How can I gradate one color to get 10 different hues of that color?

Name: Ann


Procion mx fiber reactive cold water dye

Procion MX Dye

ideal for cotton or rayon

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.



Linda Knutson's
Synthetic Dyes for Natural Fibersir?t=dyeblog-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0934026238

An ideal introduction to how to use synthetic dyes.

Country or region: USA

Message: I am wondering if I can gradate one color to get 10 different hues of that color. What would be the proportions to do that, saying that you wanted 1/2 yard of each color? I am in a challenge for a monochromatic quilt and would love the above information Thank you.

For each step in the gradation, I recommend using half as much dye. For example, start by mixing up twice as much dye as you need for your darkest piece, and pour half into the first container or bag. Dilute the remaining half of the mixed-up dye by adding an equal volume of water (or urea water, or whatever liquid you're using), mix it together, then put half of the resulting quantity into container two. Dilute the remaining dye mixture by adding an equal quantity of water, and so on, until you have as many steps as you want.

This is not the only way to do a gradation, but it works well, and it's very simple to keep straight. It's a much better method than the more obvious one of adding, say, ten parts of the dye mixture to the first contain, nine parts to the second, eight to the third, etc, because the differences between each of these steps will be too small and can be imperceptible in many cases, and the changes in color don't look as though they are evenly spaced. Halving the concentration of dye at each step gives results that look evenly spaced, visually.

For an overview of how much dye you want to use at the beginning and end of your gradations, take a look at my page, "How much Procion MX dye should I use?". For high-water-ratio immersion dyeing, you might use 2.5 grams of dye per pound of fiber to get a pale color, 7.5 grams of dye powder per pound of fabric to get a medium color, 15 grams per pound for a dark color, or 30 grams for black. 2.5 grams of dye per pound of fiber works out to be 0.55%, whereas 30 grams of dye powder per pound of fiber works out to be 6.6%.

A typical quilting cotton might weigh 4.5 ounces per square yard; for 42-inch-wide fabric, this works out to 5.25 ounces per yard, or 149 grams. Say 75 grams of fabric per half-yard piece, or one-sixth of a pound; that's what your cotton fabric would weigh. (Use your kitchen scale to weight ten half-yard swatches to find the true weight of your fabric, so you can adjust your dye quantities appropriately.) The very darkest color might take up to 10% or even 12% of the weight of the fabric in dye, if you're trying for an extremely dark color intensity, but 5% of the weight of the fabric (OWG, standing for "On Weight of Goods") is a more likely first step, for the darkest color, and quite dark enough for any color other than black. 5% of 75 grams is 3.75 grams. If the darkest color swatch gets 3.75 grams of dye powder, and you mix up a total of 7 grams of dye, then the second-darkest color would get 1.9 grams for 2.5% OWG; the third 0.9 grams for 1.25% OWG; the fourth 0.47 grams for 0.625% OWG; the fifth 0.23 grams for 0.31% OWG; the sixth 0.12 grams for 0.15% OWG; the seventh 0.059 grams for 0.078% OWG; the eighth 0.029 grams for 0.039% OWG; the ninth, 0.015 grams for 0.020% OWG; and the tenth, 0.0073 grams for 0.0098% OWG.

On further thought, those last three steps, less than 0.05% OWG, would work out to be awfully pale, probably too pale for you. A six-step gradation works very well with the dilute-half-each-time scheme, but perhaps you'd prefer to make your steps smaller for a ten-step gradation. For each step, you could put 2/3 of the dye into the next container, diluting it by adding only half as much water. If you started with dye quantity of 5% OWG, with steps of 2/3, then that would give you a gradation of 5.0% OWG, 3.3% OWG, 2.2% OWG, 1.48% OWG, 0.99% OWG, 0.66% OWG, 0.44% OWG, 0.30% OWG, 0.20% OWG, and 0.13% OWG.

If you put 3/4 of the dye into the next container each time, your gradation will proceed from 5.0% to 3.8%, 2.9%, 2.1%, 1.6%, 1.2%, 0.89%, 0.67%, 0.50%, and 0.38%. To do this, for ten pieces of fabric that each weigh 75 grams, you could start by dissolving 15 grams of dye in one liter of water, or of chemical water (water plus water softener plus urea), or whatever liquid your particular dyeing method calls for, in a jug or pitcher of some sort. You'll want to start with four times as much dye powder, total, as is needed for your first swatch of fabric. Pour 250 ml of the dissolved dye mixture into your first container or baggie. This first container has one-quarter of 15 grams of dye, which for a 75-gram piece of fabric works out to be 5.0% OWG. Now, for the next step, add 250 ml of water (or chemical water or whatever) to the original jug with the remaining dye mixture, mix again, then pour 250 ml of dye mixture into your second container or baggie. Add another 250 ml of water or chemical water to your jug, mix again, and pour 250 ml into your third container. Keep doing this for as many gradations as you want to include. At the end you will have 750 ml of the weakest concentration of dye in your jug to discard.

Each step should be multiplied by the same fraction as each previous step, in order to get a smooth progression of apparent color intensity. For a gradation with more steps, use a larger fraction of each color intensity in order to get the next one; for a gradation with fewer steps, use a smaller fraction. Since you are creating each color step simply by diluting the previous one the same way each time, it's much easier to actually do the color gradation than it is to calculate it.

(Please help support this web site. Thank you.)

Posted: Monday - December 24, 2012 at 02:05 PM          

Follow this blog on twitter here.

Home Page ]   [ Hand Dyeing Top ]   [ Gallery Top ]   [ How to Dye ]   [ How to Tie Dye ]   [ How to Batik ]   [ Low Water Immersion Dyeing ]   [ Dip Dyeing ]   [ More Ideas ]   [ About Dyes ]   [ Sources for Supplies ]   [ Dyeing and  Fabric Painting Books ]   [ Links to other Galleries ]   [ Links to other informative sites ] [ Groups ] [ FAQs ]   [ Find a custom dyer ]   [ search ]   [ contact me ]  

© 1999-2011 Paula E. Burch, Ph.D. all rights reserved