Friday, July 9, 2010

Dyeing Playsilks

Now that you have your acid dyes for your wool blend you can use them to dye other animal fibres like silk! (Acid dyes work on all animal fibers and also nylon).

Dyeing playsilks is quick and easy. I did 6 in under 45 minutes! The silk is so thin that it takes the dye very quickly. If you plan how you add your dyes, you can do many colors by just using two pots.

You can buy white playsilks and acid dyes and Dharma Trading company.



First you need all your materials:
-acid dyes
-synthrapol detergent
-white vinegar
-large and small spoons
-large not-going-to-be-used-for-cooking pots (ceramic or stainless steel)
-playsilks
-large garbage bag
-rubber gloves
It is a good idea to wear rubber gloves throughout, you are working with hot water and some chemicals.

1)Wash all playsilks in synthrapol detergent. This removes dirt, grime, natural oils,....anything that will get in the way of the dye sticking. You can use dish detergent but this has fragrances and other additives that will stick to the silk and prevent the dye for being as even.



2) Rinse out the playsilks.

3) Cut your garbage bag open and tape it to the floor.



4) Fill pots 1/2 full with hot water (this makes them heat up faster instead of starting from cold water).


5) Put pots on the stove and turn the elements to high heat.

6) Add the dye while the pots are heating up. You really don't need very much at all, 1/2 tsp at the most for up to 6 playsilks.


Here is where you need to plan:

You want to use the lighter colors in the pots first so that you can add darker dyes as you go to get the most colors from just two pots. I started with orange in one and turquoise in the other. I added red to change the orange pot to red. I used red and turquoise on some of the playsilks and then added purple to the red dye to get a wine color. Depending on the darkness of the color you may get mixing or you may get the true color of the second dye added. For example, red covered orange entirely but red and purple combined to make wine. Then I added spruce to the turquoise pot to get a dark teal color. I dipped the silks at different times to take advantage of all the colors.

7) Check the temperature with a candy thermometer (purchased at the grocery store). When the pot reaches 120F (just below boiling) you can add 1 cup vinegar per pot. The vinegar fixes the dye (don't forget it!!).



8) It is now time to add the playsilk to the pot.

Take the playsilk and stretch it out so that it is completely unfolded. If you would like a diagonal pattern, put two opposite corners together and then put one corner into the dye. You can also put two opposite corners into the dye at the same time, leaving the middle of the playsilk out. Then you can dye the middle of the playsilk with another color. You can experiment with this! If you would like vertical dyeing (as opposed to diagonal) then fold the playsilk in half by aligning the vertical edges and then dye as above.

Hold the playsilk for at least 2 minutes in the dye. Longer will give darker shades, shorter will give lighter shades.




9) Once you have dyed the playsilks how you want with the first colors, lay them on the garbage bag so that no two colors are touching. If they touch they may run into each other.



10) Add another color to each pot and dye some more playsilks. Keep going until you get through all the colors you planned or run out of playsilks!

11) Throw them all into the washing machine with synthrapol and wash on warm with an extra rinse at the end. The colors will not run in the presence of synthrapol.

12) Dry in the dryer.

13) Admire your hard work!

I made these six as party favors for Cai's 5th birthday party:)




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