So, I decided to do an experiment; first time ever. I grabbed some of my walnut ink -- from my scrapbooking days -- and dumped it, along with some hot water, into my stainless steel laundry room washtub. Into that brown liquid I dropped a piece of lovely mohair.
When it came out it had turned a perfect shade of mottled brownish, which is precisely what I wanted. Gee, I'm smart, thought I. However, it felt kinda icky and sticky, and in need of a wash.
I felt like I should heat-set the walnut ink first, before washing it, so I threw it in the dryer until it was as parched as the Mojave Desert.
After that, into the washing machine it went.
And when I took it out... voila! I was back to the original colored piece of mohair!
It didn't retain any of the walnut ink coloration at all, after it went thru the washing machine... even though it had gone thru a very hot dryer BEFORE that wash.
So, help me, TEDDY TALKers. What did I do wrong? How do I dye my mohair?
I went and SEARCHED posts on this and nobody is talking at length about color-fastness; setting with heat or cold rinsing or blow drying or whatever.
What I do want is a nice, aged-looking piece of brownish mohair, unevently tinted. That's why I balled it up before sinking it into the tub of walnut ink.
What I don't want is a crunchy, crispy, icky-feeling bit of mohair that will not retain its color, but will rub off on anyone and everyone who touches it.
I'd welcome recommendations on specific dyes, including brand names. I do have access to the how-to instructions for dying with Kool Aid (for future reference). But again, what I'm NOT finding is posts on color-fastness, or setting colors. And I want to be SURE....
Shelli, It sounds to me like your ink is not permanent. I have had lots of really great results from hand dying mohair with good old Rit Dye. I have trid different combinations of colors to customize the end result. I'll post a photo of a new bear that I dyed with Rit Dark Brown and Cocoa Brown dye.
Rit dye can be done in a sink or the washer. I do it in the sink in a bucket. This dye works beautifully and you can increase the color saturation by increasing the amount of time you leave the mohair in the dye.
You can buy Rit dye at any grocery or craft store. It's cheap and easy and the results are permanent and soft with no resdiue.
Yes, it sounds that way to me, too... although walnut ink is supposed to be deathly permanent. LIke, NEVER GET IT ON YOUR CLOTHES, FURNISHINGS, GROUT, or RUGS permanent. Um... guess not.
Maybe it's that I used it on both the fiber (plant-based, linen backing) and protein (mohair, an animal product) substances. The backing did retain a slight bit of the ink coloration, and the walnut ink IS intended for paper use... which, like the backing, is a fiber of plant origin.
Who'd have thunk that making a teddy bear would require this much science?
I was just browsing Lora Soling's site today -- www.lorabears.com, for those of you unfamiliar with her absolutely fabulous work -- and wrote her a wee note, and got to thinking about how, in her bears, there are a gajillion disciplines represented; knitting, distressing, bearmaking, hatmaking, painting, etc. And then Lora went on to comment in a note something to the effect that bearmaking has taken all of the passions she's developed in her lifetime, and jumbled them into one, wonderful art form -- the teddy.
Who'd have thunk it?
Keep it coming, on the dye thing. I need help!
Thanks Shelli and Kimmy!
Hey Shelli, on this bear I used oil paints on the paws. It took more than week to dry. As you know I nornally only use arcylics, but I wanted to give oils a go. After it dryed completely it feels just fine. The color coverage is beautiful with oils too. The face and paw pads are airbruhsed with acrylics.
I don't think it would have occured to me to use that......I would use a mix of tea and coffee......
I mix up super strong tea and coffe in my pots and then when it is super strong I pour it in the sink. I use the cheapest ickiest coffee on the market....stuff you wouldn't give to anyone.....
I usually try a scrap- first to see if I like it.....and if I am using wool felt or ultra suede I add a scrap of that......if it comes out looking like it will be close to what I want I get my mohair and wool felt wet and then nearly rung dry and then add it. I let it sit, stirring occassionally to make sure everything gets covered.
I let it go a little darker than I want and then rinse it and throw it in the dryer, just to dry it......coffee and tea don't really need to be heat set. Just have white carpet put in, you'll see.....
When I use koolade, it has citric acid in it so that sets it, cushings I always have to re-read the label cuz I just haven't used it enough. But I have several gallons of white vinegar in the dye cupboard so I guess I use that.
I have used the hair dryer to heat set small pieces.
Judi's already spoken of Rit.....which I am planning on trying after Stephanie told us about her results
what else?.....oh after I rinse and everything is clean- no more dye coming out I add hair conditioner to the water and swish around......its softer and smells good too. then pop it in the dryer...on low or throw it over the shower door....which ever
Judi . . . that bear is to die or dye for!! Shelli . . . I also use Rit a lot when I dye and have also used tea. Never have heat set either of them. I have used walnut stain on cotton muslin fabric, but not mohair. I used it to age a raggedy doll that I made. I didn't heat set it and it didn't seem to rub off on anything. Maybe it's just not permanent on hair.
It occurs to me that this thread belongs in the TIPS & TECHNIQUES sections. But I digress.
I am ready to jump off a tall building.
So after the walnut stain fiasco, which we determined was not permanent, I went to Hancock and bought what was labelled PERMANENT dye. It said it worked on natural fibers -- cotton, linen, etc. Meaning that, at a minimum, even if it didn't stick to the mohair, it should stick to the backing, which meets those criteria. (As a reminder: mohair is not a plant but an animal, or protein, fiber, and my limited understanding is that protein dyes differently, and requires different chemicals, than plant fibers.)
Anyway... many, many hours of soaking and following the directions to the absolute "T" later, including the instruction to wash in hot water after dyeing and cold water rinsing...
I am STILL back at my original piece of mohair. Neither the mohair, nor the backing, across two separate pieces of mohair, and two entirely differently dyes, looks even the smallest molecule different than it did when I started.
What, what, what, what, what am I doing wrong?
Will someone please take me by my shrivelled-and-blackened-from-the-dye (didn't have gloves!) hand, and tell me, explicitly, mentioning brand names, and suppliers, how the heck to get mohair to take color.
YES, I prewashed. No sizing could possibly have remained.
YES, I followed directions.
YES, I soaked for long enough.
YES, I agitated regularly.
YES, I am ready to tear my hair out.
This is really holding me up on something I'm under pressure to complete.
Your help is appreciated. My mind is thinking EARTH PALLETE dyes, or PROCION dyes. Where did I read that before? What are these? Where can I get them? Anyone have any experience?
Off to check out whether our beloved Intercal carries mohair dyes... duh, Shel. But then, it wouldn't have mattered much, because I'm too impatient.
PS I haven't tried RIT yet, but if these PERMANENT FABRIC DYES don't work, would RIT?
PPS I'm dying one tan-ish piece to look aged so browns (such as in hair colors) would work; GREAT tip, Julia. However, I also have need to dye a very light rosy tan piece more PINK, so I still need help!
Sincerely frazzled and frustrated and in need of several clues,
Intercal has Cushings....try them they are great,
I also use Koolade......that's something your boys can tell you about....mine went blue when he was 16. He's 30 now .....it did grow out.....
Stephanie at Sassy's Fabrics swears by RIT and she has man made fibers that she is dying not mohair.
I can't figure out where you are going wrong. It doesn't make any sense. I've never had trouble with Cushings or koolade.....
ok earth shaded koolade, red, yellow a little purple youve got brown.....I mix it up in small glass bottles so it is really strong and then mix to get my color.
Is your backing synthetic?
When I first started dying fabric for quilting I used these pages for info, maybe they will help you.....
I'm sorry you are having so much trouble....
Okay, so after all that whining, I discovered that Intercal does, indeed, carry a vast and enormous selection of mohair dyes (protein dyes.) Check it out: http://www.intercaltg.com/colors/dyechart.html
I guess I'll just need to be patient, but, for now... problem solved.
However, if someone wants to continue posting advice and experiences with this kind of things, please do. We can all benefit from additional information, perspective, and opinion.
PS Dilu we must have been writing at the same time; when I wrote this your post wasn't up yet. Thank you!
No, Dilu, this is straight-from-Intercal, wonderful, excellent, mohair, with animal hairs on a fiber backing. Nothing synthetic about it. I guess the dye I used was really LITERALLY only for plant fibers, and was a weak dye at that. THAT part makes no sense to me, still, though. I expected the backing, at least, to change color.
Guess I should mention the brand name: DYLON PERMANENT FABRIC DYE. In my hands at least, it absolutely does not work on mohair OR mohair backing. Just FYI.
RIT dye has always worked for me just fine. No complaints here. I am sure there are other dyes that will work fine but since RIT works so well...that is what I will stick with.
See the frog this bear is holding? That was white German mohair. I used RIT dye , Kelly Green and soaked the belly mohair of the frog for about five minutes but continued to soak the other parts of the frog for about ten minutes. Rinsed out...WELLA! Two tone green froggie. Crisp brilliant color. No residue feeling at all. Works for me. I would be interetsed though to find out how the mohair dyes work you.
SALT SHELLI SALT!!!!
Add LOTS of salt to the dye this will help set the dye - this is what i have always been told and have to say that it has always worked for me but as i have'nt used the same ink that you are using i can't promise the same results - but give it a try sweetiepie :hug:
That's a great idea, Penny... thanks for offering it! But the instructions for the DYLON "permanent" dye actually require 4TBS of salt to be added to the dye and warm water mixture before soaking your fabric. So that doesn't help with this particular dye, either.
If I'm in a pinch I'm going to try RIT but now that I've discovered the amazing variety of protein dyes here at Intercal I'll try those first. I just can't spend time on any more mistakes.
Will let you all know how it turns out. Thanks, again, for all your helpful suggestions!
soaked the belly mohair of the frog for about five minutes but continued to soak the other parts of the frog for about ten minutes
Judi, thanks for the pointers on RIT.
One question: Did you soak the cut-out pattern pieces separately, or stitch the frog up and THEN soak it?
Does everyone follow the suggestion/direction to wash in hot and dry (air or dryer) after dyeing?
Thanks. I'll stop with the questions at some point. Just not yet.
I have very little experience of dyeing fabric, but have been following this thread....I can imagine how frustrating this is for you, Shelli! I did a little digging around and came across this site: http://www.pburch.net/dyeing/FAQ/washingmachine.shtml . Dylon is mentioned on this page, and further down there's mention of the type of detergent that should be used??! Hmm. No idea if this will be any use to you but I thought it worth passing along.
Fingers crossed for your next experiment!