Our Dyes and Their Uses

Colorado Wholesale Dye Corp.
Grateful Dyes, Inc.
5682 S Cedar St.
Littleton, CO 80120
Fax (810)454-4591

Our Dyes and their uses
Currently we specialize in Reactive type dyes.

Dyers all over the world use our dyes. Our customers use our dye in many different ways - tie dye, batik, solid color, vat, patterns, textures and more can be achieved using our dyes in different ways.

What are Fiber Reactive Dyes? Reactive dyes are the absolute best type of dyes for fabrics or fibers made from plant materials. Plant materials means anything that came from a plant, including; Cotton, Linen, Rayon, Hemp, Paper, Jute, etc. The dyes also work well on silk. They are not made for Nylon or Wool, and they don’t work at all on Polyester.  The dye attaches itself to the fabric via a chemical reaction, where the dye actually becomes part of the fabric. Once the cotton or other plant material fabric or fiber is correctly dyed, and once all loose dye is removed, the dyed fabric or fiber is colorfast and washfast. Our dyes are ‘cold water dyes’ which in the world of dyes really means these dyes work best in warm water.

One of the most common uses for our dyes is tie dyeing. We teach tie dyeing using the “Direct Application” method. Direct application dyeing is a process where dye is mixed in small, concentrated batches. The dye is than applied directly to the fabric - squirted, painted, poured or sponged with tools such as pipettes (big plastic eye dropper type tools), squeeze bottles, sponges, stamps or paint brushes. You can find our instructions for Direct Application Tie Dye later in this packet.

Chemicals used with reactive type dyes
Dye Fixer is a chemical called Sodium Carbonate or Soda Ash. It is the most essential chemical in our dyeing process, because it causes the chemical reaction that makes these dyes become part of the fabric. These dyes will not work without the use of Dye Fixer.  In direct application dyeing, the fabric is first soaked in a solution of dye fixer dissolved in water. For direct application dyeing, we estimate one pound of Dye Fixer will prepare approximately 20 adult t-shirts. When used for solid color dyeing, the Dye Fixer is added to the dye bath near the end of the dyeing process. For solid color dyeing, one pound of Dye Fixer will color approximately 6 pounds of dry fabric.

Urea is used in tie dyeing, or other direct application dyeing. It is generally not used in solid color dyeing. Moisture is an important component of the chemical reaction process with these dyes. Urea helps draw moisture to the chemical reaction, helping the dye penetrate the fabric. Urea also helps large amounts of dye dissolve in small amounts of water. We estimate that one pound of Urea will prepare enough chemical water to tie-dye about 16 to 18 t-shirts. 5 pounds will therefore prepare enough for about 80 shirts.

Ludigol is used in tie dyeing or other direct application dyeing. It is generally not used in solid color dyeing. Reactive type dyes slowly break down once they’re mixed with water, and over time the dye becomes less effective. Soon the dye solution will lose all effectiveness. Ludigol is added to the dye to keep the dye from breaking down in the water at higher. Ludigol keeps the dye fresher longer, and allows more dye to react with the fabric, helping the colors to come out brighter. We estimate that two ounces of ludigol will prepare enough chemical water to tie-dye about 60 t-shirts. Therefore, an eight ounce bag will prepare enough for around 240 t-shirts.

Water Softener is used in both tie-dye and solid color dyeing. Dyes simply work better in soft water. One eight ounce bag of water softener will tie dye approximately 160 t-shirts.

Sodium Alginate is used to thicken dye mixtures for hand painting and silk screening. Most of our customers do not use Sodium Alginate unless they have a specific reason for thicker dye mixtures. Two ounces of Sodium Alginate will thicken about eight quarts of water to a hand painting consistency.

Synthrapol Detergent is a very concentrated and sudsy detergent. It is used to wash out loose dye after the fabric is dyed. Synthrapol helps keep dyes from staining other areas of the fabric. Using Synthrapol is the best way to ensure that your colors stay pure during wash out, and that your white areas remain relatively white. One 16 ounce bottle of Synthrapol can wash from 8 to 24 wash loads.

How much dye do I need?

In dyeing, especially with reactive type dyes, the key to getting the shade you desire is to use the proper amount of dye. Deep shades require a larger amount of dye. Light or pastel shades require small amounts of dye. To achieve deep, dark, or bright shades, using relatively heavy dye concentrations on large adult sized shirts, we recommend buying one ounce of dye for every four shirts you wish to dye. You can divide the amount of dye you need into different ounce increments- for example, the 24 ounces needed for 96 t-shirts can be divided in many ways; 3 different colors in a 8 ounce size, 6 different colors in a 4 ounce size, 12 different colors in a 2 oz size, or a combination of sizes. We offer dyes in 1 oz, 2 oz, 4 oz, 8 oz, 1 lb (16 oz) and 5+ lb sizes.

For Solid color or Vat dyeing: the traditional rule of thumb is that one ounce of dye will color two pounds of fabric to a medium shade. To achieve deep shades requires much more dye, requiring from one to four ounces per pound of dry fabric. Light or pastel shades require small amounts of dye. One ounce of dye could color 4, 8, 16, 24 or more pounds of dry fabric depending upon how light or pastel a shade desired.

Please feel free to call us if you have any questions regarding your dye project.

Colorado Wholesale Dye, Corp.
Grateful Dyes, Inc.
5682 S Cedar St
Littleton, CO 80120