How to remove unexposed dye from Solarfast prints
  • I have been experimenting with printing from photographic litho negatives onto fabric. I've discovered that printing when the fabric is wet results in a poorly exposed or blotchy print because moisture condenses under the glass used to hold the negative down. I get much better exposure results, fantastic in some cases, if I paint the dye on first and allow it to dry in a dark place or use a blow dryer. However when I do that, I cannot get all the dye to wash out of the unexposed areas, resulting in a monochromatic scale in the picture. It's not unpleasing in most cases but sometimes I really want the background fabric to stay the original white (or whatever). I am washing immediately in the machine using your fabric wash so not sure what else I can do to solve this problem???
  • Hi Diver,

    Couple of things: Regarding the blotchy print you are getting with the wet dye - I have found that thorough blotting of the dye before putting the negative onto the piece is vitally important. Excess dye does attach to the negative and creates the blotchiness and uneven exposure you are seeing. Try the blotting and see what your results are.
    As for the scale you are getting, there are a couple of factors that could be contributing to this. It is possible that your negatives are not sufficiently dark to give you the clear background color (or lack of color) you are looking for. Another factor may be that even though not exposed to light there may be some 'setting' of the dye to the fabric during the drying process which then will not release from the fabric.
    I'd suggest trying the blotting and exposing the print while wet. This may take care of the problem.

    and thanks for writing in - we love hearing what folks are doing with the SolarFast dyes - and love helping to trouble shoot issues.

    annette
  • Hi Diver,

    I spoke with one of my co-horts and he had a couple more suggestions. Boiling the piece in water with some soda ash (a gallon of water and 1/4 cup soda ash would be sufficient) would help to remove unexposed dyes. He also suggested not letting the dye dry completely and to avoid using the blow dryer as ways to mitigate the 'pre-setting' of the dyes.
    And one question: which color dyes are you using?

    annette