plumbing repair call. To avoid this, use a lot of detergent to keep the soy wax in suspension, or hand wash in a basin or bucket, with hot water, to remove the bulk of the wax before putting it in the washing machine. When you hand wash it, you can be more certain that you have the wax well suspended in the water with detergent, or you can let the wash water cool and remove the bulk of the wax that way. I've also seen the suggestion that you allow the wash water to cool and then pour it on the ground outside, since soy wax is biodegradable, but, in that case, you want to be sure that your wash water does not contain much soda ash or detergent. Soda ash is bad for plants because of its sodium content and its high pH.
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Posted: Sunday - October 19, 2008 at 09:26 AM