Monday, June 6, 2011

Dyeing playsilks - Part 2

Part 1, which describes my experience with dyeing playsilks with icing colors is here.

This time I decided to go for specialized silk dyes in hopes of achieving a more predictable and even result. I wanted a dye that would be easy to use and not involve specialized equipment or harsh chemicals. After reading about all silk dyes I decided to try Jacquard Acid Dyes and ordered these colors (from top clockwise): Cherry Red, Burnt Orange, Sun Yellow, Brilliant Kelly Green, Sky Blue, Silver and Brown.
I added some orange to brown because I wanted a warmer color and it came out shimmery golden, very pretty. Green again disappointed me, I was hoping for a grass green and this is quite bright *sigh*. Cherry red is a bit too cherry, still don't have my bright red. I relied on them calling this color primary in their palette but it was a mistake, may be will order some other red next time. But yellow, grey, blue and orange were perfect. I still had varying degrees of unevenness but much less than with icing colors, may be because of the dye or may be because I prewashed with Synthrapol.

Here is what I did (took me quite a while to convert 1 lb of fabric to two playsilks).
Prewash your silks with Synthrapol. I did not know that the first time but any residue on the silk, like leftover silkworm gum, oil from hands, etc. will cause dye not to absorb evenly. Synthrapol removes all that, as well as leftover loose dye afterwards.
For 2 35" square playsilks I boiled 2 liters of water, added 1 tbsp of vinegar and after that 1.75 of 1/4 tsp dye (this is a bit mind twisting, feel free to add 1/2 tsp but you really need that little dye, very economical). Mix very well, red for some reason was very stubborn and did not want to dissolve nicely. Add wet silk. Keep on low heat, just under boiling point, for 30 minutes stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool down. Wash in Synthrapol, let dry until slightly wet and iron. Do not wait till completely dry or you will not be able to remove small wrinkles.

I also ordered a 12-pack of silk handkerchiefs and dyed them with my bigger silks. They came out very pretty and are a good size to wrap small dolls, use in play scenes, make small animals, etc.

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