Natural dying encompasses an immense amount of processes and dye materials- plants, insects, shellfish, minerals and other matter. Yes, they're finicky, and yes, they require patience, but they are completely worth the trial and error. The variety of color obtainable from a single, individual plant is pretty crazy.
Procion Mx dyes are synthetic dyes for plant-based fibers and silk. They come in a variety of colors and can be mixed together to create a even great selection of color. They're fairly reliable and are easy to work with.
I'm no expert by any means on either Mx or natural dyes- the slight nuances and specifics I imagine could take years to learn. But!, they'r some of my go-to methods and I would like to share the recipes I've used for this project.
As with all dyeing, use caution and follow the dye suppliers's directions and warnings. Gloves, apron and a particulate dust mask should always be used. Designate a large pot for fiber dyeing. Don't mix cookware and dyeware!
Natural Dye: Coffee
1. Measure the weight of dry fabric in grams. This is your dry weight of goods (DWG)
2. (For plant-based fibers only) Soak the fiber in a 2% soy solution. Unsweetened soy milk in water will do the trick.
3. Mordanting: Bring enough water to generously immerse your fiber to a boil. Add 12% DWG of Alum and 6% DWG Cream of Tartar to water and stir. Add fiber and boil for at least 1 hour. After boiling, the fiber can either be used immediately in a dye or it can be allowed to hang dry and dyed later.
4. To prepare the dye bath, again bring enough water to generously immerse the fiber to a boil. Add 100% DWG of coffee to pot and boil for at least an hour, stirring frequently.
5. Add mordanted fabric to dye bath. Boil for at least one hour, stirring frequently.
6. When finished dyeing, rise fiber with water until all dyestuffs is removed.
Procion Mx Dye for Hand-painting
To make 1 Cup of Hand-painting Dye Paste:
(Always use your gloves, your gloves are your friend)
1. Add 5.5 TBSP of PRO Thick SH to hot water and stir rapidly until well mixed. Let sit for at least one hour.
2. Add desired amount of Procion MX dye to paste
(use dusk mask and gloves!)
Pale: 1/2 tsp
Medium: 2 tsp
Dark : 4 tsp
3. Add 1 tsp of Baking Soda.
4. Add Urea water to thin paste until desired consistency is achieved. I usually add 2 TBSP of urea water
(Urea water is 2 quarts water with 9 TBSP Urea)
5. Paint your fabric!
(keep using your gloves- always use your gloves!)
6. When dry, either steam your fabric for 30 minutes, or batch it- cover/seal your fabric in plastic wrap and place it in the sun or a warm place for 24 hr+.
7. Wash out your fabric in water (with gloves again!)