A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Parfait Dyeing

Posted by Laura McGrath-guest during February--

Lots of fun stuff going on here with Ann Johnston’s DVD Color by Accident this month!  I’m going to show my results with some of her Parfait Dyeing technique.

First, I mixed up all the dye solutions, using the 14 pure colors.  I used 2 cups of water and 3-4 tablespoons of dye powder to each bottle.  (And realized later, after doing a bunch of dyeing, that I forgot to add the 4-8 tablespoons of urea that I was supposed to include—whoops!)

For the parfait dyeing, I wet my fabric pieces that were each about 18” x 44”, and wrung out the excess water.  Then I put one piece in a large jar and scrunched it up really good.  I took a one cup container and put about 4 tablespoons of Intense Blue dye solution in it, then filled with water to have a full cup.  I poured it on the fabric, waited about 5 minutes, then poured in about ½ cup of soda ash/water solution.  Second piece was done the same way, this time using Tangerine dye solution, and adding soda ash again.  For the third piece I used Strong Orange dye concentrate, and again added soda ash, and squished it all down tightly.

Then I waited an hour, and rinsed it all out, and washed in the washing machine.

Here are the finished pieces:

I did this whole process again, the second time using a stronger solution of the same dye concentrates (8 tablespoons dye solution of each color).  I thought I would get a really deeper color, but it didn't make it twice as dark.

Here are the two sets side-by-side--

It surprised me that the Tangerine and Strong Orange colors were pretty much taken over by the blue, creating so much green.  The best part of this process is that it was SO easy! 

Check out more of my Ann Johnston dyeing results on my blog, Periwinkle Art Quilts.


  1. Thanks for your post, Laura! One thing I do differently that I think helps, is I pre-soda soak my fabrics before scrunching, then apply the dyes. But another thing to consider is the room temperature where the batch was while you were waiting for the dyes to set. I do my dyeing in the laundry room, and the minimum temperature is 67 degrees. However, in the winter, sometimes I have issues with some of the colors coming out pale... it might take a little longer than 1 hour to get good color.

  2. Love those colors. Great results!!

  3. Give it a try with your lighter colors on the bottom and you can get some spectacular results. One of my all-time best sets had yellow as the bottom layer, red in the middle and black on top.

  4. Vicki, I was thinking last night that the next set I do, the darker color is going on the top instead of the bottom!

  5. Sharing all this is so inspiring, great results and I will definetely try the tellow-red-black parfait


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