1) My dye colors aren’t bright enough/dark enough/come out weak.
If you are using the dye correctly, the key to strong bright colors is to mix your colors strong. This is true for tie dye, or vat dye with the reactive type dyes we sell. How long you leave the dye on the fabric or in the vat does not affect the depth of shade with this type of dye very much at all. You decide how bright or strong a shade is by how much dye you use. For light or pastel shades use small amounts of dye powder, for deep or bright shades use heavy concentrations of dye. If you are truly using large amounts of dye and your colors are not coming out bright, then you are doing something else wrong. Is your fabric plant based and dyeable? Are you using the soda ash fixer properly? Is the temperature of the dye process warm enough for the dyes to react? Ice dyers often think “something is wrong” with the dye as their ice dye project is not allowing the dye to interact with the fibers at a warm enough temperature allow the dye to fix to the fibers. In general ice dye techniques, while beautiful, yield lighter shades than dye used “properly.”
2) One of my dye jars isn’t as full as the others.
Different dye powders have different densities so will fill jars to different levels. This is normal. Some colors come in smaller or larger jars for the same weight - dye is always sold by weight. Some powders are fluffy and some are dense. Each amount will dye the same amount of fabric. If you are measuring dye by the spoon or volume, use fewer spoonfuls for the colors that come in smaller jars or fill jars up only part way.
3) My dye powder doesn’t fully dissolve.
Some dye powders have particles that don’t fully dissolve – the most common culprits are Lemon Yellow #38 and Fuchsia #8. This is totally normal. Although this typically won’t affect your end results, you can attempt to strain the colors before use using a coffee filter or something similar. Another tip is to ensure the water you’re mixing colors into is warm or hot (ideally around 105 F) and to use Urea to aid the dye in dissolving.
4) Can you dye something for me?
No, we do not dye items for anyone. We will provide guidance and advice, and we can sell you the supplies if you decide to go ahead, but we will not do it for you. We get asked to solid color dye things a lot, and as of yet we have never found anyone to point towards that will solid color dye your item for you. If you want something tie dyed, perhaps we can refer you to one of our customers who tie dye. Call us.
5) Why is my dye powder clumping?
Dye clumping results from humidity or moisture exposer. This can happen in transit or in storage and it is normal. Store powders in a cool, dry place to help prevent this. If your dye has clumped before you intend to use it, shake the jar thoroughly or use a utensil to break up clumps before measuring.
6) Can you match colors?
We do not mix custom blends to attempt to color match. Dye is not like paint where results can be repeated, dyeing outcomes will always vary. It is nearly impossible to color match dye colors, but you can typically get in the same ballpark. We can give you our opinion on what might be close, but if color matching is what you’re trying to do, test small samples and take note of your exact measurements before proceeding to dye your whole project.
7) How long is dye powder ‘good’?
In theory the dye powders lose strength over time. Perhaps several months to a few years. In our experience the dye powders work well for a long time. We have tested Fiber Reactive Dye from the 1970’s and it still produced a strong bright color decades later.
8) How long is dye mixed into liquid ‘good’?
The shelf life of dye once it is mixed into a liquid is relatively short. Ideally, it is good to follow the traditional thought of using mixed dye within 24 hours of being mixed. However, we have found colors still give great results after being mixed for a week, and some mixed colors can last for longer than a month. If you have old liquid dye and are unsure if it’s still good, the only way to know is to test it on a scrap of cotton and see if the color sticks.
9) How do I dispose of left over dye?
Follow local regulations for proper disposal. In general, left over mixed up liquid dyes can be poured down a drain treated by a wastewater treatment plant. Dye Powders can be disposed of in the trash that is serviced by a landfill. Keep dye powders in the container to avoid mess. Never dispose of dyes by pouring on the ground or into rivers, streams or other bodies of water.
10) Are your dyes “Procion”?
No. But then again, nobody sells true Procion brand dyes anymore, we’re just honest about it. Thirty some years ago when we started selling dye, we were “Procion” dealers. Procion is a brand name. As I type this in 2023, the brand name Procion is owned by a company called Dystar. Dystar is the dye division of Bayer, the big German aspirin company. We used to order Procion dye from Dystar. Many, many years ago Dystar stopped selling dyes under the Procion brand name and so no one can order true Procion brand dyes from Dystar anymore. Procion had 2 types of dyes. Procion MX which were the cold water reactive dyes that most tie dyers and home dyers use and Procion H series dyes which were hot water reactive type dyes. Most of the dyes we sell are “cold water reactive type dyes” which most people know generically as “Procion MX” type dyes. In descriptions on our home page we say we sell Procion MX Type dyes, but we do not label our dyes “Procion MX” because we do not own that trademark.
11) What type of fabric can I dye?
Our dyes are suitable for cellulose, which is plant based fibers. These include Cotton, Linen, Rayon, Bamboo and Hemp. They do not work at all on petroleum based synthetic fabrics, such as Polyester, Nylon or Spandex. On different weaves of cloth such as canvas, it is important to check the fiber content. Canvas is a type of weave and does not automatically indicate the material used. It is also important to know if there is some sort of coating on the fabric, such as waterproofing, as this will prevent the dye from penetrating the fabric.
12) How much dye do I need?
Refer to our page here on ‘How much Dye Do I Need’
13) Does the color of the fabric I’m dying affect dye colors?
Yes, the base color of the fabric will affect the end results. This is more important to note when dealing with fabrics that start as bright colors (yellow, blue, purple etc.) and not as important when dealing with unbleached cotton/ beige-ish fabrics. Dye is not like paint that will cover up what is already there. It will blend with the color on the fabric. For example, if you take a blue shirt and put red dye on it, the end results will be purple. It is also important to note that dye will not hide things such as stains or sun damage for this same reason. The color will blend with whatever it is put on, so stains will still look like stains, albeit colorful stains.
14) Are the other chemicals (Dye Fixer, Urea etc.) Important?
Dye fixer (Our name for Soda Ash) is essential. Our dyes will not work without a Soda Ash Dye Fixer. Urea is usually used but is not absolutely essential like Soda Ash. All other auxiliary chemicals (Ludigol, Sodium Alginate, Water Softener etc) are not absolutely necessary but can help with results. Refer to product pages to learn what these products do and if they would be important for your project.
15) My Dye powder doesn’t look like the color I’m expecting.
Dye powders appear different when dry. They also appear different when mixed into a liquid. The color you end up with may differ from photographs of that color, as your mixing strength is up to you, and photographs don’t capture all the nuance of a color. The true color will emerge once the dyeing process is complete. If you need to find out what the end result will be at your desired strength, complete the dyeing process on a small sample swatch before proceeding with your project.
16) Can I use your “Ice Dye Kaleidoscope” colors without ice/Can I use other colors with ice?
Yes. Avoid colors with the word ‘Cheap’ in the name, as these are much more temperature sensitive than other colors