May 18, 2014

Dyeing in the Kitchen

After the last post on dyeing, I thought I would share a list of the items that we have dyed successfully. Generally speaking, nylons and nylon/spandex blends dye very well, but so do some metals and plastics. Test to be sure. I have had some metal sliders and rings that would not dye, and others that dye very well.

When I look at a plastic clip, I look at the "whiteness" of it. If it is stark white, it likely won't dye. But if is more of a warm white, or even off-white compared to something else, it will likely dye well. Again, test to be sure
  • White Power net (both regular power net and satin power net are nylon/spandex)
  • White Raschel (nylon and spandex)
  • White Panty weight, Medium weight and Heavyweight Satin (nylon and spandex)
  • White Cotton jersey (100% organic cotton)
  • White Cotton Spandex (cotton and spandex blend)
  • White15 denier (100% nylon, so it dyes easily and well)
  • White Sheer cup lining (100% nylon, so it dyes easily and well)
  • White laces (we have not tried all of them, but they are mostly nylon or nylon/spandex)
  • White Band elastics such as EB-37, EB-47 and EB-67
  • White strap elastics such as ES-3, ES-4, ES-44 ES-5, ES-54, ES-6 and ES-64
  • White strap tape any size (it is nylon)
  • White channeling UP-2 (it is nylon also)
  • White metal sliders & rings or g-hooks, any size
  • White pre-finished padding (yes, it is nylon too)
  • Dyeable White hooks and eyes
  • Dyeable White plastic sliders and rings

You should always start with white or dyeable materials. If you use a light colour such as ivory, pink or beige (instead of just white) it will dye - but the background colour will affect the final colour. So you may get peach if you try dyeing ivory to pink, for example. or you may get a light greenish colour if you dye ivory to blue.

You cannot dye from a dark coloured background to a light colour. It won't happen. Nor can you dye red to green, or blue to yellow or anything where the starting colour is darker than the desired colour.

Once you get the idea of dyeing, experiment with mixing different colours to obtain special custom colours. Write down the recipe for the colour so you can replicate it again and again. We write the recipes as "parts". So peach might be 1 part orange and 2 parts pink. Whether you are using a small 1/4 teaspoon as your part, or a Tablespoon, as long as you use the same measuring device for all the colours,  the formula will turn out the same.

Here’s what will NOT dye successfully with Acid dyes!
  • Duoplex (it is polyester)
  • Wickables (also polyester)
  • Venice (a polyester/ spandex blend)
  • Poly Satin (also polyester/spandex)
  • Elastics made of rubber or rubber and polyester
Here is some white duoplex after being left in the dye batch for ONE HOUR. No change in colour whatsoever.

A word about polyester dyes - both G&S Dyes and Dharma Trading have a product called I-dye Poly which, it is claimed, will dye polyester and other synthetics. You certainly can try this dye out on fabrics such as Duoplex, which is virtually indestructible! 

However, I caution you on using this polyester dye for elastics or fabrics containing spandex. Why? The package instructs you to keep the dye bath simmering for 1/2 hour to an hour. I find that elastics and elastic fabrics do not like to be kept at a high temperature for very long. they end up waving (like the edge of a lettuce leaf!)

That being said, you may want to experiment with fabrics and dyes and find a combination that works well. After all, if you want gorgeous colour, you need to try whatever it takes!

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