Alternative Techniques

There are a few simple variations you can use when dyeing. First of all, we generally use alum acetate simply because it works as somewhat of a universal mordant. However, there are many different mordants you can use, and some work better for different dyes and fabrics. It is always a good idea to do some research and figure out which mordant is the best for you! Just be careful, some of the mordants and dyes from the eighties and back can be pretty toxic! 
If you want to be more mindful of the dye used, you can save and reuse dye pots! You can keep dye pots used previously and add a little more dye, then heat them up the same as before. Just be aware that unless you add more dye the colors will not be as vibrant as the first dye. Also keep in mind some of these dyes can begin to mold pretty quickly, so use the dye pots as soon as possible! 

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The Basic Dyeing Process (Natural Dyes)

Below¬†are some guides for natural dyeing that make it simpler to dye at home. The first step is the mordant, which will help your fabric prepare to hold dye. It’s also important to buy untreated fabric if possible, otherwise you will have to scour the waxy coating that most fabric stores use before you can mordant. After you’re finished with your mordant, you can begin the dyeing! Some things to keep in mind: pay attention to the temperature, make sure you have enough water (you want to submerge your fabric but don’t be wasteful!), and keep stirring! Finally, you need to soak your fabric with synthrapol then rinse and dry. If you follow these steps you should get a nice, even dye.

Tips:

  • Let your fabric breathe! If the same parts are folded together, they will not dye as well.
  • Create samples! This is the best way to experiment and find what works best for you!
  • Stainless Steel pots are ideal, as there won’t be any metals leaking into your dye.
  • It’s always a good idea to wear a mask when working with fine powders like the alum and dye.
  • Have fun! Try different over dyes and don’t be afraid to experiment!

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