Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Introduction to Textiles Colne Library Session 4

In session 4 the group learn to dye fabrics using a microwave.

Using these measures you will make enough solution to dye about 4 pieces of cotton sized A4.

Items needed:
old glass jam jars-at least 4, possibly 8
small plastic bowls
soda ash
bicarbonate of soda
white cotton fabric (washed & dried) or linen or viscose
plastic sheeting
rubber gloves
plastic apron
a range of Procion dyes
paint brushes or foam brushes

Suppliers: I get my chemicals i.e. soda ash & urea from and my Procion dyes from

1. Put 1/2 teaspoon of soda ash and 1teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda into a glass jar and mix with 1/4pint of warm water. Stir until dissolved. This is your soda ash solution.

2. In a second jar mix 3 teaspoons of urea with 1/4pint of warm water.   Stir until dissolved. This is your urea solution.

3. Cut your fabric to size.  Cover your work surface with plastic sheeting-I use a bin bag.  Put on your rubber gloves & plastic apron.

4.Take one piece of fabric and soak it in the soda ash solution.  You may want to transfer you solution to a small bowl for this. Squeeze it to make sure all the fibres have taken the solution.  It doesn't have to be soaking.

5.Mix 1/2 teaspoon of your Procion dye powder (whatever colour you want) in a glass jar with some of the urea solution to an inky consistency.  You can add more urea solution fi you want the colour to be lighter and less if you want it to be more intense. Make as many of these coloured dye solutions up as you require.  You can also mix the dyes as you would paint to make other colours.  refer to a colour wheel for more information about which colours make which, e.g mixing blue and yellow make green.

6. Lay your damp fabric onto the plastic sheeting and using a paint brush or foam brush  add dye solution to the fabric.  Alternatively you can fold the fabric, scrunch it, tie rubber bands around it, wrap it with string and then add the dye to give different effects. Start with your lightest colours first and remember to have a different brush for each of the colours.  If you mix the dyes they will eventually all go a dirty brown colour.

7. Once you have put as much dye on the fabric as you require then put the fabric into a microwaveable dish, wrap the dish in cling film.  Place in the microwave and cook on full power for 2 minutes.  Keep your eye on it.  When its finished allow to cool until you take off the cling film. Rinse the fabric under cold water.  Dry and iron.

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