Turning Acid Dye Into Paint
  • Hi,

    I've dyed some ostrich feathers but the dye hasn't taken to the stem so well. Do you know if the Jaquard Acid Dyes can be turned into a paint so I can apply it to the stem with a brush? Also, do you think it would be better to do this once the feather has dried or, beforehand?

    Many thanks,

    Gary
  • Hi Gary,
    This is a common problem with feathers. Acid Dyes need to be quite hot for good color yield, and this is especially true of feathers. The quill or stem of a feather is even more challenging (almost like trying to dye your fingernails!). So unfortunately I can't really recommend an effective way of painting on your acid dyes (if you were working on fabric, it would be a different story). I think you'll have much better success using a paint. Dye-Na-Flow is the paint I would recommend (http://www.jacquardproducts.com/dye-na-flow.html). Dye-na-Flow is a fluid pigmented system that is meant to simulate a dye. It is perfect for situations like this, where a true dye is essentially ineffective... Just brush it on and let it dry. For increased washibility, you can heat set the paint with a dry iron or heat gun.
    I hope that helps!
    Asher
  • Thank you. That's really helpful. I'll give that a go (with some airfix also) and hopefully that will work. :)
  • Hi again Asher,

    I've just tried this on a feather and when it dried it went all stiff and couldn't be fluffed up (which I can do when an acid dye is used). Is there any way dye-na-flow can be used on the whole feather so it doesn't make it stiff after it's dried?

    Thanks again,

    Gary
  • Hi Gary,
    Have you washed the feathers after you painted them? Generally speaking, Dye-Na-Flow will leave a stiff hand when it dries, but will become soft after washing.This is at least true on fabric. Make sure your paint is totally dry and set (with dry heat or Airfix http://www.jacquardproducts.com/airfix.html) and then wash the feathers in warm to cool water. Using Synthrapol can also help (http://www.jacquardproducts.com/synthrapol.html) remove excess paint and soften the hand... Washing might just do the trick! No paint will ever be as soft as a dye, however, although DNF is definitely the softest you'll find... I'd recommend washing the feathers to see if that helps. If is doesn't, you might try using Pinata Colors (http://www.jacquardproducts.com/pinata-alcohol-ink.html), at least on the quills... You might consider just using DNF for the quill of the feather: dye the feather in an acid dye, and only use the paint where the dye was ineffective...
    I hope this helps... Let me know. If not, maybe we can come up with a better solution...
    Asher