painting cotton/lyrca
  • My daughters are dancers and I've been asked to figure out how to dye cotton/lycra leotards. I've determined that I should handpaint the colors onto the fabric but I'm not sure what is the best dye technique to use.

    I'm only familiar with using koolaid to dye 100% wool yarn.

    Any suggestions or directions to book or internet resources would be helpful.

    Thanks,
    Kim
  • My daughters are dancers and I've been asked to figure out how to dye cotton/lycra leotards. I've determined that I should handpaint the colors onto the fabric but I'm not sure what is the best dye technique to use.

    I'm only familiar with using koolaid to dye 100% wool yarn.

    Any suggestions or directions to book or internet resources would be helpful.
    With cotton/spandex blends, it is best to dye the cotton and ignore the spandex; since cotton is usually wrapped around the spandex threads, covering them, this gives excellent results. Since Lycra can't tolerate high temperatures, you'll be best off with a cool water fiber reactive dye, such as Procion MX dye. Instead of heat, this dye is fixed with soda ash. (It can also be fixed with baking soda, but only if you then heat-fix by steaming, which is more trouble and will damage spandex.) It's easy to use in many different ways - solid colors, low water immersion, tie-dyeing, and painting.

    For painting with Procion MX dye, you can use unthickened dyes, just dissolved in water with urea, like watercolor, or you can use a dye thickener such as sodium alginate or Superclear, to give your dye mixtures the thick texture of paint. You can presoak the fabric in soda ash, or you can mix soda ash with the dye paint just before use, or you can after-fix with an alternative chemical, sodium silicate.

    Examine the Jacquard instructions for using Procion MX dye, and check out my website about dyes.

    Paula
  • I read about the topic in a magazine called "Smart Photography" where the writer ridiculed the argument made by a few painters folk that photography in itself is an "un-artistic art" because it uses modern technology to illustrate the artist's creativity. I see this as an endless debate. Is painting a "higher" form of art than photography? Does considering photography an art be little the importance of life-like painting as an art? Your views are welcome. Thanks.