Friday, 3 July 2015

Fibrecrafts Turquoise Blue Indigo Natural Dye

A new dye derived from fermented natural indigo and alkanet and the only naturally occurring and soluble dyestuff available. The Turquoise Blue Indigo Natural Dye gives a good blue in strong solutions, and at lower concentrations provides a fine teal green colour.
Our photograph of dyed wool yarn illustrates
the variations in colours that can be achieved.

Dyeing wool or silk with the dye colour follows the two normal steps for dyeing with a naturally occurring dyestuff: mordanting and then dyeing. First ensure that the material is properly scoured and then wetted for around 2 hours before mordanting and squeezed to remove the excess liquid.


Use alum mordant at 10% by weight of goods and dissolve it in hot water. Place this solution to one side.

For 100g of dry material use around two litres (i.e. about 20 times the weight of material) of water and add a small quantity of citric or acetic acid (vinegar) to the water to achieve 4pH.

Heat the pan to 60°C and add the alum solution and stir well. Then add the 100g wetted material to the mordant pan and heat to boiling. This should be kept at 100°C for 45 minutes. The heat is then switched off and the material is left in the pan to come down to 60°C before removing.


To develop the colour for 100g material use 10g of Turquoise Blue Indigo dye dissolved in a small amount of hot water. Place this solution to one side.

Use two litres (i.e. about 20 times of dyeing material) of water and add Citric Acid or Vinegar to give the water a pH level of 2.

Heat the liquid to 60°C and add the solution of dissolved Turquoise Blue Indigo dye. Add the 100g of mordanted material (with the alum mordant solution squeezed out) turning the material carefully whilst the pan is taken to boiling. Keep the temperature at 100°C for 45 minutes and then switch off.

Wash the material to remove unfixed dye particles from the material and allowed to dry.

Visit the website to view the Fibrecrafts range of natural dyes

Monday, 29 June 2015

Solar Fast Dyes - Catching some rays

Dyes to Print using the Sun
Need something fun to do in the sun? Make the most of the bright sunshine to create detailed prints without a camera!

Jacquard Solar Fast dyes are used to create photograms, continuous tone photographs, shadow prints, and ombr├Ęs on fabric and paper. They develop their colour and become permanent upon exposure to UV light, most easily sourced from the summer sun.

How do Solar Fast Dyes work?

The dyes are activated when exposed to sunlight, this means that anything that blocks the light from reaching the fabric or paper will cause no colour change in the dye, much like the Cyanotype Blue Printing.

Designs do not have to be complex in order to achieve a brilliant effect. Children will have fun printing anything from keys and leaves, to nuts and bolts. The Solar Fast dyes are available in a wide range of colours, and when painted onto different tones of material can produce interesting results. Please note; anything placed on top of the Solar Fast dye must be as flat and level as possible. If printing in the early hours or in the evening, the sun will create a long shadow from the object and create a distorted, or blurry print.

Printing photographs with Solar Fast

Print photographs from negatives
It is possible to make a print from a photograph using Solar Fast Film. This helpful product is inkjet printable and gives you the option to print photos from a computer. The film is transparent and will allow different levels of light through to the dye beneath, depending on how dark or light the image is. To create a good copy you will need to choose an image with good tonal variety, and for the purist a negative of the image can be produced with photo editing software.

Screen Printing with Solar Fast

Jacquard also offer a Solar Fast Thickener which when mixed with Solar Fast dye increases its viscosity to a point where it can be used with a printing screen. Experienced screen printers will love the different effects they can achieve using this in conjunction with other types of media.

Finishing your Print

Prints are permanent on both paper and fabric but textiles will need to be washed before they are worn or exposed to more sunlight. Use Solar Fast wash to remove the residue of undeveloped dye from prints to prevent the colours from running.  This is especially important for preserving white areas and highlights.

You can learn more about how to use the Jacquard Solar Fast dyes from this PDF created by the manufacturer, and results for light exposure times for each colour can be viewed here.

Please visit the Light Sensitive Printing section of the George Weil website to get started with Solar Fast printing.