Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Surface Application of Procion Dye Instructions

Dye Safety Note: Be careful working with dye powders. Work in well-ventilated area and do not inhale powders. While they are not poisonous, they can irritate lungs. Wear a mask or filter and rubber or latex gloves. Once the dye is pasted or dissolved in water, it's safe to remove mask.

Materials Needed:

  • Procion dyes
  • Urea
  • Baking soda
  • Sodium alginate (thickener made from seaweed), for painting or printing

To make spray solution:
Dissolve 10 tablespoons of urea in 4 cups warm water. ["Urea water"]

Put about a cup of urea water into a glass jar or pyrex container.

Make a paste of 1-3 teaspoons of Procion dye powder with warm tap water and add it to the cup of urea water. Do this for each color desired to make 4 cups of 4 different colors.

Just prior to using the dye solution, stir in 1-1/2 teaspoons of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to each cup.

Dyes may be sprayed with spray bottles, brushed on with brushes or fabric/yarns may be dipped into the colors. Be careful not to mix the colors in the jars.

Keep mixture cool for maximum life of dye solution. The dye is activated once you add the soda and the sooner you use it the stronger the colors will be.

For deepest colors use 3 teaspoons of dye powder per cup of urea water. Using more than this will waste dye and cause excessive color bleeding and staining of white areas of the fabric.

To make thickened dye:
Put about 1 cup of urea water into a blender.

Add 1 teaspoon of sodium alginate and mix at high speed.

Pour in another cup of urea water and add 1-2 more teaspoons of sodium alginate and blend at high speed.

Continue until you have added all 4 cups of urea water and 4-8 teaspoons of sodium alginate. (More alginate for thicker paste).

Divide the quart of thickened paste into 4 glass or plastic cup containers. Into each add 1-3 teaspoons of pre-pasted dye powder of chosen colors (pasted with a little warm tap water).

Just prior to using the dye paste, add 1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda to each cup of dye paste. Stir well. Keep paste cool to prolong dye life.

Apply thickened paste with brushes, print blocks, silk screen or squeegee.

To set dyes after either spraying or applying in paste (use any of these following techniques):
  • Steam iron for 5-10 min., rinse, wash, rinse (in cold water until clear)
  • Hang fabric in hot steamy shower, iron, rinse, wash, rinse
  • Steam in shower, toss in hot dryer, rinse, wash, rinse
  • Use de-wrinkler at a laundromat where available, rinse, wash, rinse
  • Take to professional high pressure steamer or autoclave, rinse, wash, rinse
  • Steam in shower, wrap in plain butcher paper (not newspaper) and bake in slow oven (250 degrees) for 30 min, rinse, wash, rinse

The principle is one of moist heat to set dyes.

Do not expose undeveloped dyes to sunlight, do not dry in the sun as until they are set they can easily fade. You do not need to develop dyes immediately after applying color. It is OK to allow the dye paste to dry on the fabric before steaming or otherwise setting dyes. But, stronger colors will result if setting takes place within 1-3 days.

Refrigerate the dye solutions or pastes not used during initial session. You may re-vitalize them the next day with addition of more baking soda, but some color loss will have taken place. It is best to mix the amounts of solution or paste with baking soda that you can use in one day's session. The non-baking soda added solutions or paste will last several days if not contaminated with soda. (The soda starts the dye activation.)


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