Friday, February 10, 2006

Disperse dyeing!

Micki has asked me what I meant by 'old papers' so I am going to do a quick explanation of the disperse dyeing process. So for all you to whom this is old hat stop reading now or be bored out of your tree.

I buy powder dyes and make these up into a liquid like ink. This liquid dye will last for ever if mixed properly to begin with. Disperse dyes are used to dye man-made fibres and the technique is different to normal dyeing. For a start one paints one's design onto paper. I use copy paper for this and the best paper I find is continuous sheet printing paper. It is just the right thickness. It is no good using thick paper as the heat won't penetrate it. You can paint anything you like, or stamp or write with a pen. Anything that takes your fancy but remember if you are writing that the word/s will appear backwards unless you mirror image them. I find the easiest way to do this is to write on the back of the paper with a pencil or crayon and then turn it over and copy it onto the reverse side using disperse dye. When you have painted the papers then you let them dry. It is important to let them dry thoroughly. When dry you then iron them with a very hot iron, face down onto the fabric you have chosen.This might take a minute or two or five as it requires a lot of heat to set the dye. You can use more than one piece of painted paper on one piece of fabric. Dyeing and over dyeing. You can cut out shapes to use and you can scrumple your fabric and then dye it so that you get different effects. There are no end of things that you can do. And what is brilliant is that the papers can be used over and over again until they are too faint to print. Plus they will last. I was using papers I'd painted three years ago and they were still doing the job! This is what I meant by old papers! I use poly/cotton on the whole as it takes the dye well but any man-made will do. I don't like inserting pictures as they go all over the place so I will post pictures and comments above. Do ask questions as this is only a quick explanation. I love this method of dyeing as it is so quick. If I want a quick motif or pattern this is the way to go!


  1. Thanks, Valeri. I had no idea about disperse dyeing either and find this very interesting.

  2. I also love this method of dyeing Valeri, only problem being that I'm never actually sure what the colours are going to be like until I have ironed them. I get many surprises!