JetBlack came out Light Gray :S
  • Starting out with my white cotton sweatshirt, I followed the instructions on my bottle of Jet Black dye (Procion MX), and used 2 tablespoons for 3 gallons of cold water, mixed with 2 cups of salt (that's a LOT of salt), then stirred with fabric for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, added 1/3 cup of dissolved soda ash, and stirred for 50 minutes. After rinsing it, though, my sweatshirt came out a light gray instead of black. Any idea's? I thought that I might end up with a charcoal colour, but never something this light!

    -Josh

    Oh, if it matters or not, the bottle of dye powder is several years old (we think)
  • It looks as though maybe you should have used more dye, depending on how big your sweatshirt is. A large sweatshirt may weigh as much as two pounds. Always weigh your garment before attempting to dye it (weigh it dry).

    For immersion dyeing, in a good rule of thumb, one pound of 100% cotton fabric requires one teaspoon (5 ml) of dye powder for a pale color, one tablespoon (15 ml) for a medium color, two tablespoons for a dark color, or four tablespoons of dye for black. Black always requires a lot more dye powder than any other color! Jacquard's instructions are similar; they say to use three tablespoons of dye powder to dye one pound of cotton black; correct as needed for the actual number of pounds your sweatshirt weighs. So, how much does your shirt weigh?

    To immersion-dye a two-pound sweatshirt black, then, you should use six to eight tablespoons of dye; if it's a small child's sweatshirt that weighs only eight ounces, you can use as little as two tablespoons of dye powder. It always depends on the total weight of the dry fabric before dyeing.

    Here are some other factors that could have resulted in paler colors than you wanted:

    1. The dye powder might very well have been too old. Usually reactive dye lasts one or two years after purchase, though sometimes a very fresh batch will last much longer than that.

    2. Your dyeing temperature might have been too cool (should be 70°F or higher; that's 21°C).

    3. Your cotton sweatshirt may have been 50% poly/50% cotton; sometimes the labels are wrong.

    4. Your sweatshirt may have been wrinkle-resistant or stain-resistant, which would make it resist dye, as well.

    At this point, the most likely culprits would appear to be either the amount of dye powder or the age of the dye, but if it's winter where you are, cool temperatures are also not unlikely.

    Paula
  • We love you, Paula!
    anet
  • Thanks for the reply!
    Well, the instructions on my container of dye called for cold/cool water, and we're on a well so our groundwater was fairly cold. It's a medium-sized sweatshirt, so should I shoot for 4 tablespoons of dye next try?
    As for stain-resistance, I'm not sure (I can no longer read the label on it's collar :P ) but that's what my parents are guessing at.

    One last note, under artificial lighting (fluorescent/incandescent lighting) dye appears green, about the shade of pea-soup. In natural light (sunlight) however, it shows as gray. Is there a reason for this, and will it persist if I dye it a darker shade?

    Thanks,
    Josh