Monday, September 22, 2014

My 50 Shades of Gray and Green and Blue

If you haven't had a chance to watch Episode 101 of The Mixed-Media Workshop yet, here is the video. You can watch more episodes at the subscription site

In this episode, I was showing off some RIT dyeing methods to Julie. Since then, I've been dyeing to experiment with more things to colorize. I needed to dye a pair of purple tights to a purple-black ombre for my daughter's Comic Con costume (Check that out in an upcoming post!) so I grabbed a few other things to play with.
  • Orange polyester ribbon (accordion folded with a binder clip)
  • Teal embroidery floss (wrapped in a loop and then bound with waxed linen thread)
  • White pom-pom fringe
  • Plastic faux rhinestone trim
  • Ivory vintage grosgrain ribbon

Photo of items ready to dye
Ready to dye!
Each item got a little different treatment but each started with getting a warm water bath first.
Next, I mixed hot water with dye--all different ratios but I used more than the bottle suggested.

The ivory ribbon is pretty wide so I rolled it up loosely and then just put it in about an inch of dye bath. You can see in this picture that the wet ribbon is wicking up the dye out of the bath.

The Mixed Media Workshop Video

The tights were the most complicated and required a very technical set up (a wire hanger). I tied the toes together and let it hang into the dye bath. I wanted to create an ombre so I dipped them a little extra in the bath and then immediately pulled some out of the bath. Once again, I was taking advantage of the wicking technique.

For the pom-poms, I just used a lid of a plastic takeout container and a little of the water/dye mixture and then carefully set them in the dye. These guys started wicking immediately.

And then the orange ribbon was dunked one end in to hopefully get a cool striped effect. (Remember, I had accordion folded the ribbon.)

And this is the final result.
  • The tights came out more navy than black but will serve their purpose. 
  • The pom-pom fringe, once it was washed, is a very interesting blue, green, and gray combo. 
  • The vintage ivory ribbon is probably my favorite, as it really is about 50 shades of gray. 
  • The teal ribbon ended up having a undyed core once I removed the waxed linen thread. 
  • The rhinestones have a magenta tint to them now.
  • And the orange ribbon? Didn't dye at all. Still orange. I noticed after the fact that the cardboard roll said 100% polyester.

So what did I learn? A lot! Here's my list:

  • Unless you really don't care how dark it goes, leave it in longer - be patient.
  • Try the floss again but scrunch it up differently and wrap it more.
  • Don't use polyester. (I knew that but forgot to check).
  • I still want to try the folding technique that didn't work with the orange ribbon.
  • I'm going to try to dye my own tights.
  • Some things dye like the old coffee filter science experiment where the colors separate.

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