Monday, October 15, 2012

Dye, dye again

Here's the reprise of the concept that went awry in my previous dyeing project.  I'm pleased with this result, and I think changing some of the elements improved my original idea as well.  I certainly came closer to achieving the color scheme I envisioned.

To begin, I stenciled on the same flower I used in the previous try, this time using Jacquard Clear Water Based Resist, first time I had tried it.  A strangely oily and much more liquid product than Presist.  The bottle says that it is tintable with dye so I added a bit of the russet color I had made for an accent.  However, I decided that wasn't the effect I wanted, so I washed it out, leaving behind faint images.  Then I stenciled a different flower design with the resist, this time adding no color. You can just see their embossed-looking shapes in this photo.  Next I silk screened on the same green shapes, cut out of freezer paper, as before,  adding more blue to the green, mixed with print paste.

After that I tried another silk screen technique, using drawing fluid to trace a fairly simple design from Dover's Chinese Stencil Designs.  I simply printed out the design to the size I wanted, taped it to the screen and traced the design with a very fine brush.  Since it was the first time I had tried it, I had no idea of how thickly the drawing fluid needed to be applied to work its magic.  After the drawing fluid dried, I put a few spoonfuls of screen filler on my silk screen and pulled it across with the squeegee.  Once that dried, the drawing fluid is supposed to be washed out with cold water.  Yes, it worked; there was the design, ready to print! 

The final step was the violet background.  Since so much blue had washed out previously, I made my violet much more blue than I wanted and lighter than last try.   I applied it, mixed with print paste, with a small sponge roller.  The next day I thought it was just too blue and used an inexpensive hobby air brush to spray on more violet dye that was a bit less blue, although I really couldn't see much effect from that.  At this point the fabric was fairly wet, and I thought it possible that the resist-stenciled flowers had simply dissolved, as there was barely any visible trace of them.

After each step I let the dye cure overnight.  Finally I was ready to wash my fabric...   The resist-stenciled flowers slowly appeared, white against the violet background.  They did resist the violet, but did not entirely resist wherever the green shapes or the russet design was printed on top of them.  The faint russet-tinged images of the flowers I had originally stenciled and washed out are still there, adding a bit more complexity, which I like. The background lost a lot of blue as it had on my first time, so it came out about the color I wanted, if a bit lighter than I would have liked.  All in all, it was worth trying this again.  I can't wait to try other techniques, other colors.  This is so much fun!


  1. Love this fabric, you're very clever. It looks fun too.

    1. Thanks so much. I'm learning a lot, but have a lot to learn. It's becoming rather consuming, so many ideas I want to try.