How can I dye bone?

Name: Karan


Procion MX Fiber Reactive Cold Water Dye

Procion MX Dye

bonds to both plant fibers and proteins

Lanaset dyes are
the most wash-resistant of protein dyes

(For silk, wool, angora,
mohair & nylon)

Buy from
Paradise Fibers

Retayne fixes most dyes, including Rit

New Rit Dye Fixative
is similar to Retayne

Message: I have dyed a piece of bone for a project I am working on, but the color keeps running until the piece is faded. What do I need to use to seal the color in, so it is safe to wear while touching fabric?

You'll probably need to use a different dye, or at the very least a different recipe for the dye you are using.

What kind of dye are you using? And, how are you using it? What temperature are you dyeing at? How long do you simmer the bone with the dye? What other chemicals do you add, such as vinegar?

The dye I used for the bone was rit dye and I do not think I put vinegar in the mix. I did simmer it for about 5 mins, but I did not want it to be longer because it is a bone. I have also tried it with cold water, so what other dye could I use for this dye job. After it got to the color I wanted I let it dry then I wet it again and put it on a white cloth and it bled on the cloth  any help  please.

When you dye bone, although the primary structure is composed of minerals such as calcium, what you're really dyeing is the protein scaffold that supports the minerals. (The same is true for dyeing eggshells).

There are three main choices for dyeing bone. One of the choices is acid dye. Rit dye does contain acid dye (in addition to a cotton dye that will not stick to bone at all). Unfortunately, the dye in Rit dye is not among the better acid dyes, as it is not very wash-resistant. You can do better. Like all acid dyes, Rit does require very hot water to work. You can't use Rit dye as a cool water dye. All acid dyes work best in the presence of some acid, such as about 100 ml of white vinegar per four liters of water (that's equal to six tablespoons plus two teaspoons of vinegar, in a gallon of water).

You must wash the piece until all of the dye that is not attached has come off. The only dye you want remaining in your piece is the dye that is actually attached to it. Loose dye that rubs off is a bad thing.

Ways to make acid dye work better include: using both acid and heat, as described above; using a better acid dye, such as Lanaset dye or Washfast Acid dye; and/or using a cationic aftertreatment to try to fix the dye afterwards. See "Commercial Dye Fixatives".

Another option is to use a cool water dye. All-purpose dye, such as Rit dye, can never be a cool water dye; it requires heat to attach to the substrate. Instead, use a fiber reactive dye, such as Procion MX dye. This dye can be used at temperatures as low as 70°F., if you use soda ash with it as an auxiliary chemical. (When used with an acid such as vinegar instead of soda ash, Procion dyes become acid dyes, and require heat.) For your choice of a hundred different colors of Procion MX dye, order by mail from a good dye supplier such as PRO Chemical & Dye or Dharma Trading Company. Alternatively, you can find several fiber reactive dyes at a good crafts store or art supply store. A good tie dye kit will work fine, and you can mix the colors to get the color you want. Good brands of tie-dye kits include Jacquard, Rainbow Rock, Dylon, or Tulip. (Avoid the tie-dye kits made by Rit and the Magic Strings tie-dye kits.) For individual dye colors, look for Jacquard Procion MX dye, or Tulip One Step Fashion Dye, or Dylon Permanent dye, or Dylon Cold Dye. All of these dyes contain fiber reactive dyes which can be used in cool or warm water, so they do not require cooking, and they are much more permanent than an all-purpose dye such as Rit. Some will work better than others on bone. Use the tie-dye recipe to make a very concentrated mixture of dye in water. Some kits contain soda ash already mixed in with the dye, others require you add it separately. Read the instructions carefully. After leaving the dye on the bone overnight, rinse very thoroughly.

The third kind of dye that can be used on bone is Basic dye. Jacquard Products used to recommend their Wood and Reed dye for dyeing bone. They no longer sell this type of dye, but it is still available from Aljo dyes, in New York. I don't really like the idea of a non-chemist using this type of dye in the kitchen, though, because some basic dyes are suspected of being carcinogenic. I recommend that you try fiber reactive dye, instead, or perhaps see if aftertreating acid dyes with Retayne solves your problem with acid dye.

You can also try painting your dyed bone with a clear sealer such as satin polyurethane, but the results will look less natural, and you should rinse excess dye from the bone before applying any such sealer, and be sure that it is absolutely dry before painting it.

In any case, expect the color you obtain with your dye, before rinsing, to be darker than your ultimate color will be after rinsing. You will need to use more dye so that you get a darker color before rinsing. Only then can your results be dark enough after rinsing and drying.

See also: "What kind of dye should be used to dye bone rings? "

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Posted: Sunday - November 02, 2008 at 09:10 AM          

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