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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Smooth as silk » » Silk Dying (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Mary Mowder
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Sacramento / Elk Grove, CA
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I'm curious.

How many of you have tried dying your own silks for Blendo, 20th Century , Mismade and Message Silks etc...?

What worked for you ? What didn't ?

Would you do it again?
Bob Sanders
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Mary,

I would have thought that this thread would have brought many posts.

The lack of posts should not indicate the lack of experience. For most, it probably does indicate the lack of "a Good" experience. It is not a project for the faint of heart.

Do you have any experience with this?

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
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Mary Mowder
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Yes Bob,

I've done several but like you say, not for the faint of heart.

I made a couple of beautiful Butterfly Silks . One was a small test for the larger one. The small one taught me that thicker silk takes color more brilliantly and the big one taught me that the tiniest spring in my brush could send dye into the wrong area so cover those areas, or use a resist.

I made a mis-made Jack O 'Lantern set as my second foray into silk dying.
Pin stretched the Silk, Transfered the pattern to the silk, used the dye resist, Painted on the dye, Washed out the dye and resist. Then I found out the pumpkins looked pink because the red dye over powered the yellow and the black wasn't Black enough.
Started again, correcting over with the dyes.
I finally got a Good Halloween effect.

I Made a planet earth Silk . Beautiful except the surrounding space is not black enough for my taste.

I made a "My Library Card" Silk, that taught me that "Library Card" would have been a better choice. It's better to spend more time choosing the precise wording if you're doing all that work.

I made a snark "Thank You" silk. As a dyslexic I didn't find it that funny. More careful choice of project would have helped. I've never used it.

I made a beautiful Zebra Silk and cut the silk washing the resist out. Learned to be more careful with the sharp edges of the dried dye resist. I did salvage it for certain uses with a few stitches which are on the edge of a stripe. Also learned not to waste time painting a silk that is not well shaped in the first place (like the corners racked etc...) Use them for tests.

My dyes have dried out so if I tried it again I'd be buying the kit over. I used Jacquard dyes.

Every time I make my own silk paintings I swear it will be the last time. It is very easy to ruin the blank Silk at any time during the process (at least the way I used). I hate to advertise my stupidity but I'm apt to try again sometime. After all I'm learning so much about what not to do.

Besides, there is something so beautiful about Silk, I can't explain it but it has a certain allure. I'm sure you, of all people, understand Bob.

- Mary Mowder
hugmagic
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Silk dyeing or painting is not for the faint of heart. One slip and you bought the silk.

I have painted many silks. It is a lot of work. Colors are always a problem as dyes are changed or discontinued. I have done ghosts, mismade skeltons, jack o latern streamers, mennorahs, message silks and many others you can see on the website.

The heavier the silk the more saturation of color there is. I hate to do custom work on anything less than 8 momme for a couple of reasons. First, it is too much work to do for a thinner silk that will wear out faster. Second, the color and drawings are not as vivid.

I think some of the most beautiful hand painted silks I have ever seen were made by Dorny. The detail was amazing. You would swear they were screen printed. I saw one of his SAM silks and it was just unbelievably crisp and detailed. He was a very talented man in a lot of ways.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Bob Sanders
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I do certainly agree that bulkier silk offers more surface for color saturation. Results can be very beautiful.

However, I totally disagree that it is any indication of silk quality or capacity to resist abrasion. Most abrasion comes from within the fabric from the foreign material contained in the weave. More bulk simply contains more foreign material for abrasion. (Think of it like the problems in keeping long hair and short hair dogs clean.) The 60% increase in load bulk from 5 momme to 8 momme silk compounds the problem by tighter compression in the load chambers.

I use both. Peter White has some very beautiful picture silks I do use. (I keep my treasured Rice silks as collector items. They are not replaceable.) In my nearly half century of silk magic, I have not found 8 momme silk any more durable than 5 momme silk. The graphics are better.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
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brody
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Omaha
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I've died my own half red/half white silk for the McComb routine, but don't have the artistic flair for "painting", or anything much more complicated than single colors.

I actually thought it was fun, and would do it again if needed.
JNeal
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With due deference to those above, I think Richard is correct in that a lightweight silk will wear out more readily..perhaps not due to abrasion but rather the lack of tightness in the weave. This is not just an issue with silk alone.
My fine cotton shirts in two ply 120's I've had for well over a decade with no visible wear and a shirt constructed of an 80's material will fray and just not last as long.
That aside, the depth of color in the heavier silk makes the idea of thin silks (unless required by some other limitation) a non starter.

The reader is fortunate to have such fine exerts as Richard and Bob to discuss this with!

Regards-
J.Neal
visit me @ JNealShow.com
Mary Mowder
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I've used 5 momme and I've used 8 momme and the 5 momme wears out sooner (they were all real silk) . For me, it's like Richard said, for all the work, I want it to last. Besides I don't like the look (or feel) of 5 momme myself. The audience can see right through it. I'm more into brilliant than delicate.

What dyes do you use?

I used Jacquard and Gutta dye resist and a pin frame every time. Do you buy prime colors and mix them (as I did) or buy the premixed colors? Is there a better method for an "at home" project?

If I did another project, it would be a set if tie dye 8 momme Star Burst Silks for 20th century. I'd probably dye one of the solid color silks as well, to assure a corner color match.

I appreciate the expertise available. I know I'm very choosy about colors and opinionated about silk weights but I do appreciate all points of view.

Bob, Thank you for resurrecting this thread.

- Mary Mowder
MikeHMagic
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I've tie dyed silks in various sizes and momme, using Procion dyes
Mike "Gus" Harvatt
"Bullwinkle that trick never works."
Pete Biro
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I have made a few sets for the "Half-Dyed" routine, but that's it. I just used over the counter RIT and followed the instructions.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Mary Mowder
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Dear Mike,

I'll look Procion up on the net.

Dear Pete,

Did you use a rubber band or a dye resist to separate the colors or let the edge blend?

Did you pin it to a frame or put it on an absorbent surface to reduce bleed?

- Mary Mowder
Rainboguy
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I Think you fit the weight of the silk to the job it needs to do.

8 momme silks definitely, at least to me, appear to have brighter, deeper, more vivid and better defined graphics and seem to troupe longer.

Although last year at Fab Magic in Colon I got one of Bob Sander's 18" line of silks and a set of 18" matching silks to match each of the silks in the line and I believe they are 5 momme silks.

I'd rather have an expert at silk dying custom-dye for me if I needed it done, rather than trying myself.

I agree with Richard that dying silks isn't for the faint of heart...I'm sure he would say the same for dying feathers and making feather flowers isn't for the faint of heart, either.
Bill Hegbli
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As for tie dying, check out all the information for tie dying T-shirts, much the same process. Hippies have been doing it since the 60's.
hugmagic
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There are many dyes to use. Procion is one of the most popular. Though the premixed primary colors have been discontinued. I mix all my own colors from scratch. Measurement is important.

I have use mainly a water based resist or none depending on the job. Cover the framework with packaging tape to keep the dye out of the wood.

Tie dying gives you a nice blending of colors without sharp lines. I use strings or rubber bands. As I have said elsewhere, I came up with 34 different tie dye variations for a customer.

With so many of the dyes being discontinued and very expensive, it is very important to keep exact records on the dye mixtures and processes to insure consistant results.

A blotter paper under the silk has never worked for me in controlling the bleeding of the dye.

Also don't forget with handpainting silk, you have to steam set the silk dye. This is another major process that requires a lot of blank blotter paper and a large steaming vessel. And if you do it wrong the dye will wash out or run on the silk.

All in all this is a very complex process that requires a lot of patience and attention to detail in all phases of it.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
MikeHMagic
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Mary,
Look up http://www.Dharma.com
that's where I get all my supplies.
Mike "Gus" Harvatt
"Bullwinkle that trick never works."
MikeHMagic
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Sorry the correct website is:
http://www.dharmatrading.com/
OOPSIE
Mike "Gus" Harvatt
"Bullwinkle that trick never works."
hugmagic
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I just finished up a small project for a guy. I made two 16' x 16' 8 momme silks to be used as stage setting for a guy. If you know anything about tie dye, this was like wrestling 24' boa constrictor. Hopefully, the picture is the proper size to post.

Richard

Click here to view attached image.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
MikeHMagic
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WOW! Great job, the largest I've done is 6X6 8momme. I thought that was a bear! A Grizzly bear at that!
Mike "Gus" Harvatt
"Bullwinkle that trick never works."
hugmagic
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Kelvin,
I have temporarily posted a photo of the rocket silk on the website. It will give you an idea as what I did before but something else could also be done.

Here is the link..http://www.hughesmagic.com/catalog/silks/special.html, The rocket silk is down on the page some.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Mary,

I keep trying to keep folks posting on this one but I'm not having the luck I wish I had.

This is not a strong area for me because I buy the service rather than do it myself. I know Lucy (my wife and real boss) would really love to do some of this for herself and ballet backdrops and props. (She has artistic ability. I certainly DON'T! And I am also colorblind.)

I want to learn from the pros too!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
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