Textile Paints Safety
  • I want to use textile paints to create a cotton baby book. When applied to cotton, are the textile paints non-toxic & safe to go into a baby's mouth? Is there info on your website on product safety?
  • (Note that I'm not an employee of Jacquard. This is in no way an official statement. It is only my opinion.)

    For items that will be chewed upon by a baby, the required safety level should be much more stringent than for other art materials. "Non-toxic" art materials are safe for a sensible user to work with, but they are not certified as safe for human consumption. Fabric paints, when chewed upon, are apt to flake off or wear off, in tiny particles; there has been no testing to show that it is safe to eat even tiny fragments, of any brand of textile paint.

    In contrast, when properly applied and washed out, fiber reactive dyes such as Procion MX dyes form a permanent covalent bond with the fabric. If all unattached excess dye is removed after dyeing is complete, by first rinsing in cool water, then soaking and washing in hot water (at least 140°F) until the dyed material passes the hot press test, then there will be no bits of dye coming off into a baby's mouth.

    (The press test requires that you dampen the dyed material, place it between a white wool cloth and a white cotton cloth, and press it with a hot iron until dry. If no color transfers to the white cloths, then all excess unattached dye has been removed, and the fiber reactive dye remaining in the fabric will not come out even upon boiling.)

    Although there has been no safety testing for the oral consumption of Procion MX dyes, they will not flake off of fabric, nor bleed out of the fabric, when chewed upon (assuming that they have been properly applied, fixed, and washed out), so I feel that they are significantly safer and more appropriate for coloring fabric for baby items than other sorts of dye and fabric paint.

    There are two ways you could use Procion MX type dye in preparing a baby book. One is the very popular soft book concept, in which pictures in the book are formed by appliqué and/or piecing together different colors of fabric, the whole being padded and quilted to make it cuddly to hold. The other would be to do dye painting with fiber reactive dye, mixing the dye with water, urea, alginate thickener, and (just before applying) soda ash. Find a reliable recipe for direct dye application and follow it closely. You should do some testing to make sure that your application and washing-out methods are correct enough for your results to pass the hot pressing test described above.

    Paula
  • Paula,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and accurate response to mmhaler3's question!!!!