I make my own soap and have done for over 10 years and I always use it to make felt.
There is nothing quite so good as handmade soap and it can be made in bar or liquid form. There are many great websites and YouTube videos now that recount the history of soap and how to make the stuff – not the melt and pour variety but the cold process method – it’s Chemistry in the Kitchen’!
If you would like to view the my soap course please click on this image:
For the ingredients I can’t find in the supermarket I go to The Soap Kitchen (UK) and there are also plenty of good suppliers on Ebay.
3. Brush painting in strong pink, orange, yellow and green and black procion dye paste. Cured 20 hours
I poured the black dye paste into a silk paint bottle with a fine nib and drew the black outlines of pattern onto the fabric and then added the other colours with a brush. It was very random and I just had to keep going not really knowing what the outcome would be. The main problem I had was to get the black dye paste to flow evenly from the paint bottle. The nib was a little to narrow and I think un-mixed dye particles clogged it easily – a lesson for next time.
The finished design is really experimental and unpolished but I will persevere!
Here are the finished fabrics ready to be made into jackets this week – with some extra embellishment:
Actually two dyeing days as I spent the first day experimenting with dye colours and techniques on small samples of white cotton fabric that had been pre-soaked in a solution of soda ash for 3 hours.
I am very lucky to have a great assistant for a few days – Carmen is a fashion photography student who is doing 20 hours work experience with me and her work is included in the following sample images.
Lino printing – with a thickened procion dye paste
Brush painting with both liquid procion dye and paste
Combining the two techniques
Dye samples covered with clingfilm to prevent drying and left to cure over night – 18 hours
The results are interesting as I have never used dyes like this before and, although the samples are rather rough and ready, there is potential. The lino print is not as good as I hoped – some lines are indistinct as it is difficult to apply the dye paste evenly. I find using a brush is the best method as it gives me better control over the dye placement than with a roller.
So tomorrow I will jump in to this wonderful world of colour and dye 6 meters of beautiful Ottoman Rib Viscose/cotton fabric to make three colourful fabrics for jackets:
Plain colour – a strong pink mixing a little scarlet not magenta dye powder
Shibori tie dye with indigo procion dye
Brush designs in three – four colours with Ikat patterns in mind.
Pre soak the fabric – I have bought fabric that is already prepared for dyeing and will soak this in a Soda Ash solution over night
Mix 3/4 cup Soda ash with 7 Litres water in a large bucket and stir until the soda has dissolved. Then add half the fabric and leave to soak.
Wring out the fabric and then spin in the washing machine to remove excess water. The fabric must remain wet for dyeing.
2. Mix the dye base for 1.5 metres fabric:
Put on the face mask, gloves and apron
Mix together in a large plastic jug:
4 cups warm water
3/4 cup urea
1 tbsp sodium alginate
Mix well with a whisk as the mixture blends and thickens. Divided the paste base into 4 glass jars.
3. Prepare the fabric
As I am experimenting at this stage I will cut the pre-soaked fabric and unsoaked fabric into 20cm squares and lay them across the prepared table.
4. Mixing the dyes
Face mask, gloves and apron on
Add 4 teaspoon of soda ash to the paste base and mix in well
Measure out 1/2 teaspoon of dye powder into a glass jar and add 1-2 teaspoons of water and mix to a paste – it is important not to add too much water and to mix the dye very well so that it has all been dissolved. Unmixed particles of dye will cause streaking on the fabric.
Repeat this process with the other 3 dye colours.
N.b. Once the dye has been mixed with the soda ash in the dye mixture the dye will have short shelf life – maximum 4 hours so my experiment will have to be completed in that time
Use a soak and unsoaked piece of fabric for each experiment. First label the fabric with:
S – soaked
US – unsoaked
Comments in log book
a. Lino print
b. Brush strokes – wide and fine
c. Water colour – spraying extra water on the fabric to see how the paste behaves
I have never used procion dyes before and have decided to dye and print my fabric for a range of jackets with an Asian ottoman theme.
Researching I have found some good tips for using dyes thickened with sodium alginate to paint or print onto fabric by Alyson Provax
Alyson Provax – printmaker and experimental dyer in Portland, Oregon. Her prints are available through Uprise Art, and her work will be shown in Variable States: Prints Now at Upfor Gallery in Portland this spring. Find her at alysonprovax.com