Can I make Procion MX an acid dye for silk so I can use the serti technique with gutta, dry and steam?

Name: Bonny


Procion mx fiber reactive cold water dye

Procion MX Dye

When mixed with soda ash, Procion dyes are permanent, colorfast, and very washable. You can easily create a palette of brilliant colors ranging from light pastels to deep, vibrant hues.


Jacquard tie dye kit

Jacquard Tie Dye Kit

Dye up to 15 adult-size T-shirts, with vivid, electric colors that are so colorfast they can be washed with the daily laundry.


Jacquard funky groovy procion mx tie-dye kit

Jacquard Funky Groovy Procion MX Tie-Dye Kit

Get sizzling color and electrifying designs in just 3 easy steps. This professional-quality kit supplies enough to make 5 adult-sized T-shirts, or any natural fiber garment of equal quantity. Finished projects are colorfast and stay brilliant after repeat washings. Primary colored Procion MX dye powder is pre-measured and ready to mix with tap water in convenient applicator bottles. The kit contains the following materials: 3 applicator bottles with Red, Blue, and Yellow Procion MX dye; Gloves; Rubber Bands; Dye Fix; Instructions for making spiral, stripe, and geometric patterns.

Country or region: Canada

Message: Can I make Procion MX an acid dye for silk so I can use the serti technique with gutta, dry and steam? If I use vinegar instead of water for the dilutant. Thank you for this terrific web site. It has helped me through many trials.

Yes, you can use Procion MX dyes as acid dyes on silk. Procion MX dyes work pretty well as acid dyes, when used with an acid instead of with soda ash. (See "Fiber reactive dyes on protein fibers".)

Instead of using vinegar as a presoak, you may prefer to follow PRO Chemical & Dye's recipe for doing this with citric acid, which does not evaporate the way vinegar does. If you use vinegar in your dye mix, then allow the dye to dry thoroughly before steaming as is usual, then the vinegar will evaporate, too, along with the water, but citric acid does not evaporate.

A good recipe for doing this is ProChem's Silk Painting using PRO MX Reactive Dyes [PDF]. It calls for Procion MX dye, urea, citric acid crystals, Synthrapol, and your choice of gutta or silk resist. It doesn't call for steaming, but you will probably find that your colors are better if you do steam anyway, when using Procion MX dyes as acid dyes.

Citric acid can often be found locally, in the form of 'sour salt' for cooking, or in a store that sells supplies for home wine-making. You can also purchase it from a good dye supplier, such as G&S Dye in Toronto. It's easy to ship, because it is in the form of a dry powder. See my page about citric acid, if you'd like to know more about it, though you really don't need to do anything more than follow the recipe mentioned above.

It would make sense to also include Ludigol in your dye mixtures. Ludigol improves the color yield of Procion type dyes when they are steamed, by preventing the dye from being reduced at high temperatures, which tends to bleach out the dyes. ProChem sells Ludigol under the name "PRO Chem Flakes", while G&S Dye sells it as "Ludigol" and Dharma Trading Company sells it as "Ludigal F". Use one level tablespoon, or 8 grams, per quart or liter of chemical water mixture; that's the same as 3/4 teaspoon, or two grams, per 250-ml cup.

The recipe also calls for Synthrapol, the detergent, which is available only from dye suppliers. G&S TNA Soap is a perfectly good substitute. See "What is Synthrapol?".

The urea called for in the recipe should not be necessary at all, if you choose to steam your silk after the dye paint has dried on it. (See "What is urea for? Is it necessary?".) The primary purpose of urea in dyeing with Procion MX dye is to retain moisture, especially when dyeing with soda ash or another high-pH chemical, to allow plenty of time for the dye reaction to occur before the dye dries out. Wrapping the dyed material in plastic, as specified in this recipe, makes the humectant properties of urea unnecessary. However, if you will be steaming your painted silk, after it dries, there will be no need to slow its drying time. In some cases, urea increases the solubility of dyes to a small extent, so that you can dissolve more in the same amount of water, but this is unlikely to be an issue for you. If you will be steaming your dye-painted silk, feel free to omit the urea from the recipe, or try it with the urea one time, and without it another. Retaining extra moisture in the dye paint might sometimes increase the amount that the color spreads. This won't matter if your gutta lines are very well applied.

Be sure to use plenty of newsprint paper to wrap your painted silk in for steaming, to prevent the dye from one part of the silk from transferring onto another. The newsprint that touches your silk should be either unprinted white newsprint paper, or it should be aged at least six months after printing, in order to avoid transfer of the newspaper ink to your silk.

Another way to use Procion MX dyes for painting silk with the serti technique is to use a regular tie-dyeing recipe to prepare your dyes, mixing your dye paints with soda ash immediately before use. The usual tie-dye dye concentrates made with Procion MX dyes work well when used as thin paints for direct application. If you would like to thicken your dyes, see Michael Fowler's recipe on my page, "Sodium alginate, Superclear, and other dye thickeners". This method calls for soda ash, even though it can also be used on silk without any changes. Although it is made of protein, silk is more resistant to damage from high pH than wool and other protein fibers are. Since Procion MX dye bonds well to silk at room temperature, when used with soda ash, there is absolutely no need to steam when following this protocol. Urea is a very helpful ingredient with this technique.

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Posted: Monday - November 07, 2011 at 08:29 AM          

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