I want to HAND PAINT devore scarves (silk/rayon) with Procion dyes
Country or region: USA
Message: I can't find the answer on your site to my problem. I want to HAND PAINT devore scarves (silk/rayon) with Procion dyes. If I hand paint the scarves, can I then steam them? Obviously I can't use soda ash with silk. How can I hand paint these scarves on a stretcher, and then steam them? OR do I need to steam them, can I just air dry them for a few weeks? Someone said to try dipping the scarves in a baking soda/water solution first and letting it dry. I can't find any info on hand painting devore scarves. Thank you for your help.
The fact is that silk will dye wonderfully with Procion MX fiber reactive dyes and soda ash, following the exact same recipes we use for dyeing cotton. With this dye and fixative, you can stick to room temperature, and avoid steaming altogether. You can presoak your silk in soda ash and then paint on the same dye concentrates we use for tie-dyeing, or you can mix some of your dye concentrate with a teaspoon of soda ash and then use it up within an hour of doing so. There is no need to air-dry for weeks; Procion dyes used with soda ash on silk take between one hour and one day to fix, depending on the recipe that you follow, and must be moist for the entire time. There are a few precautions to take. One, you should not leave silk to soak in soda ash for days, though that's fine for cotton; presoak it only immediately before dyeing, and wash it out within twenty-four hours. (After you are done washing out the excess dye, restore the pH of the silk by soaking it in water with a few tablespoons of vinegar added.) Two, don't do this with extremely shiny, stiff silks, because soda ash may soften the silk a little. A third warning: don't expect pre-mixed colors of dye to produce the same colors on silk that they do on cotton, when you use them with soda ash; only the unmixed single-dye colors will stay the same. (See "Which Procion MX colors are pure, and which mixtures?".) This color shift is actually a good thing on silk/rayon devoré scarves, as the contrast between the colors produced on the silk backing and the colors produced on the rayon plush can be very nice. For example, a mixed dye color labeled purple may produce a raspberry color on silk, while a dye labeled aquamarine might produce an emerald green on silk. To use mixed colors, take a scrap piece of the same material and spot on each of your dye colors, keeping careful track of which dye mixture produces what color, both on the silk backing of the scarf and on the rayon plush, so you will know which dyes you want to use for each color. You can steam scarves that have been dyed with Procion MX dyes, whether you've used soda ash, baking soda, or vinegar as the fixative. When you use Procion MX dyes with soda ash, steaming is not necessary, but some dyers like to steam even then, for the best color. Whenever you use Procion dyes with heat, it is a good idea to add some Ludigol to your dye mixtures to prevent color loss at high heat; you can buy Ludigol from a good dye supplier such as PRO Chemical & Dye or Dharma Trading Company. If you dye silk according to the acid method, you will need to apply heat. If you use Procion MX dyes with vinegar instead of soda ash, they will function as acid dyes, not as reactive dyes, so they will need to be steamed, just as with dyes that are labeled as acid dyes. Air-drying for weeks can work for setting fabric paints, as an alternative to ironing or baking, but not for setting acid dyes, which require moist heat to set. A big problem with acid dyes, when dyeing silk devoré, is that acid dyes do not work on the rayon plush, since rayon is a cellulose fiber like cotton. Some acid dyes will stain cotton or rayon, but you should not expect this color to last reliably. Steaming is usually done after you have allowed the dyes to dry on the fabric. It works well when done with baking soda. After the dye is dry, wrap each scarf in layers of paper. Use either unprinted newsprint, which you can buy from Dharma or an art supply store or a movers supplier, or newspapers that you have saved for six months so that the ink is no longer apt to transfer onto your silk. For small amounts of silk, you can then use a vegetable steamer, but large amounts call for a better system. See my page, "How to Dye Silk", scrolling down to the the section on "How to Fix Your Silk Dye".
As an alternative to steaming, you can enclose your wet silk in zip-top freezer bags and then microwave them just until they are steaming and the bags inflate with steam (it's best to repeat this several times, after letting the bags cool a little to deflate each time so that they do not explode, so that the steam has enough time to work), or you can place your wet dyed silk into black plastic garbage bags and expose the bags to bright sunlight so that the bags get hot inside. (Don't put them on a cold concrete surface; insulate the bags underneath, by placing a blanket or wood or thick plastic under them.) You can also enclose your damp silks safely in plastic bags or plastic boxes and put them inside a closed car on a sunny day; the temperature inside the care can get quite high. To keep different sections of the silk apart, cover each scarf with a large piece of plastic wrap before you roll it up and place it inside a plastic bag; be generous in wrapping your silk with plastic wrap, so color will not transfer from one part of the scarf to another, ruining your design. Note that there must be moisture present, either in the scarves themselves in or the steam you expose them to; the reaction between dye and fiber requires moisture, so the dye cannot be set after it dries out completely.
Baking soda works as a dyeing auxiliary only if you are going to steam your silk. Baking soda does not have a high enough pH to work well with fiber reactive dyes such as Procion dyes, but the heat of steaming turns baking soda into soda ash. (Heating turns sodium bicarbonate into sodium carbonate.) You can use a steam-set dye such as Procion H or Remazol dyes on silk/rayon along with baking soda. These are fiber reactive dyes that need more heat than is provided by room temperature. Remazol dyes are available as ProChem's Liquid Reactive Dyes and as Jacquard Products's Vinyl Sulphon dyes. Unlike acid dyes, the heat-set fiber reactive dyes will work on both rayon and silk, when steamed with baking soda. Remazol dyes are highly suitable for silk painting, much less expensive than the little bottles of silk dye paints, and possibly a little safer to use, as well, since you can get better information on what's in the dyes.You can mix up jars of different colors and keep them for months in the refrigerator. Surprisingly, Remazol dyes work well when steamed even with no fixative at all, no soda ash or baking soda or vinegar. There is a great deal of additional information on this topic on my page, "How to Dye Silk".
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Posted: Friday - August 10, 2012 at 09:38 AM
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Published On: Aug 29, 2012 02:49 PM