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.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

First Experiment Drawing with Thickened Dye

Remember how the painted day lily looked in my last post?

Here is how it looked after I drew on it with thickened orange-fushia dye.

And here is what it looked like after drawing on it with the thickened lemon yellow-turquoise thickened dye I added after the red had dried.

After rinsing, washing, drying and ironing, here is what it looks like finished.

The green is barely visible.  The red stands out nicely.  The blobs did not magically disappear. Do you like it better or not so much?

I used a syringe with both the red and the green dyes.  I used a thickened print paste that already had the soda ash in it.  I mixed up only tiny amounts of each color since it already had the soda ash  and would not last long. I applied the dye to dry material.  I let it stay in place and uncovered to batch for several hours till the drawing had dried.  I was afraid if I covered the fabric up to batch that the dye drawing would spread out or smear and if I moved it while wet or tried to rinse it out before completely dry then the wet dye would mark other areas of the fabric.  Just precautions.  Maybe   I was too cautious but I thought better safe than sorry.

Lessons learned:

1.  Drawing with dye (without blobs) is harder than you think.

 2. The red seemed too thick so I added water.  Then it was really blobbing when I drew.

3.  I didn't add water to the green since I blamed the blobs on the thinner consistency of the red.  I think just as many blobs.  Hmmmm...

4. Less blobs if I actually touch the syringe tip to the fabric rather than holding it above.

5.  Less blobs if I remember to quit using the slow even pressure on the  plunger when I am not actually drawing.  Yep, for some reason that created a glob of dye just waiting to touch the fabric and become a blob.  Who knew?

6.  Darker lines show up better than lighter lines.  I intentionally made the green lines lighter because I wanted the background not to compete but then they seemed to make little difference even before the washout.  Although it did look really good on the unopened flower pod in the upper right corner didn't it? Well, at least till the washout.

7.  Fuchsia takes a long time to dissolve without leaving fuchsia dots.

8.  Practice a lot more before working on something I liked.

9.  Since it is still not fabulous (can you even make a silk purse out of a sow's ear?) I wonder what it would look like if I drew around the flowers and leaves in really dark as in almost black lines?

Next Experiment!



  1. I find this style of flower VERY attractive! Great technique!

  2. Judith, it has been awhile since I did much with thickened dyes, but I do remember it to be challenging. I don't know if this would make a difference, but maybe using a brush instead of a syringe would give you better results. The consistency is irregular, so maybe using it for shading, and using another medium for your lines would be a possible alternative. I love the image and your colors! Can't wait to see more...

  3. Don't worry about the blobs, they add depth and variation. go for it, looks great!

  4. I don't think the blobs matter as they add to the natural look of the flower.


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