The instructions that came with my dye kit were for one pound of fiber or fabric. Since I wanted to work with smaller amounts, I decided to use a recipe from Curious Weaver. Kaz has a page of tutorials and articles here. If you scroll down toward the bottom, you'll see Dyeing for Weavers - A beginners guide to fibre reactives for cellulose fibres. This is a downloadable pdf document with step by step instructions, including charts for different amounts of fibers and depths of color.
Here is what I needed for the dyeing:
The table salt levels the color and also helps the solubility and take-up of the dye. Washing soda serves as the dye activator. For the dye powders, I chose the primary colors to start. These are Lemon Yellow MX-8G, Clear Blue MX-R, & Warm Red MX GBA.
This recipe is for a medium color:
- Dye: Procion MX
- Fiber: cotton lint, scoured
- Fiber: 100 grams
- Water: 3 liters
- Salt: 10 teaspoons
- Washing soda: 4 teaspoons
- Dye powder: 1/2 teaspoon.
MSDS for the individual colors of procion mx dyes are available at the PRO Chemical & Dye website. For that list, click here. [I've added both of these links to my Dyeing Links page.]
Procion dyes are actually a family of what are known as fiber-reactive dyes. They were developed for vegetable based fibers such as cotton, hemp, jute, linen, etc. Their color is very permanent, as the color develops inside the fiber rather than on its surface. Except for turquoise, all other Procion MX colors require temperatures of 85 to 105 degrees F (depending on the set of instructions you're reading.)
The dyebaths looked like this .....
The instructions called for about an hour soaking time, with frequent stirring. The actual time I left them in the dyebath was about two hours.
After removing the cotton from the dyepots, a cold water rinse followed to rinse out all the salt. After that I washed each one in hot soapy water, rinsed, squeezed out excess water, and let dry on a towel.
The cotton was pretty clumpy when dry. These have been teased out for a photo.
I'm pretty happy with the results, though the red is lighter than I might have liked. My daughter calls it Watermelon Red.
What's next? Experimenting with some color mixing.
Scouring Cotton for Dyeing
2nd Procion MX Dye Experiments - 1st color mixing experiments
Summary of Procion MX Dye Experiments - All of my color mixing experiments so far.