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.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tray dyeing with Ann Johnston

The title of Ann Johnstons new DVD, Color by accident, is so - not - me ;-).
But in fact, I LOVED this DVD. And with adding my own calculations to the dyemethods, I guess, we can skip the 'accident' part of it ;-).

One of the things I learned was 'don't be afraid to touch the fabric soaking in the dye'. If you don't want white spots, you actually really have to work it through!

So, I got one of those small cutlery trays, and a long piece of fabric,  soaked it in sodawater, squeezed the water out and fanfolded it.

Calculated that I needed about 90 ml. of a 10% solution of Procion MX for the whole piece, divided this in 45 ml of orange and 45 ml of blue. Added the same quantity of water to each color, so the dye can flow a bit. (For those curious, my calculation method is pretty relaxed,  I need for a full colour, 20 ml of 10% concentrate for a FQ cotton. Just count or estimate the number of FQ's you have in your fabric. No weighing, no calculator needed).

Put the 45 ml. orange plus 45 ml. of water in the tray, and put the fanfolded fabric on top of it, carefully, making an U turn, leaving the folds out of the dye in this stage.

After 5 minutes, I poured the 45 ml. of blue plus 45 ml. water on top of it, waited a minute or two.

After a few minutes, I started pressing with my gloved fingers, thoroughly to get the dye solution into the fabric. More than I ever dared... I was always so afraid to get mud colours. It doesn't look good, does it? But everything went perfect.

Take care with rinsing, first rinse cold while the package is still fanfolded. You have to get rid of the soda before you start rinsing the whole cloth, that will prevent much of the colour-staining.

Et voila, this is the final result and I am so very happy with this, thank you Ann for healing me from 'touch fear'.

Next monday another variation so stay tuned, it's all about low water immersion dyeing this month!
NB. If you missed the trailer, here is a sneak preview of the DVD:


  1. Great example, Judith! I have done some tray dyeing, but did have a lot of white in my attempts. Will have to try your suggestion!

  2. I have so many questions! I've been doing very similar attempts at low water immersion, but very haphazardly. Is the 10% dye solution the 1T dye to 1 cup water solution you mixed earlier? Explain again please how you got to the 45ml + 45ml amounts. I've read Ann's book, but the dye amounts etc confused me. Thanks.

  3. This fabulous post and gorgeous fabric is all Nieke! Thank you Nieke!

  4. Wow, that is sooo pretty! Some one of these days I'm going to get brave and try it!

  5. I am having trouble figuring out the dye ratios you talk about here. My American brain doesn't comprehend measurements in ml at all. Guess I'll have to look for a comparison chart to adjust ml to cups or ounces or whatever!!

  6. Absolutely gorgeous result. I have the DVD and am very pleased with it! Which red and Blue did you use? Thanks!

  7. I've done the baggies. Tray dyeing looks like way more fun. And just spreading it onto a sheet of plastic and smooshing 'lights my fire'!!!! lol

  8. Lovely work.

    Is there a way to identify the person who is writing the text on this blog? I would love to know who is "talking" and I can't figure it out from the posts.

  9. I love the glow from the blue in your long piece!
    Sandy in the UK

  10. @CraftaLife and @Laura I don't follow Ann's measuring technique with spoons and cups, as we are more used to ml's in Europe I guess, will write another blogpost explaining my 'easy dyer' calculation method.

  11. @Diane, there is a 'Posted by Nienke' subtext, at the bottom of the post, just under the video. That's where you can check who is the author in Blogger.

  12. @Val I mixed orange by 7 grams of Yellow MX-3R with 3 grams of Red MX 8B. And the blue is Turquoixe Blue MX G 9 grams with 2 grams of a black without a name ;-). A reddish black though.

  13. Gorgious Nienke! And you know I love to wear scarfs and these are my colors!

  14. wow Nienke!! I am so impressed. Talk about a gorgeous piece of fabric in a "small package". I am definitely going to try this.


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