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Saturday, October 30, 2010
Do you know someone that will dye a wool sweater for me?
at Paradise Fibers
Washfast Acid dyes
Designed to permanently dye protein fibers -- animal fibers like wool, silk, angora, mohair, alpaca and nylon. These brilliant shades are carefully selected from available super milling and premetalized colors. They have excellent wash and light fastness properties.
Country or region: Colorado - USA
Message: I've talked with cleaners about dyeing a wool sweater. No one will do it for me. Would you know someone that will?
It seems that local cleaners no longer re-dye clothing. I've never found any that do. There are, however, several firms that you can consult via the web for a price quote, then mail the garment to them; they will dye it and send it back. Check the prices now to find out whether the cost is worth it to you.
I maintain lists of dyers, both garment dyers and custom hand-dyers, on the page, "Where can I find someone to dye my clothing for me?". You'll want to try True Color Fabric Dyeing, Spectrum Custom Fabric Dyeing, or Metro Dyeing Service in the US, or or Dye Pro Services in Canada.
Although I welcome submissions from garment dyers anywhere in the world, and frequently receive this same question from individuals in the UK, the only companies that have contacted me to be put on this list are in the US and Canada.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Can I dye a polyester fiber without a carrier? How?
Country or region: Lebanon
Message: Can I dye a polyester fiber without a carrier? How?
You can skip the dye carrier chemical, and boil the polyester with the disperse dye for half an hour or longer. The color will not be as intense as you will get with the use of the dye carrier, but is fine for medium or pale shades. Some disperse dyes require a higher temperature in the dyeing process than lower energy disperse dyes do; also, some polyesters take up the dye better than others without the dye carrier. For example, without a carrier, blue "iDye Poly" dye works better on Dacron 64 polyester than on Dacron 54 polyester. What this means is that you should do a small-scale test with your particular polyester fiber and your disperse dye to see what it does without a carrier.
Apparently, in industry, polyester dyeing is often carried out at 130°C, a temperature which allows polyester to be dyed without a carrier chemical. This temperature cannot be reached in a dyebath without a pressurizing device, such as a pressure cooker. However, a small pressure cooker, such as is used for food preparation, will probably be too small, requiring that the fabric be folded; any folds or wrinkles are apt to become permanent after the heat treatment.
Disperse dye may also be applied to polyester without a dyebath, via a heat transfer process. No carrier chemical is needed. You can make disperse dye transfers on paper, using either disperse dye crayons or a paint that you mix using disperse dyes, and then use either a heat transfer press or a hot clothing iron to transfer the design to your polyester, without steam. Obviously, this method is unsuitable for dyeing a solid level color, but it presents many possibilities for prints.
For more information on hand-dyeing polyester, see the following two pages:
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Tie-dyeing a teal dress that has a rayon layer and a polyester layer
Country or region: New York, NY
Message: Hello! I tried to look for an answer to my question but could not find a direct one. I have a dress that I am looking to die or even tie dye would be better. The dress is a teal so if it was able to be tie dyed i would maybe have to use a bleach? It is washable but it has 2 layers, the first is polyester and rayon and the second is just rayon. Is it even possible to dye this? I really appreciate your response in advance! thanks!- Rebecca
Rayon is easy to dye like cotton, using a good tie-dyeing kit. (See "How to Dye Rayon".) However, polyester cannot be dyed with any dye that will work on rayon. Polyester can be dyed only with a special kind of dye developed solely for synthetic fibers, which is called disperse dye. (See "Dyeing Polyester with Disperse Dyes".) If you want to dye both layers, perhaps you should use fabric paint or dye transfers, instead of regular dyeing.
If the original color is too dark or intense, it will be difficult to color it. Both dyes and most fabric paints are transparent and will not show up on top of a dark color. I don't recommend that you use bleach on polyester, though. Chlorine bleach can permanently damage polyester, turning it to a dingy yellow color which cannot be removed. Instead, I recommend that you buy a sulfur-based dye remover. (See "What chemicals can be used to remove dye?".) Although I don't usually recommend Rit all-purpose dye, I do strongly recommend another Rit product, Rit Color Remover. It works best when used on the stovetop with added heat, but it's easiest to use in the washing machine with hot water. I'd recommend trying the washing machine method first, because it's so much easier, and you can always repeat with the stovetop method if necessary. Depending on the size of your washing machine, you will need two or three boxes of Color Remover, and you should turn up your water heater to the highest safe temperature, if you're comfortable with adjusting the water heater.
I have to warn you that there's no guarantee that trying to remove the original color will work. Some dyes that are used in manufacturing clothing are easily removed; some are partially removable, or turn a funny color; and some will not go away no matter how you treat them. Since we don't know what dyes were used to color your dress teal in the first place, there's no predicting. It is worth a try, though. It works more often than it fails.
After you've removed as much color as you can, the question is, what should you use to tie-dye the dress? If none of the color was removed by the Rit Color Remover, then you can only chose an opaque fabric paint, such as Neopaque, but you will have to apply it thickly enough that you'd be able to feel the paint on the fabric after it is dry. Let's hope that this is not necessary.
Dyeing the rayon part with a Procion MX tie-dye kit, such as the Jacquard tie-dyeing kit, will work very well, but it won't color the polyester at all. (Don't use the Rit tie-dyeing kit, because it is not as good.) If it is important to you to dye both layers, this will require two stages of tie-dyeing, in which you first use Procion MX to tie-dye the rayon, wash the dress, and then use disperse dye to tie-dye the polyester, but this is almost certainly more trouble than you want to go to, unless you have a clear vision and a strong need to create it.
The simplest solution would be to substitute a very thin fabric paint for the dye (but then skip the soda ash that's required for Procion Mx dyes). The results are not quite the same as tie-dyeing, but close enough, and some fabric paints work on both natural and synthetic fibers. I recommend either Dye-Na-Flow or Dharma Pigment Dyes for this purpose, diluted with the maximum amount of water recommended in the instructions. (See "Fabric Paints: a different way to color fibers".)
One last alternative would be to tie the dress and then drop it into a boiling dyebath that contains both "iDye" direct dye and "iDye Poly" disperse dye. With immersion tie-dyeing, you're pretty much limited to shades of a single color, unless you want to use the very unpleasant method of holding the garment only partially submerged in the boiling dye mixture, using a pair of tongs,for half an hour per color. The good thing about this method is that the "iDye" dyes the rayon or cotton at the same time that the "iDye Poly" dyes the polyester.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I've been trying to dye a dress black for Halloween. I've used 3 different dyes and nothing is working
Country or region: USA
Message: Please HELP!!!! I have a polyester/nylon/spandex mix dress, now the dress is not dry clean only nor cold wash only. I've been trying to dye the dress black for Halloween. I've used 3 different dyes and nothing is working. I need to know what kinda dye will work to get this dress black, PLEASE HELP!!!
You can't dye polyester with ordinary fabric dyes, because it's too different, chemically, from natural fibers. Any dye that will work on cotton or wool will completely fail to dye polyester. The only true dye that works on polyester is disperse dye. See "Dyeing Polyester with Disperse Dyes".
Unfortunately, disperse dye has to be boiled with the fabric for half an hour or more, but boiling will probably destroy the shape of the spandex in your dress. Polyester/spandex is a bad blend to try to dye. The color already in the dress was added to the different fibers separately, before they were combined into the dress. You can try disperse dye, if you like, but only if you are willing to take the risk of damage to the spandex in the blend. You must really boil it, using a large cooking pot that you don't plan to reuse for food; sub-boiling temperatures will not work to dye polyester, even with the best dye. You can't dye polyester in the washing machine, in spite of any misleading claims that you may see.
What percentage of the dress is polyester, and what is nylon? Nylon is easier than polyester to dye, because, although it's a synthetic fiber, it is chemically similar to wool, so it dyes pretty well with acid dyes and with all-purpose dyes, such as Rit (though Rit black dye often produces colors other than black, typically a dark purple). However, dyeing just the nylon in your dress, and none of the polyester, will result in a gray dress instead of a black one. Nylon can also be dyed with disperse dyes, so if you decide to risk the spandex in your dress by boiling it with a disperse dye, the nylon will get dyed, too.
An alternative to true dye is fabric paint. This works great for synthetic fibers when you want a tie-dyed or hand-painted design, but it's not so great for getting a perfectly smooth solid color. If the idea for your costume will work even if it is dyed unevenly, then I recommend that you use a thin fabric paint that is labeled as being effective on synthetic fibers. A huge advantage of this approach is that you don't have to boil the dress. Fabric paints can be applied at room temperature and then allowed to air dry. Afterwards, use a hot iron to set the paint, if the manufacturer of the fabric paint you use says to do so, or just keep the dress away from moisture for several weeks, as many fabric paints will set even without heat if not washed for a month or longer. You could even color in the entire dress using Jacquard's Tee Juice Fabric Markers, the fat-tip ones, which are much faster to use than other fabric markers, but be warned, this can be messy, and should be done only over a waterproof drop-cloth - a wise precaution with any fabric paint or dye.
The two fabric paints that I recommend you consider are Dye-Na-Flow and Dharma Pigment Dyes. They are both thinner than other fabric paints, and mimic dye more closely. You can dilute either one with water (Dharma Pigment dyes can be diluted more and are thus more economical) and dip your dress in it, squeezing the diluted paint through the dress repeatedly, then hang it up on a plastic hanger to dry, taking care to protect any surface underneath from drips of the fabric paint. If the first pass does not produce a dark enough color, wait for it to dry and then repeat. You will notice that the color is uneven, possibly splotchy, darker at the seams and in any wrinkles, and that garments colored with fabric paint tend to look worn after only a little use, an effect common in pigment dyeing.
You can buy both Dye-Na-Flow and iDye Poly (a disperse dye) by mail order from art suppliers such as Blick Art Materials. Dharma Pigment Dyes, Dye-Na-Flow, and iDye Poly can be ordered from Dharma Trading Company (which will do fast overnight shipping, if you're in a hurry). Some exceptionally good local art and craft suppliers, such as Texas Art Supply, will carry Dye-Na-Flow and/or iDye Poly, but the majority do not.
Warning: if you buy iDye Poly, be careful not to buy plain iDye, without the word Poly in the name. iDye Poly is disperse dye, but plain iDye is a different type of dye, direct dye, which works only on natural fibers. Only iDye Poly will work on polyester. You can also buy other brands of disperse dye from serious dye suppliers such as PRO Chemical & Dye in Massachusetts and Aljo Mfg. in New York, or see my listing of Sources for Dyeing Supplies Around the World.
Also see this earlier dyeblog entry: "How can I use Dye-Na-Flow to dye a dress black?"
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I would like information on dyeing polypropylene hair bouffants Name: Lou
Country or region: USA
Message: Hello-I would like information on dyeing polypropylene hair bouffants, like the ones used in clean rooms. Thank you in advance.
You can't dye polypropylene. Polypropylene is a remarkable fiber in the way it repels all dyes and stains. Even fabric paints are not absorbed by polypropylene, since it repels the water in which they are suspended.
The way polypropylene is colored is by adding insoluble pigments to the melted liquid, before the fiber is extruded from it. The best way to obtain colored polypropylene is to order it from the manufacturer with the pigments already added to it.
If you can obtain polyester hair bouffants, to replace your polypropylene hair bouffants, then dyeing will become possible. Although polyester cannot be dyed with the ordinary clothing dyes that work on cotton, it can be dyed with a special dye for synthetic fibers called disperse dye. (See "Dyeing Polyester with Disperse Dyes".) Disperse dye will not work on polypropylene, but it works well on polyester, acrylic, nylon, or acetate. You can use it for immersion dyeing, or you can use disperse dye crayons or paints to create iron-on transfers which can be applied to polyester with a transfer press or hot iron.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Country or region: Ithaca NY
Message: I dig the colors and have been trying to dye some of my own work... I've been using rit dye and can't get the bright colors I'd like. I'm looking for a nice kit so I can produce stuff like the one you did with the star mandala, but being a broke college kid, I was looking for a retailer where I can get that quality dye for the best price? But like I said... I dig your work man! peace and love
Two questions here: price and quality. Fortunately, the very best and brightest dyes I can recommend to you are among the cheapest, too, at least in the US.
Take a look at my Dye Forum post entitled "comparison of dye costs". It's dated February 2008, but prices have not changed much.
To buy enough dye to color one pound of fabric (or loose fiber) costs about $2.29, if you're using Rit all-purpose dye powder, or around $1.86 if you're using Rit all-purpose liquid. Plus, like any all-purpose dye, Rit dye fades quickly in the laundry, so you don't get all that very many wearings from it, and it's likely to ruin your other clothes if you foolishly wash them together.
A far better dye for tie-dyeing is fiber reactive dye. The cheapest and most popular fiber reactive dye is called Procion MX. It stays bright for years when fixed with washing soda or soda ash, so one round of dyeing with Procion MX is worth far more than a similar round of dyeing with all-purpose dye. As a bonus, you don't risk ruining any other clothes you wash with it, so there's no added cost there (assuming you wash out all the unattached excess dye first). Fiber reactive dye is an absolute must for the brilliant multi-colored tie-dye art that is popular today.
Look back at my "comparison of dye costs" table again. Three of the most economical sources for Procion MX dye are PRO Chemical & Dye, Dharma Trading Company, and Best Dyes (also know as Grateful Dyes or Colorado Wholesale). To buy enough dye to color one pound of fabric, if you buy two-ounce jars (much cheaper in the long run than the tiny boxes), costs approximately 56¢ at Dharma or Best Dyes and 65¢ at ProChem. That's less than a third as much as the all-purpose dye you've been using, and yet the colors are incredibly brighter and stay bright on your clothing for years longer! For an even better deal, if you do a lot of dyeing, purchase your dyes in eight-ounce jars, which will reduce your cost-per-shirt still further, to around 40¢ per pound of fabric you dye. Don't forget to order soda ash, plastic squirt bottles, latex or non-latex gloves, and a cheap dust mask for when you're measuring out dye powders; urea is also a good ingredient to use in tie-dyeing, though it is optional. A waxed polyester string called artificial sinew is better for tying intricate designs like mandalas than rubber bands are.
The vast majority of serious dyers buy their dyes from mail-order companies such as the three I mentioned. Mail-order companies provide the best prices and the widest selection of products, and their dyes are often much fresher than those you find in a local shop. If you don't like to use a credit card, you can place an order by phone or on the website, and then mail in a check or money order to pay for it.
You'll have a hundred different choices for what colors to buy. You don't need all those colors to start with. The most basic colors for bright dyeing are red MX-8B (fuchsia), turquoise MX-G (turquoise), yellow MX-8G (lemon yellow or sun yellow), and a black mixture such as Black MX-CWNA. You can mix a great many different colors with just those four, and they will give you the brightest colors. If you have a little more money, also buy a jar each of violet MX-2R (grape), one of the navies (blue MX-2G is a good choice and readily available), orange MX-2R, and a 2-ounce jar of a premixed dye color in whatever is your favorite color. Note that there is a shelf life for these dyes; buy only as much as you will use up within two years, and store them with the lids on tight, in a reasonably cool, dry place.
Here are some pages with more information that you'll want to read:
You'll probably also want to browse through my listing of
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Dyeing a sweater made of nylon, mohair, and acrylic
Country or region: London, UK
Message: Help! I have a nylon, mohair, acrylic top that is a bit of an icky pink, and I wanted to dye it a deeper pink/purple colour. What is the best dye to use?
You can't dye all of those materials at once, so it matters what percentage of the total is each fiber. You can either dye in two stages, or you can dye one set of fibers and leave the other undyed, or lightly stained. The result of dyeing only one set of fibers is often a rather attractive heathered look.
Both nylon and mohair can be dyed like wool. Although nylon is a synthetic fiber, unlike other synthetic fibers it has a chemical resemblance to wool, so it can be dyed with the same type of dye, known as acid dye. Acid dyes are readily available. You can find acid dyes in the mixture called all-purpose dye, which includes Rit all-purpose dye and Dylon Multi-Purpose dye (but not any other type of Dylon dye). Better acid dyes are available from dye specialists, usually by mail-order. Good sources for acid dyes in England include Fibrecrafts and Kemtex Educational Supplies; for more information on these and other good dye sellers, see the Europe section of my page, Sources for Dyeing Supplies Around the World. You will also need to buy whatever auxiliary chemicals your dyeseller recommends for the dye you purchase, usually a mild acid, such as vinegar. You dye supplier can give you a suitable recipe. Using acid dyes generally involves simmering the dye and the fabric together on the stovetop in a very large non-reactive cooking pot, one which you do not plan to reuse for food afterwards. You must wash the garment very well before dyeing it, to remove any invisible stains that will make the dye blotchy.
My recommendation would be to skip dyeing the acrylic fibers altogether. Acrylic is a difficult-to-dye synthetic fiber. It can be dyed by simmering it with a special type of dye called disperse dye, the same type of dye that is used for polyester. You can buy this type of dye labeled as "transfer dye" or as "iDye Poly" (NOT plain iDye); Fibrecrafts is one of several good sources in the UK. It's easier than dyeing polyester with the same dye, because it does not require a full boil, and it does not require a horribly smelly carrier chemical, as polyester does, but you can't get a dark color. The darkest color you can get by dyeing acrylic with disperse dye is a medium shade. Alternatively, acrylic can be dyed with a different type of dye called "basic dye", which is hard to find, is in some cases toxic or cancer-causing, and will stain everything that it touches. I always advise my readers to avoid using basic dyes on acrylic; disperse dye is not only easier to find and use, but also safer.
The color change from pink to either deeper pink or purple will be easy to manage. The original color always shows through any dye that you add, but, since purple is a mixture of pink and blue, it's very easy to go from pink to purple.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Should I use iDye for batik?
Country or region: US
Message: I am trying batik for the first time. I have tie dyed plenty of times using a squirt bottle method. I've always wanted to dye fabrics in other way but didn't like the idea of boiling dyes on the sink and whatnot. Then I ran across iDye. I want to try batik with those convenient little packets. I heard it can be done. If I follow the directions and use my washer's hottest setting, will it melt my wax and ruin my hard work? Any tips for batik with iDye are GREATLY appreciated. Thanks so much!!
Don't use iDye for batik. There are much more suitable dyes for batiking. In fact, the dyes I recommend for batik are the same ones that are used for squirt-bottle tie-dyeing.
iDye is a type of direct dye. Its users report that it is better than Rit all-purpose dye, more satisfactory in color, but it's a similar dye. Like all-purpose dye, iDye requires hot water in the application process, and works best when almost boiled with the fabric. Also like all-purpose dye, iDye will tend to gradually wash off in the laundry, unless you after-treat with a commercial dye fixative, such as Retayne. The best use for iDye is for mixing with iDye Poly for stovetop-dyeing cotton/synthetic blends. While you can use iDye with lower temperatures in an attempt to avoid melting the wax, it won't work as well as at high temperatures, and it's just all-around not as good as the cool-water dyes.
Cool water fiber reactive dyes are so much better in every way for batik. The most popular is the Procion MX dye which is found in most good tie-dyeing kits, probably the exact same dye you've used before. You can wax your fabric and then squirt or paint your dye on, just as in tie-dyeing, or you can use the same dye in a bucket or washing machine, following an entirely different recipe. The minimum temperature is 70°F, which is room temperature, which will not melt your wax.
Three facts to keep in mind:
1. Procion MX dyes are easier to use than iDye direct dyes, since they're set with washing soda instead of with heat.
2. Procion MX dyes are much better than direct dyes for batik, since they don't require hot water that will melt your wax.
3. If you ever wash your batiked goods, Procion MX dyes will stay bright (or dark) on the fabric for years longer than direct dyes, so your work can be enjoyed far longer.
For further reading, see "How to Batik". To learn how to use your washing machine to dye with Procion MX dyes, if you'd rather do it that way, see "How can I dye clothing or fabric in the washing machine?".
Friday, October 15, 2010
Trying to tie-dye sweat-wicking material shirts
Name: The Duncans
Dye polyester and poly/cotton blends
Contemporary Dyecraft: Over 50 Tie-dye Projects for Scarves, Dresses, T-shirts and More
tie-dyeing in buckets with fiber reactive dyes, suitable for adapting for use in tie-dyeing synthetic fibers with boiling disperse dyes
Country or region: US
Message: Hi Paula,
We are trying to tie dye those sweat wicking material shirts that are so popular with athletes these days. It always washes out (nearly 100% washout). What do you recommend?
There are two different possible problems here:
1. What is the fiber content of your shirt? Are you using the right dye for it?
2. Does the surface finish that provides the wicking action interfere with a dye's access to the fiber of the shirt?
What I would suggest is that you test my first question first. You need to get the right type of dye to match the fiber content of the garment you are trying to dye. Since we don't have any clue as to how much of a problem question two will be, you should do a test run of just a single garment, to see how well it will dye once you get the right dye for it.
Since you don't specify what kind of dye you've been using, I'll have to assume that you've been using all-purpose dye, such as Rit dye, since most people know you can buy that at the grocery store. Don't do this! All-purpose dye is suitable for only a limited number of uses, generally involving a blend of a cellulose fiber such as cotton with a polyamide fiber such as wool, silk, or nylon. All-purpose dye is almost never a good choice for 100% cotton, because it bleeds in the laundry and fades very quickly, and much better dyes are available. In addition, like most dyes, all-purpose dye will never work on most synthetic fibers, including polyester and acrylic.
The wicking material shirts I've seen are usually 100% polyester. Polyester is a special case, for dyeing. You cannot dye it with any of the many dyes that work on natural fibers. Any dye that works at all on cotton will just wash out of polyester—just as you described your dye as doing. The only type of dye that works on polyester is called disperse dye, a special dye that was developed solely for use on synthetic fibers. You are going to have to acquire some disperse dye. See "Dyeing Polyester with Disperse Dyes".
Incidentally, disperse dye will work on quite a few other synthetic fibers, as well. It will work on nylon, though it's generally better to use a wool dye on nylon because the chemistry of nylon fiber makes acid dyes more wash-resistant. Disperse dye is also the best choice for home-dyeing acrylic fibers, and it's by far the best choice for acetate, as well. It won't work on polypropylene; nothing else will, either.
You will not be able to find disperse dye at the grocery store. Most crafts stores do not carry it, either, though the excellent craft store near me, Texas Art Supply, does carry it in their stores. Unless you have a particularly good crafts store nearby, you're going to have to mail-order your disperse dye. One brand name of disperse dye is iDye Poly (not to be confused with the single-word dye iDye, which is only for natural fibers). iDye Poly is manufactured by Jacquard Products, and sold through retailers such as Texas Art Supply and Dharma Trading Company. Other brands of disperse dye are available from a limited number of other mail-order retailers, such as Aljo Mfg in New York, and PRO Chemical & Dye in Massachusetts. (See my list of "Sources for Dyeing Supplies Around the World".) The quality of the disperse dye from PRO Chemical & Dye is probably better than the iDye Poly, but I'm not absolutely certain. iDye Poly does work.
Another thing to know about disperse dye is that you absolutely must boil your garment in it, and boil it for a long time, in order to dye polyester. You can't get away with just using hot water! Disperse dye will not work on polyester in the washing machine. (Some other synthetic fibers will take disperse dye at a lower temperature, and might be able to be dyed with it in the washing machine if the water is heated hot enough.) Polyester actually does not like to dye at merely boiling temperatures, so a nasty-smelling carrier chemical should be added. This comes as a separate little packet inside the iDye package, and is ordered separately from suppliers such as PRO Chemical & Dye or Aljo. The smell of the boiling carrier chemical is rather foul, and demands excellent ventilation. If you have access to an outdoor cooker, such as a turkey fryer, using it would be more pleasant than boiling the dye inside your home or office. When I dyed polyester using the carrier chemical in the iDye Poly packet, I first opened all of my windows, and then I put a strong fan in the window, and then I opened all of the doors as wide as possible, and, after all that, I still wanted more ventilation to reduce the smell.
Note that there are ways to tie-dye with disperse dye, but I would suggest that you do something very simple for your first test garment. Perhaps you should just dye it a solid color, or you could tie concentric circles in it before dropping it into the dyebath. There's a new book I can recommend for you with a variety of different patterns of tie-dyeing by immersing the tied garment in the dyebath, which would work well with boiling in disperse dye. Another alternative is to make iron-ons using disperse dye paints or crayons. The disperse dye fabric crayons are easy to find locally, much easier than the packets of disperse dye, and they lack any unpleasant smell; you should be able to find them at your local sewing store. See my page, "Iron-on Fabric Crayons for Synthetic Fibers".
Please let me know how well iDye Poly, or whatever brand of disperse dye you choose to buy, works on your sweat wicking material test shirt. I would very much like to know whether or not the moisture-wicking surface finish interferes with the dyeing process. Let me know if you have more questions about disperse dye before you try it.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
More on recoloring a red jumpsuit to green Name: Christie
Dye polyester and poly/cotton blends
Neopaque is an opaque fabric paint, so white and light colors can cover a dark or colored background.
Message: Hi - I wrote to you last week about my son's red jumpsuit that I'm trying to change to olive/army green. [See last week's entry, " Will color remover enable a red costume to be dyed green?".] With color remover, then bleach I was able to get the red to a brighter orange. The RIT green dye only took to the white elastic inside. Is there such a thing as an un-dyeable item? :) If you have any thoughts and can spare the time I appreciate it. I think I may have to give up on this idea.
If the Rit dye didn't take at all, not even just to make it a duller color, then chances are that the fiber content is not cotton as you had hoped. It's probably polyester. Even a cotton/poly blend should have taken some of the Rit dye.
For real clothing I don't much like Rit dye, since it fades so quickly and bleeds so badly in the laundry (I hate anything that ruins other clothing), but for a costume it ought to be just fine. It does work on cotton, assuming that the cotton has not been treated with a surface finish that makes it repel water or stains. It works best in boiling water, but ought to provide at least some color even if applied in merely hot water. (You did use very hot water, didn't you?) When Rit dye absolutely fails, as in your case, I think that the fiber content must not be cotton. Sometimes a fiber content label is wrong, though this is pretty rare.
Since the color remover and bleach did alter the color, I'm going to guess that the problem is not a stain-resistant finish. I'm pretty sure that what you have there is a polyester jumpsuit. Polyester can be dyed only with a special type of dye called disperse dye. There are other possibilities, though. A Nomex jumpsuit of the sort used by firefighters is not going to be dyeable at all, no matter what dye you use. The Tyvek sort of jumpsuit, worn in clean rooms to avoid contamination from regular clothing, is absolutely undyeable. Neither Nomex nor Tyvek will feel like cotton, though; since you thought the jumpsuit was made of cotton, polyester is more likely.
Fabric paint is often suitable for costumes. It's easier to use than polyester dye, since it doesn't require heat: you just paint it on. Not all fabric paints will work on polyester, but all of the fabric paints made by Jacquard Products will do fine, including Dye-Na-Flow and Jacquard Textile Colors. It probably won't work well on Nomex or Kevlar, but any kind of paint ought to work on Tyvek, if it's anything like the Tyvek envelopes we use, which are very easy to write on with a Sharpie pen.
Given this information, what fiber do you think the jumpsuit is made of? Do you want to try fabric paint? I can tell you how to dye polyester, but, unless you have an extremely good crafts store nearby, you'd have to mail-order the disperse dye. You can mail-order iDye Poly from Dharma Trading Company via next day delivery, so time is not the issue, but the process of applying disperse dye to polyester can be a bit of a pain. You really have to boil the jumpsuit in the dye, and the chemicals included, which are important in dyeing polyester, have a strong smell and require a great deal of ventilation.
My best guess is that this is polyester. It was bought by my Dad over 30 years ago so my brother would have a jumpsuit to work on cars with. The tag says it's Topp Master, permanent press made in Rochester, Indiana. It feels like cotton.
I wonder if the permanent press finish is causing your problems, similae to the problems posed by a stain-resistant finish. Wrinkle-free finishes are a sort of a coating on the fiber, often containing formaldehyde and other ingredients, which can prevent dyes from reaching the fiber in the fabric. This could cause any fiber to fail to dye properly. If that's the problem, then we have no ideas what your fiber is. At this point, I think your best bet is to try a fabric paint whose manufacturers say that it works on both natural and synthetic fibers.
I have two little ones at home so I would prefer a lower fume method if you could advise me. I've heard horror stories about fabric paint, so I was hesitant to even consider those, but I will try it if it's less to expose the little ones to - we're in a small townhome with not great ventilation.
Thank you for the help, I really do appreciate it.
I would not use fabric paint to recolor a nice dress a solid color, but it ought to be good enough for a pilot's costume. Some fabric paints are rough and scratchy, but the better ones only make a small change in the feel of the fabric. They're not great for getting a perfectly smooth solid color, as some areas will always end up a bit darker than others.
The most economical fabric paints for doing a large garment would be the Dharma Pigment Dyes, sold by mail-order by Dharma Trading Company. They can be diluted with a large volume of water, so they are more cost-effective than other fabric paints. They are transparent, so will have the same problems in covering up the bright orange that true dyes would have. The best fabric paints for really covering the current color and getting a completely different color would be any fabric paint that is specifically labeled as opaque, such as Jacquard's line of Neopaque fabric paints. Some of the better crafts and hobby stores carry these, or you may have to mail-order them. Dharma Trading Company is a good source for mail-ordering any fabric paint.
A bright orange is not going to be so easy to overdye (or color with transparent fabric paint) to make it olive green. If the orange is intense in color, adding green to it is only going to produce brown or even black, depending on how much green you use. I'm sorry to hear that the color did not lighten to a paler orange, which would be a lot easier to turn into olive. Opaque fabric paints may be necessary in order to obtain the color you want.
Dyeing polyester with disperse dye is something I've decided is better done outside, on a burner such as those used for crab boils or turkey frying. It would give the best results, but I am irrational afraid of using a possibly unstable set-up with small children around. There have been too many tragedies involving deep-fat turkey fryers, which are sometimes amazingly unstable and easy to knock over.
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I went on the Dharma site and I think I might be able to do the poly dye. It mentions using two packages for poly - I know one would be the ipoly green - what would the other packet be of?
http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/5590684-AA.shtml - bottom of the page
Don't be misled by their instructions for cotton. You CANNOT use iDye Poly on polyester in the washing machine. You have to have the water boiling for at least fifteen minutes, preferably one hour for a dark color, and you have to see bubbles. Merely hot water absolutely does not work to dye polyester with iDye Poly. The pot you do it in has to be big enough for the boiling dye to completely cover all of your fabric.
Look at the sixth and seventh stripes from the top in my multi-fiber test strips with blue iDye Poly on this page here:
You can see that I only obtained a medium darkness when I left out the smelly color intensifier, and I got no color at all at less than a simmer (with bubbles visible at the sides of the pot of dye).
The thing about two packets is for dyeing a cotton/poly blend. You can mix the iDye for cotton and the iDye Poly for polyester in the same dyebath, when dyeing a cotton/poly blend. Not relevant to your situation this time.
Since your starting color is a bright orange, green dye would turn it brown, at best, not olive green.
I just received your other email - so I'm back to the paint. Can I combine two of the paints to make olive green?
If you use a transparent fabric paint, such as Jacquard Products' Dye-Na-Flow Silk Paint (which, the manufacturer says, does work on polyester), you'd want to use the brightest green you could get. If you'd been able to lighten the coverall to a paler red or orange, overdyeing that with a bright green would make olive. Unfortunately, that's not possible, since, after all the color removal you've done, you were able to obtain only a bright orange. Bright orange is hard to cover up. If you overdye it with a bright green, you will get a warm brown. If you overdye it with more green, you will get black. If you overdye it with black, you will get black. Well, of course we are no longer talking about overdyeing with a true dye, but the color effects of painting a transparent fabric paint are the same as for dye. Most fabric paints are transparent. The same is true of Dharma Pigment dyes, since they are transparent fabric paints. Transparent fabric paints are easier to use than opaque ones, since you don't have to apply as thick a layer to get good coverage, but the color options for coloring over bright colors are limited.
If you use an opaque fabric paint, such as Jacquard Products' Neopaque, you would want to mix the exact color you want to end up with. You'd start with the bright green, of course, and then either tone it down with black, or by adding small amounts of orange, until you get the desired army green.
With the Dharma Pigment Dyes fabric paint, you can dilute them considerably, and dip your garment into it. The color obtained will not be a perfect solid color; this is true of all pigment dyes and other fabric paints. The color always ends up darker in the seams and lighter in the middle. Sometimes this "pigment dyed" effect is considered very desirable.
With Neopaque, you can add only up to 25% as much water as you have paint, and the paint will be considerably thicker, just as you'd imagine would be necessary for an opaque fabric paint. You will probably want to dampen the fabric before applying the paint, for a wet-into-wet effect without hard edges. If you lay the jumpsuit down flat to paint it, you will have to flip it over to paint the other side. Keep in mind that fabric paint will stain almost anything very badly, if it touches it when it is wet, and it cannot be removed, especially after it dries. You might try hanging the jumpsuit up outside and painting it there, so that you can reach both sides and so that the inevitable drips and spatters will not ruin your household decor.
You will be able to feel the Neopaque fabric paint on the fabric after it dries, though it will be considerably softer than if you'd used house paint or artists' acrylics. The results may not be as nice as you'd want for a regular garment, but it should suffice to give the effect you want for a costume. It will certainly be much nicer than most of the vast number of cheaply made commercially-available pre-made Halloween costumes on the market.
Thank you. Any suggestions for removing any more color before I try to dye again?
Don't try bleach again. It tends to cause permanent damage to polyester, in the form of a dingy yellow color that cannot be removed. Not that the addition of a little dull yellow should be much of a problem, considering your color goals. Did you use hot water with the Rit Color Remover? Using hotter water is more effective than doing the same treatment in cooler water. However, it might not work any better than what you've tried so far. There are some dyes that simply cannot be lightened, no matter what you do.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Why does fiber reactive dye work the best on cotton? Name: Delia
Country or region: US
Message: WHY does fiber reactive dye work the best on cotton? I know how fiber reactive dye works and how cotton is made and that it is a cellulose material, but WHY does it work best on cotton? That is what I need to find out. THANKS A MILLION!!!!!!!!!!!
When somebody says that fiber reactive dyes work best on cotton, they're comparing cotton to synthetic fibers, or to dyeing a cotton/polyester blend. Polyester does not react with fiber reactive dyes at all, so they just wash out of it. As a result, dyeing a cotton/polyester blend results in much paler, less satisfactory colors than dyeing 100% cotton.
Fiber reactive dyes don't work better on cotton than on certain other fibers. Fiber reactive dyes also work very well on silk. In addition, processed cellulose fibers, in the form of rayon (also known as viscose), dye more brightly than unmercerized cotton, because the cellulose is more readily available to react with the dye. So, you could say that fiber reactive dyes work best on rayon, unless you're concerned about the way rayon wears more quickly in the laundry.
(Mercerized cotton dyes more brilliantly than unmercerized cotton, because the mercerization process removes small imperfections in the surface that scatter light, causing the color of the fiber to appear lighter and less intense. So, mercerized cotton dyes better than regular cotton. You can often buy mercerized cotton clothing for dyeing.)
The reason why fiber reactive dyes such as Procion MX dyes react well with cellulose, under high-pH conditions, as in the presence of sodium carbonate (soda ash), is that the cellulose forms an anion, as the result of depronotation by the high pH. The cellulosate anion can then attack the dye ring at the carbon atom that holds one of the chlorine atoms. The halogen makes the ring susceptible to this attack. As explained by John Shore in the book Cellulosics Dyeing,
"[Reactive dyes] based on nitrogen-containing heterocyclic rings bearing halogeno substituents undergo nucleophilic substitution. The heteroatoms in the aryl ring activate the system for nucleophilic attack because of their electronegativity. The attacking neutrophile can be either a cellulosate anion or a hydroxide ion, the former leading to fixation on the fibre and the latter resulting in hydrolysis of the reactive dye."
Here is a link to a picture I adapted from one in Shore's book, showing the reaction between a Procion MX type dye and a cellulose molecule (click on this image to see the full-sized picture):
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A synthetic fiber such as polyester cannot form an anion that would attack the reactive part of a fiber reactive dye molecule. The type of dye suitable for dyeing polyester, known as Disperse dye, lacks any reactive site for the cellulose in the cotton to attack.
On the other hand, you might be asking an entirely different question. Instead of why do fiber reactive dyes work the best on COTTON, that is, why is this fiber best for these dyes, you might be asking why FIBER REACTIVE dyes work best on cotton, that is, why this type of dye works better than others, for this fiber. Whether or not they work best depends on your priorities. If you want a dye that will not bleed or wash out, even when washed in boiling water, then fiber reactive dyes are the best, because they form a permanent covalent chemical bond to the fiber. However, if your priority is a dye that will not fade in sunlight, you're often going to be better off with vat dyes, instead of fiber reactive dyes, because vat dyes are the class of dyes that is most resistant to damage from light. The most widely available dye, all-purpose dye, such as Rit brand dye, is inferior to both fiber reactive dyes and vat dyes, since it washes out far more quickly, and does not last longer when exposed to bright light.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Problems with dyesetting certain colors of Tinfix silk dye
Silk Painting: The Artist's Guide to Gutta and Wax Resist Techniques
Includes detailed information about using silk dyes, including Tinfix and Dupont.
Complete Silk Painting Kit
Country or region: United States
Message: I use TinFix dyes for silk painting. I have problems with dyesetting certain colors like Tyrian Rose and Black. I really "overkill" the steaming process with a professional steamer (over 4 hours) and still I have to use dyeset on some pieces. I am baffled. I tried diluting more but can that really be it? I thought if I understoon the chemistry more, I could overcome this problem. Is there a book you can reccomend. (I have many silk painting books but they all generically discuss steaming. I am baffled!!) Thank you for any information you can provide.
In general, it's true that if you use far too much dye, not all of it can bond to your fibers, because there will not be enough sites available to hold it, especially if the silk you are painting is very thin. Try diluting as much as you can, on a test scrap, to see if you can still obtain the color you need. Obviously this will be no solution if you have to dilute so much that your colors are too pale, especially for black. Tinfix dyes are supposed to be diluted with Tinfix Design Dye Thinner, but dilution is not supposed to be necessary except for making paler colors. Susan Moyer says that Super Tinfix dyes can be diluted two- or three-fold without loss of color intensity.
Are you using vinegar in your water for steaming Tinfix dyes? Dharma Trading Company says to use a mixture of one part white vinegar to three parts of water, in the bottom of your steamer. Acetic acid, which is the acid found in vinegar, is volatile, so it evaporates quickly into steam. Although citric acid is an excellent vinegar substitute for immersion dyeing, it's no use for mixing with the water used for steaming, because it is not volatile.
Unfortunately, a full understanding of the chemistry of TinFix dyes is impossible, because it is impossible to find out what dyes, or even what types of dyes, are included in the formulas. The same is true of all of the different brands of dye referred to as the French silk dyes, including not only Sennelier TinFix but also Dupont, Pebeo Soie, and Kniazeff. Many of the dyes are likely to be Basic dyes, a class of dyes which produces brilliant colors on silk, but with notably poor lightfastness. Others are Acid dyes, which should produce better performance. A few are even Fiber Reactive dyes, and at least one among the Dupont dyes is a Metal Complex acid dye. See my post in the Dye Forum, "What's in the French silk dyes?".
Being unable to determine the dyes used can sometimes cause another sort of difficulties. For example, see this question in my Hand Dyeing Q&A blog from August 30, 2007: "Did Sennelier TinFix silk dyes cause my wife's hyperthyroidism?" Although the warning label advised consulting a poison control center, both the poison control center consulted and an endocrinologist were unable to provide any information, because the dye manufacturer refused to release information about the identity of the dyes. Another question, from the October 2, 2007 entry in my Hand Dyeing Q&A blog, asked, "Sennelier TinFix dyes are irritating my throat and affecting my voice. Are they toxic?".
In contrast, if you use known dyes for silk painting, you can find more information about each one, and possibly find or mix better alternatives if one or two colors are unsatisfactory. Besides the French silk dyes, you can also consider painting silk with fiber reactive dyes, such as the Remazol dyes (which ProChem sells as their Liquid Reactive Dyes, and Jacquard Products retailers sell in three different lines of dye, the Vinyl Sulphon dyes, the Jacquard Red Label Silk Colors, and the Jacquard Green Label Silk Colors), or Procion H dyes (which G&S Dye in Canada sells in many different colors, premixed with auxiliary chemicals). You will still need to steam these dyes to set them, but the steaming process requires less time, and the results are frequently a great deal more resistant to fading from washing, and in some cases more resistant to light fading. (As a rule, fiber reactive dyes are much more resistant to light fading than basic dyes are, though there are other, less suitable, dyes that are more light resistant still.) You can also paint silk very effectively with acid dyes, but it's more trouble to prepare them for use, since they are purchased in powder form and must be dissolved and mixed to make the colors you need.
It is sometimes possible to overdo steaming time, though I've actually heard of this happening only with dyes that require significantly less steaming time; for a dye that (unlike the dyes you're using) requires only half an hour of steaming, several hours of steaming can "blow out" some colors. The Sennelier company recommends steaming times of from one and a half to three hours, depending on the size of the bundle of silk you're steaming. Do you think it's at all possible that your steaming time might actually have been excessive for the thickness of your batch of silk? Or (more likely), did you already try shorter steaming times, with this same result?
Finally, are there any alternatives to the specific colors that are causing you problems? In the Tinfix color chart at Dharma, Tyrian Rose looks close to fuchsia in color. Does Bengale Red, which Dharma designates as a primary color for mixing, give you the same problems? Perhaps you could mix a tiny drop of purple or blue with Bengale Red to make a close approximation of Tyrian Red. For your black, if you are not mixing your colors together, you might try using a different brand of dye. You can mix Dupont silk dyes with Tinfix silk dyes if you are not going to be using the chemical fixative, but don't mix either with yet another brand of silk dye. I believe that Dupont silk dyes cannot be set with the chemical fixative, only with steam, but if steaming works well enough, you won't be needing to follow up with the dyeset chemical you've been using. Please do a test before trying these substitutions on any large or important project.
Monday, October 11, 2010
How should I mix Sabracron F dyes for painting, not dyeing?
—ADVERTISEMENTS—Ann Johnston's book
Color by Design
Includes instructions for dye painting, printing, and stamping. The recipes are designed for Procion MX dyes but work equally well with Sabracron F dyes
Country or region: USA
Message: Hi Paula,
I would like to silk paint and I have Sabracron F dyes. How should I mix them for painting, not dying. All the instructions I seem to find are for dying. Thanks for taking the time to help me in addition to building this excellent resource website.
You can use Sabracron F dyes exactly like Procion MX dyes, which widens your sources of good recipes. The only real differences are that the Sabracron F dyes will stay good longer after being dissolved in water, and they like a little more warmth when reacting. Sabracron F dyes are fiber reactive dyes that contain one fluorine atom in their reactive section, as compared to Procion MX dyes which contain two chlorine atoms. It used to be that they were manufactured by Ciba, and so their 'real' name was Cibacron F, but Ciba has since sold their dyes to Huntsman Textile Effects, which renamed them the Novacron F dyes. Sabracron F is just the brand name that PRO Chemical & Dye repackages them under, so it stays the same regardless of changes in the manufacturer.
For dye painting, you will mix your dye powders with water and some other chemicals. The amount of dye powder you use will depend on how dark you want your colors to be; they should look darker on the fabric, when the dye is wet, than you want the final color to be. You can mix anywhere from as little as half a teaspoon of dye powder per cup of liquid for a pale color, or as much as eight teaspoons of dye powder in order to get a deep dark black. For a medium color, use two teaspoons of dye powder per cup of dye paint. You can use the dyes in the colors in which you buy them, or mix intermediate colors by using more than one color of dye powder, or mix all of your colors, just as purchased, and later mix colors by combining your prepared dye paints.
The water you use to mix your dye paints should not be hard water; if your water is hard, either add the water softener sodium hexametaphosphate, or use distilled water. (See my page, "Dyeing with hard water".) It is convenient to start by making up a batch of what we call "chemical water", enough for all of your different dye colors. Chemical water will stay good for several weeks after you make it, especially if you refrigerate it; discard it if it begins to smell like ammonia. To make chemical water, dissolve nine tablespoons of urea in one quart (or one liter) of water; add one teaspoon of Metaphos or another brand of sodium hexametaphosphate, and, if you will be using any heat (steam or microwaving) to set your dye later on, also add one teaspoon of Ludigol, which ProChem sells as Chem Flakes. (Ludigol helps to prevent heat from damaging the dyes by reducing them.)
Meanwhile, if you will be thickening your dyes for painting, mix up some print paste, preferably starting several hours or the day before you want to begin painting, to allow the lumps in the alginate to disperse. You can make this yourself by dissolving the appropriate grade of the thickener sodium alginate in water, along with sodium hexametaphosphate, or you can buy ProChem's Print Paste Mix (SH for cotton and thick silks, F for fine silks) and use that. If you are going to use a watercolor effect in which the dyes are thin, rather than thickened, you can skip the print paste and just use the chemical water to mix your dye. Print Paste can be used at various thicknesses to give you different textures of paint, from slightly thickened to as thick as artists' oil paints. Thickened dye will spread less on the fabric. You can find ProChem's step-by-step ibstructions for mixing your dye powder with the chemical water and print paste on their page, "Direct Application using Sabracron F Reactive Dyes" [it's a PDF]. For more information on how to dissolve sodium alginate, see my page, "Sodium alginate, Superclear, and other dye thickeners".
In order for the Sabracron F dyes to form a strong chemical bond with your fabric, you must add a pH-altering chemical, either soda ash or washing soda, in order to get it to react with cotton or other cellulose fibers, as well as with silk, or an acid, which works only for silk. If you are going to be heat-setting your dyes (which is not required), such as by steaming, then you can substitute baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) for the soda ash (sodium carbonate), because bicarbonate turns to carbonate when heated to high temperatures. For silk, you can use the same recipes as for cotton, or you can use the acid ammonium sulfate, instead of soda ash. Silk is a unique fiber that can be dyed with either soda ash or acid. You may prefer the ammonium sulfate for retaining the maximum amount of sheen on your silk, because acids are kinder to silk. Silk does very well with soda ash, unlike other protein fibers, such as wool, but soda ash tends to soften silk, and soda ash should not be left in silk for an extended period of time, longer than a day or so.
You have more than one choice for how to include your pH-altering chemical with your dye. One popular method, similar to that used by tie-dyers, is to presoak your fabric in soda ash that has been dissolved in water. You can work with fabric that is still wet with the soda ash, or, when you use cotton, you can line-dry the soda-soaked fabric and then paint your dye paint onto it. This has the advantage that your dye mixtures will last for at least a week or two after you dissolved them in water, but only as long as no soda ash gets into them. Since your paintbrush or other tool will carry soda ash from the fabric you're painting back to your dye pot, be sure to pour out only enough of your dye to use within an hour or so, and replenish as necessary.
Another way to get the soda ash, dye paint, and fabric together at once is to add the soda ash (or, if you will be steaming, either baking soda or a mixture of baking soda and soda ash) directly to your dye paint. Don't add it to more than the amount of dye paint you will be using in an hour or so, as the dye will react with water, in the presence of soda ash, even when it is not touching the fabric, so dye paint will go bad an hour or so after you mix it with the soda ash. Ammonium sulfate, when used for silk instead of soda ash, is generally used by adding it to the dye paint directly. The dye paint will last for four days after the ammonium sulfate is added.
After you have done painting your fabric, leave it to react overnight in a warm place, 70°F or warmer. The dye must be kept moist throughout this curing period, either by including urea in your chemical water when you make your dyes (urea is a humectant, so it stays moist), or by covering the freshly painted fabric with plastic wrap. Using urea is easier, but you may need the plastic wrap, as well, if your climate is very dry. ProChem recommends allowing 48 hours for your dyes to cure before washing them out. This added time is included to be sure that 100% of the dye molecules have completed their reaction, either with the fabric or with the water, so that no active dye molecules remain to cause backstaining.
For the washing out, it's best to start by washing in cool or lukewarm water, to remove chemicals and soem of the excess unattached dye. After an initial rinse, change to using the hottest water available. The chemical bond formed between a fiber reactive dye and the fabric is so strong that it cannot be removed even by boiling water. Washing with hot water, 140°F or hotter, is often required to remove any backstaining from one part of the fabric to another that may occur after the dye reactions are complete.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Where to get dye for teddies in South Africa
Dyeing with Slipstream Dyes in South AfricaMelanie Brummer's
Contemporary Dyecraft: Over 50 Tie-dye Projects for Scarves, Dresses, T-shirts and More
Clear, well-photographed instructions for
tie-dyeing in buckets
Country or region: South Africa
Message: Hi there, great site but I'm so confused. I've been making teddies for a year and want to start dying the fabric, either mohair or synthetic fun fur as we call it. There are so many ladies using different dyes that I can't get in South Africa. Here I can only get Dylon now. I'm at my wits' end. This is really making me so disheartened as to give up the whole exercise. I will be gratefull for your input. All info I have is from Teddy Talk.
What kind of Dylon dyes can you get, in your area? The Dylon dye company makes and sells several different types of dye.
The Dylon "Multi Purpose" dye is an all-purpose dye, similar to an American brand, Rit All Purpose Dye, which contains both acid dyes (for wool, nylon, silk, and mohair) and direct dyes (for cotton and silk). If you can find this type of dye, you can use it to dye mohair. See "All Purpose Dyes".
The Dylon "Fabric Dye for Machine Use", "Fabric Dye for Hand Use", and "Wash & Dye" dyes all contain fiber reactive dyes, mostly of the Drimarene K type, along with soda ash or another high-pH chemical; the high-pH chemicals make them suitable for cotton, but not for protein fibers such as mohair. Don't try to use any of these dyes on mohair. None of the Dylon dyes are suitable for use on synthetic fibers, either, other than nylon or viscose rayon.
Happily, I've just received information from a South African dye supplier, Melanie Brummer of Slipstream Fabric Finishes, who sells Remazol-type fiber reactive dyes under the Slipstream brand name. She is located in Johannesburg, and you can reach her by calling 0835689150 or sending e-mail to info [at] dyeandprints.co.za. You can mail-order from her company, or ask for the name of a local stockist who sells the Slipstream dyes. Since these dyes do not contain soda ash, they can be used for dyeing any natural fiber, not only the cellulose-based fibers such as cotton, but also the protein-based fibers such as wool and mohair. To use Remazol dyes with wool or mohair, you will need to substitute an acid, such as vinegar, for the soda ash that is used with cellulose fibers, and you will need to heat your fleece with the dye, in a non-aluminum pot on the stove. There is more information available on my site about this type of dye on my page, "Vinyl Sulfone Fiber Reactive Dyes". In particular, you will want to follow the link to instructions for "Solid Shade/Immersion on Wool", which explain how to use Remazol-type dyes on wool. (Once you get to that point, I'll be happy to supply further advice.)
Mohair can also be dyed with many natural dyes, but you'll find them to be more of a challenge to use for a novice. You may also be able to dye mohair with food colorings; see "Using Food Coloring as a Textile Dye for Protein Fibers". Food coloring is not always the most satisfactory of textile dyes, but it's very easy to find and use, and produces surprisingly bright colors. It works only on protein fibers, such as wool, not on plant fibers such as cotton, and not on synthetic fibers such as polyester or acrylic.
Synthetic fun fur will be much more of a problem to find dyes for. Since mohair is a natural fiber, it can be dyed with any sort of acid dye or all-purpose dye, and also with fiber reactive dyes that do not contain soda ash. However, synthetic fibers are very different. If you can find fun fur that is made of nylon, that will be okay, because, surprisingly, although it is a synthetic fiber, nylon can be dyed with acid dyes, like wool. If your fun fur is made of polyester or acetate, however, it's going to be extremely difficult to buy suitable dye for it. Both polyester and acetate should be dyed only with disperse dyes. (See "Dyeing Polyester with Disperse Dyes".) Acrylic can be dyed with disperse dyes, too, or with yet another class of dye called basic dye. Since I do not know of any African retail source for disperse dye, I will advise you for now to avoid trying to dye polyester, acetate, or acrylic. It is possible for you to mail-order disperse dyes from an American company such as PRO Chemical & Dye, but the shipping charges, and possibly also South African custom fees for importing, might be higher than you want to pay.
Always check to determine the exact fiber content of any synthetic fun fur that you are considering buying. Buy only fleece that is made of nylon (such as Antron fleece), or from natural fibers such as mohair, wool, silk, viscose rayon, or cotton. This will make it much easier for you to dye your own teddy bear fur.
Monday, October 04, 2010
Will color remover enable a red costume to be dyed green?
Country or region: USA
Message: I went through your list and before I sink money into color remover I just wanted to ask you if you think this would be possible. Red cotton jumpsuit to be turned into army green in color. My tween wants to be a Top Gun Pilot for Halloween and honestly trying to find a costume to fit his "growing one way and not the other" stage is more than I can handle this year. Thanks for any help.
It's never possible to predict with 100% certainty whether a particular garment will allow its color to be removed, since we can't find out what dye was used by the manufacturer. Color removers often work, but not always.
I think it's worth a try. Even if you lighten the color only halfway, that should be enough to be able to dye it a dull olive green. Combining the original red color with a bright green dye will produce a brownish color, but a lighter red plus bright green dye will make olive green.
Note that color removers, such as Rit Color Remover, are easier to use in the washing machine, with hot water, but hotter water works better still. It works best if you heat the garment with the color remover in a large cooking pot on top of the stove. For a compromise, you can heat water to boiling and pour it into your washing machine, to get the water hotter than your water heater can supply to the washer.
Chlorine bleach sometimes works when color remover doesn't, and does not require hot water, but it's important to wash any garment thoroughly in between these two treatments. Don't mix color remover with bleach.
If the Color Remover and bleach (used separately) both completely fail to remove the red color, then what you should do is dye the jumpsuit black. You can overdye any color to black, if the material is dyeable. A black jumpsuit might work for the pilot costume; if not, there are a lot of other costume ideas that work with a black jumpsuit.
A word of warning: color remover may remove the color from the polyester thread at the seams, that the jumpsuit is sewn together with, but dye itself will not change the color of the thread. Polyester thread does not accept the color of any dye that will work on cotton, so the thread stays the original color. Whether this is a problem or not depends on the style of the garment you're dyeing.