Colour to dye for

Colour to dye for

When getting my materials together I was often frustrated that I could not get the colours I wanted. This was especially true of silk materials and you had to buy a large quantity to get only a small amount which could be expensive. It was not until my past time of trawling through Youtube videos that a came across the “colour your life, Rae Wollnough” episode. What a revelation. With a very simple process, I could dye not only silks but fibres too.

So I set about getting the materials I needed. Firstly the dyes themselves. I use EasiFix all-in-one protein dye. These dyes work on natural materials like silk and wool etc (I get these from Etsy). These dyes are fixed by heat so no need for a fixing agent. I use a mixture of silk but here I have used a ponge which has a lovely lustre.

Ponge 5 silk

The process is so simple. Cover your table in cling film and wet it with a spray bottle. Place your silk on top, here I have flattened the material out but you can get some nice effects if it’s scrunched too. Your silk must be wet as the colour spreads better and it will burn when heated if it is dry.

Next the fun bit. I use pipettes, brushes or simply pour the dye onto the silk.

Silk wrapped

Once I am happy with the dyeing I wrap the cling around the piece gently patting out as much air as possible. Once wrapped I pop it in the microwave. Only a couple of minutes does a small piece like this. Be mindful to follow the safety instructions of the dyes and only use equipment that is specific for dyeing and nothing you will use domestically.

Once heated I leave the piece to cool completely and it’s this that sets the dyes as well as the heat. This is the worst part of the whole process as I cannot wait to see the outcome. It is not an exact process but the results can be magical.

The piece is rinsed until the water runs clear and it’s done. You can re-dye if you are not happy or think it needs more.

The colour you can achieve are wonderful, the weaker the dye the paler the colour and you can achieve your own colours by mixing also.

Here is a mix of materials I have dyed, silk, silk hankies, throwsters waste. It works equally well on nepps also.
A couple of scarves.

The possibilities are endless and results are well worth the effort as little as it is.

23 thoughts on “Colour to dye for

  1. There’s no better way to start the day than looking at those beautiful colours!
    You’ve explained the process well – your enthusiasm for it is easily understood – and you definitely have ‘an eye’ for combining colours.

  2. The scarves do indeed look lovely, I always think the random “splodge” effect gives a more pleasing effect than if you spend ages with any of the shibori methods. My best effort was the result of using the last piece of silk to wipe up all the spilt dyes!
    Microwave dying of acid dyes is a much quicker way of dying than the long winded boiling up on the stove, unless of course you’ve a very large piece of fabric or fibre to be dyed.
    I hope that you were wearing your ppe facemask when you were mixing up the dyes though because powdered acid dyes are a carcinogen and shouldn’t be breathed in.

    1. Thank you. I do love how colours merge and blend. Originally I dyed silk to use in nuno felting only but at times loved the results I didn’t want to use it.
      I do use my mask. I do hot textiles too so have ppe.

    1. Thank you. It’s so pleasing isn’t it. I love that moment when you rinse it out and all is released.

    1. Sorry. That was predictive text. It was meant to be nepps.
      Do try it. The results you achieve are wonderful.

  3. Silk is a fickle fibre to dye but the results are oh so lovely! Well done 🙂

    And… not sure you really meant to write “nepotism” but now I want to see a nepotist and their family/friends dyed in different colours, haha!

    1. You made me giggle, wouldn’t it be great if we could dye people. That was suppose to be nepps. Predictive text and I have a rocky relationship.

  4. Wow, what a. revelation! I’m going to try this. Do you think you could use this with wool and microwave set it I wonder.

  5. The Rae Woolnough video had me hooked years ago….mentally….or should that now be ‘virtually’.
    Your enthusiasm is infectious….I really must step away from the virtual & make it the practical! Thank you for reminding me how easy this method is.

    Love the bright colours you’ve achieved & your colour combos – stunning. Easy to see why you don’t incorporate all of your silk into nuno felt.

    1. Thank you Antje. It is a fabulous video on many levels. Please give it a go. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

    1. Yes. It is best to use these dyes as directed by the manufacturers guide lines. I realise space can be a issue even though you can pick up basic microwave quite cheaply.
      If however you use a lot of different fibres you can dye them yourself thus getting the colour you want and cheaper. I buy basic white fibres and take it from there. Hope you give it a go.

  6. Your scarves are beautiful and, having just started dyeing silk scarves myself, I know the excitement it can create when you see what you’ve achieved!

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