Monday, July 2, 2012

Dye Job!

Yesterday, after the gardening chores were complete and I backed out of painting our little barn, I decided to have some fun playing with some dyeing. I had read a couple of techniques recently on Pinterest and wanted to give them a try. Here's my review with a rather unexpected ending.

 The first technique I tried required Sharpie permanent markers, rubbing alcohol, and an eye dropper. The technique came from The Art Girl Jackie on Pinterest.  It seemed easy enough, avoided a lot of mess by using the markers, and gave a permanent finish without any further treatment. 

I used silk dupioni  that had been washed. It was then soaked in a half water half vinegar solution for half an hour as a mordant process. Then the piece was ironed dry. Keep in mind that this was just a fun play project for me and if it worked, well, I was on to something new for the toolbox. 

First you draw some vague designs with your Sharpies. Only prob here was that all I had were fine points. This would have been much more effective with regular Sharpies. Then drops of good ole rubbing alcohol are dropped on the marker scribblings to do their thing. The ink will disperse and blend. It continues from what you see above but again would have been better with the heavier tipped markers. Opinion: metza metza, and bette with the right Sharpie. Not a total waste of time however. I have found when I do these tiny dye jobs that further embellishment can totally change their look so this is no loss here. 


The next technique came from Pea Soup of the Day.  She wanted to do some dyeing with her kids that wouldn't be toxic and this really appealed to me. Seemed simple enough. I pulled out my Wilton paste dyes for this and used her wool dyeing technique on more strips of dupioni. These strips will eventually be smocked and I like the edges to have more definition.

 I followed her directions more or less. I dipped a damp Q tip into the paste and rolled it and dibbed and dabbed it around the damp strips. I liked the effect. Now it was time for the microwave. I layed my strips on some paper towels which was on top of a dinner plate. I didn't want the dinner plate to get all yucky so I wrapped it in plastic wrap. DON'T DO THIS! I have dyed with food coloring many times before and found it to be quite safe and fun. The issue became the plastic wrap. She has you put the textile into the microwave for five minutes and check now and then that it continues to be damp. Towards the end of the five minutes I could smell a slight plastic-y smell but barely. I took the strips out of the micro, sprayed them with water to remoisten and nuked them FIVE MINUTES MORE! Does seem like a too long time, doesn't it? At about 3 minutes into the second nuking the plastic smell became very strong and I figured I needed to remist the the strips. I opened the micro door and in a flash I went down for the count. With the help of some cabinet knobs I pulled myself up and got to the front door where I called my husband. My legs could barely hold me up and I felt horrendous. He came over, smelled the smell, and helped me to fresh air. We nearly called 911 but with fresh air I was slowly coming around. After about twenty minutes I was back to myself with a huge lesson learned, HUGE. Don't nuke anything with saran wrap for ten minutes unless you want ot visit your good friends at the local ER. The plastic wrap was melted INTO the dish which we threw out, of course. DH aired out the house with fans and all doors and windows open and life got back to normal pretty fast.

Here are my results. Not sure it was worth losing my health over!

I changed course and decided to smock some silk velvet. This was a play date with myself and other than the plastic wrap incident something I found highly enjoyable. I've always loved dyeing things and like the intensity of playing with small efforts. It will be interesting to see how these get worked up into something. Hope your efforts aren't quite as exciting as mine....Bunny

14 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness Bunny - what a terrible shock for you and your husband, mind you it is the sort of thing I would do lol. Still glad to hear you are ok now.

    Interesting experiments, and thanks for the warning.............

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  2. Wow, good tip from a painful lesson! Thank goodness you weren't home alone. I'm impressed how you manage to keep life interesting. ;)

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    1. There's never a dull moment up here in these woods, Shams!

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  3. Geez, Bunny! I'm so glad you are ok, and so glad your hubby was home with you! Good grief, who knew crafting could be dangerous to your health?! Thanks for test-driving these methods though, one of these days I will try a dye job myself!

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  4. Good you were not alone and fresh air was all that was needed. Could have been worse.
    So glad you're ok.

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  5. I can think of two things that went wrong: your fabric wasn't damp enough and/or the brand of plastic wrap. Cheaper is actually better! I've never had a problem with the stuff in the giant industrial-sized roll. (I use it both in the craft microwave and in a steamer to set dyes but note I watch carefully for "issues".) Also your dyes were likely set just fine after the first 5 minutes! So sorry you had a problem with this technique. Glad you're ok! I'm a little concerned about using your microwave for food after that though. There's a reason we have a spare one in our house for possibly-toxic craft use.

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    1. It got a thorough abrasive scrub down. We use plastic wrap in the micro all the time. This just went too far this time. Thanks for your concern, Louisa, and your suggestions. After things were OK I thought of those plastic baby bottles that aren't safe to nuke the baby formula in. Wonder if the wrap is the same sort of plastic.

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  6. Thanks for posting this - both the warning about the wrap and the lovely techniques. Thank God you are okay. I love the idea of the sharpie dying.

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  7. OMG Bunny! Another mishap. I tell you, ever since you posted your face hitting the dresser, I've been aware of things around me when I bend down. I don't think I'll ever forget to look. And I bet you won't either! But this plastic thin--good grief! So glad you're ok.

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    1. Since that concussion, Gwen, I have a little portable nightlight I take with me every time I get up in the night. It is right next to me on the table and I pick it up the minute I get out of bed. Won't forget that crazy accident for a while!

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  8. You deserve a Medal of Honor for Brave Crafter!

    Have a wonderful holiday!

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  9. Wow Bunny. I'm so glad you're OK. The fabric strips look interesting, but as you say, not worth losing your health for.

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  10. Dear Bunny, I'm so glad you're okay. You really had a close call there.

    For everyone: Please, please, please be careful with dyes and heating plastics. Read, ask a lot of questions and become aware of the risks before you start. I had a teacher in college who started every class, every term, explaining that she carried an EpiPen with her everywhere and how to use it on her if she colapsed! She had become chemically sensitive, posioning herself using dyes back when she had a small apparel manufacturing business that distinguished itself through her innovative cloth dyeing. Unfortunately, what made her business successful ruined her health and forced her to close the business.

    One day I was discussing the health risks involved in a career in the apparel industry with another of my teachers, a woman who made her living designing fabrics for Pendleton Woollen Mills for more than ten years and since leaving there has made her living dyeing and weaving and teaching these subjects. She said her biggest concern was that people don't realize how dangerous some natural dyes are and that some man-made dyes were developed specifically to make dyeing less dangerous to people's health. She specifically deplored the dangerous habit of new dyers to use natural dyes (because they think they are less likely to be toxic)in combination with making do with what they have on hand at home in their kitchen, instead of acquiring tools like pots, spoons, measuring cups and spoons (and, yes, microwaves), etc. that are dedicated to dying, because she knows people who have poisoned themselves. Yes, people have died, but most ruined their health.

    I myself am chemically sensitive and I'm pretty sure my allegies stem from the vast amount of fabric handling I've done in my life, between shopping and working in fabric and clothing stores. I can't be in fabric stores with poor ventilation for more than 20 minutes or I get a headache that lasts for a couple days. And I had to stop working in retail because of "Wednesday rash". (We unpacked new shipments of clothes on Tuesday and every Wednesday several people, including me, would get a itchy rash on the inside of their arms. I already have one serious allergy, so I don't want another.) I'm sure it was the chemical pesticides sprayed on the clothes to prevent pests eating and nesting in them that sensitized me. Really, it's appalling what chemicals can be found on our clothing. (Hey, a new blog post topic for me! Oh, goody!) And when you mix them with home dye jobs by inexperienced dyers it's amazing more people don't develope health problems from their crafting experiments.

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