batch drying question
  • hi! i am newbie here and have just begun attempts at silkscreening the procion mx dyes. my first attempt was not greatly successful. it worked ok. i let it air dry and then put them in the dryer, wetting the shirts where they were not painted a little bit. i didn't have problems with them running but they did not really seem to set. one did and one didn't one ran and ran. i washed it over 5 times and the other just once before they stopped running. of course the dye was much duller than i intended then. i would like to continue trying to work with the dye and it seems that the batch drying method really is the one that works the best. for the other shirts, i even steam ironed them after the drying and for a few steamed them. none of this seems to really have helped.

    i want to batch set the next attempt. and i was wondering, i have large sheets of plastic. wouldn't it work if i laid shirts in the plastic and wrapped them up in it so that they were completely wrapped and let them set for 24 hrs? i am nervous about bundling my wet fabric, it might mess it up somehow.

    how much difference should it make if i let it sit for 12, 24, or 48 hours? can you let it sit for too long? thank you, janet
  • Are you using soda ash at any point in this process?

    Procion MX dyes require several things to react with the fabric:
    • 100% cotton (or other natural fiber) which is not stain resistant
    • moisture
    • soda ash or other source of high pH
    • warmth (70°F or above, overnight, or warmer for shorter periods of time)

    Oven-setting is far from ideal, because it is dry heat, and the dye cannot react with the fiber if it is dry. However, urea can be used as a humectant to retain moisture even in the oven. Oven heating should not be necessary with "cool water" dyes such as Procion MX, unless your house or studio is very cold, because temperatures of 70°F and above are adequate, if you let the dye sit on the fabric overnight.

    Some of the dye will not react with the fiber and will wash off, and dye always looks darker when it is still wet, so you need to apply more dye, to a more intense color, than you want in your final results.

    If you use urea in your dye mixtures, you do not have to use plastic wrap, because urea can retain enough moisture to allow the reaction to proceed. Use one tablespoon (15 ml) per cup of water (250 ml) for mixing your dye.

    When you wash off the excess unattached dye, be sure to start with one cool water washing to remove all auxiliary chemicals, then switch to HOT water (140°F or above) for all subsequent washings, for more efficient wash-off.

  • i used baking soda and urea in my dye on washed and dried cotton shirts.

    why is it recommended to let the fabric air dry and then dry it in the dryer if the dye only reacts when it is wet? then this method can't possibly do anything. is there an answer?

    but to review your answer to my post, i believe you are saying that if i put urea in my dye mix then it will be sufficient to leave the fabric unwrapped?it dries in a few hours. that is what i did last time and i had major problems with the dye setting. i will wrap the fabric in plastic (it is not particularly hot or cold here yet) for 24 hours. i want to make sure, that will set the dye? i just don't want to have the same problem i had last time. how much rinsing is average? five minutes?

    is there a chemical reaction that causes heat when the dye sets?

    thanks for your help, janet
  • Hi,

    It is better to use soda ash then baking soda. Also by wrapping the fabric up you are slowing down the drying process and that enables the chemicle reaction to take place. MX dyes tend to set better with heat and or steam is applied but this can be avoided if you use urea and wrap the fabric after drying in plastic. Rinse until the water runs clear.

  • i was told that if i tried to print on a shirt that was treated with soda ash that the dye would tend to bleed. that would be a disaster. is this not so?