Thursday, June 25, 2009

About Black Dyes

True black is the hardest color to get with fiber reactive dyes.

Procion has four black dyes, each with a different color cast. Three of them work well in direct application methods like tie-dye and batik where the temperatures used are cooler but the fabric is kept moist long enough for the dye to develop full depth.

All four can be used for tub-dyeing (for dyeing a solid color shade), with these differences:

#39 Black - Tub dye with a green cast and edges are blue in tie dye.
#44 Better Black - Tub dye with a purple-blue cast and edges are blue in tie-dye.
#250 Jet Black - This is the most concentrated of all the blacks and gives the deepest black when used in tub dyeing (vat, bucket, washing machine, etc.) with hot tap water (130-150 degrees F). It can be olive green or gray when used for direct application methods (tie dye, batik, painting, etc) unless kept very warm; edges are green in tie-dye.
#300 New Black - Tub dye with a very blue cast; edges are blue/pink in tie-dye.

Since black is a tough color to get, you have to use a lot of dye and in tub dyeing, you will need to double the salt. One recipe for "The Blackest Black" for tie dye and batik is a 50-50 combination of #44 and #300.

In tub dyeing, to make the blacks even darker (and the washout less), soak the finished dyed garment in Dharma Dye Fixative or Retayne. [This also works for darker purples, browns, blues etc.]

When the dyebath is complete, drain but don't rinse the fabric. Fill the tub with hot water and the fixative (1 ounce per lb. of fabric; 8 ounces for a full washing machine load). Soak, agitating occasionally, for 30 minutes, then rinse and wash in hot water and Synthrapol, as usual. For best results, wash black items twice.

For re-blacking black clothes and jeans that have faded:
Less dye is required, depending on how badly faded (4- to 8-ounces per machine load, instead of a pound). To make it worthwhile, gather up enough faded black stuff so you can just do a whole washing machine load (about 8 lbs. of fabric) and follow the basic tub dyeing directions.


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