I recently came across Inkodye—a dye for natural fabrics with a high entertainment factor! As Inkodye says on their website, these are “magical dyes that develop with sunlight.” These dyes come in a liquid form (kind of syrupy) and have simple instructions: you can either brush them onto your fabric directly (I tried this working on dry fabric and I couldn’t get it to go very far but maybe it’s better if you paint with it on wet fabric—though of course you’d get a bleeding watercolor effect—or you could dilute the dye with water and then paint with it), or you can dilute the dye with water and dunk your fabric into it. This is what I did for the shirt shown here.
I wanted to try the technique of dipping the shirt partially into the dye, which I remembered seeing Ruth Rae do in her book, Layered, Tattered & Stitched, with a T-shirt and it was really cool. The color I used was Blue-Green. I diluted it in a bowl with about four parts of water. I thoroughly wet my shirt with water first, wrung it out and dipped the bottom portion into the bowl. I then turned it over and dipped the other end, leaving a portion in the middle dye-free. Then my camera and I went to the backyard where the fun began. The color started to develop right away and within ten minutes of direct (harsh, hot, Phoenix) sun, the color went from a pinkish-purple to violet to blue-violet to blue.
I let my shirt dry and then decided that I wasn’t very happy with the transition of the blue to the white because a funky yellow color showed up that reminded me of perspiration stains, so pulled the mixing bowl back out from the cabinet, poured in more dye and water and this time, just put my entire shirt in the dye.
Watching the development this time wasn’t as much fun as the first time, but still kind of fun. I am happier with the shirt now and I think I am going to add some kind of handstitching to it. We’ll see.
It would be fun to see what changes the other colors go through. Oh, and Inkodye says the colors may be mixed also. I may need to rethink Netflix and just get some more of these dyes.
Inkodyes can be purchased directly from the manufacturer through their website and they are available in 4 oz. and 8oz. sizes, individually and as kits. They come in 14 colors and are nontoxic. Inkodye also offers a color extender and a resist. So pop some popcorn, pull up a lawn chair and watch your fabric develop in the sun. If you are itching to dye something, I think you should try this!
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