Silk Dyes (Red Label) for Immersion Dyeing
  • Hello,

    I would like to ask if Silk Dyes (Red Label) are suitable for immersion dyeing, and if so, are there any instructions available?

    Thank you, Puffin
  • Puffin said:
    I would like to ask if Silk Dyes (Red Label) are suitable for immersion dyeing, and if so, are there any instructions available?
    I love to use the same dyes that are in most of the Jacquard Red Label Silk Colors for low water immersion dyeing, on silk, rayon, or cotton. I'm finding the liquid dyes to be more convenient than powdered dyes, since there's no need to worry about whether I might be sending airborne dots of powder across my kitchen, and they are less trouble overall to use. This is excellent when I am dyeing in a hurry and don't want to do as much to prepare the room first. The vinyl sulfone dyes (also known as Remazol dyes) are reactive dyes, like Procion MX dyes, so they are permanent on the fabric. They can even be used as true reactive dyes for wool, which makes them more washfast than acid dyes.

    How much dye to use? I haven't tried Jacquard's brand yet, so I don't know exactly what quantity of the dye to use for immersion dyeing, and I don't know how much the color of the pre-mixed dye colors will shift on rayon or cotton as opposed to silk. I've been waiting for far too long on an order from a retailer that apparently had to special order the Red Label dyes, but they never followed through, though in my follow-up phone call they told me they would. (I won't mention the dye seller's name here because I expect that this is an aberration for them and that they are usually more efficient. I need to order from another retailer now.)

    I use a small amount of dye diluted in one or two cups of water, or whatever volume is needed to almost cover the piece I'm dyeing, after cramming it tightly into a small container (since I want variations in color, not a single solid shade, which would require a higher volume of water). I add soda ash (anhydrous sodium carbonate) as my auxiliary, one teaspoon per cup (5 ml per 250 ml) of final volume of water. The optimal dye reaction temperature for the vinyl sulfone dyes is higher than that for Procion MX dyes, ideally between 104° and 140°F, so a little extra warmth is helpful for the reaction. There are a lot of different ways to add warmth to the dye reaction; I like to cover the container tightly with plastic wrap and microwave it just until it is very hot, watching very carefully to make sure that steam does not blow the plastic wrap off, then let it cool gradually for a while before rinsing out. Immersion dyeing wool is different, done at a boil for 45 minutes with the addition of a little acid, since the high pH of the soda ash recipe is very damaging to wool.

    My page "Vinyl Sulfone Fiber Reactive Dyes" gives more information about this wonderful class of reactive dyes.

    Paula
  • Dear Paula,



    Thank you for your reply. Yes, I often visit your excellent web site and have read your explanation of Vinyl Sulfone Dyes. Actually, this is why I decided to post the question. At the present time, I am trying to work mostly with silk and low immersion dying will meet my needs just fine.



    I do believe many people would prefer liquid to powder dyes when ever possible. Unfortunately, Jacquard marketing does not seem to keen on promoting the Red Label, judging from the fact that there is not even dischargeability table of individual colors posted on their web site, although there is one for acid dyes.

    In all, Jacquard claims the Red Label is geared for the use by ‘professionals’, what ever that really means. It is also unfortunate, that the Red Label is not more readily available, because it is probably an excellent product.



    Nevertheless, I would love to know if Red Label it is as concentrated as other Remazol dyes available on the market. But even for pastel colors or some Shibori techniques, for instance, it may be a good way to go.



    Paula, I know you have answered this question 100 times, but may I ask again? Is there any ‘chemica’l reason why you could not use citric acid instead of soda ash when dying silk with Remazols?



    Puffin
  • Puffin said:
    there is not even dischargeability table of individual colors posted on their web site, although there is one for acid dyes.
    Keep in mind that many dye companies aren't providing that much. I was very surprised and pleased to see that information when it appeared on their web site. It's generally so difficult to obtain any information about a dye. Compare to Cushing, say, or Dylon; it's one of the main reasons why I'll probably never buy any Cushing brand dye, because I so like to know what I'm using. Perhaps if they get a good response to the information currently posted, we can hope to see more in the future.

    Paula, I know you have answered this question 100 times, but may I ask again? Is there any ‘chemical’ reason why you could not use citric acid instead of soda ash when dying silk with Remazols?
    Remazol dyes look a lot like Procion MX and the other fiber reactive dyes, in the chemical structure of their chromophore section, so I think they ought to work as acid dyes, with properties varying fairly unpredictably from one dye to another, just like the Procion MX dyes, when used according to your usual acid dye immersion recipes for silk. For example, Procion blue MX-R (medium blue) is chemically very similar to Red Label 722 Royal Blue, except for the reactive section. I haven't tried it myself, though. I don't mind the softening effect of soda ash on silk, and I really like having the maximum degree of washfastness, from using them as fiber reactive dyes.

    They probably won't work well as fiber reactive dyes if you give them only a little warmth, like I've been doing with my rayons in the microwave. The 'masking group' that prevents the dye from reacting with the water can be removed by a high pH, as with soda ash, or at a near-neutral pH with extended heating; it won't come off at acid pH at room temperature, if I'm reading John Shore correctly. The only recipe I've seen for immersion-dyeing under acid conditions involves simmering wool for 45 minutes; I'm not sure how long it really takes. The steaming instructions for silk say a minimum of forty-five minutes.

    Paula
  • Hey there Paula and Puffin!

    I love this discussion---Just what we need on this forum!

    Just wanted to weigh in on a couple of points--

    "... I would love to know if Red Label it is as concentrated as other Remazol dyes available on the market."

    I found this info for you (although I didn't find it on the website) Most colors are diluted 1:2 to 1:4 with water for deep shades. Deep black is diluted 1:1. I don't know how that compares to other dyes on the market, but hopefully it's some kind of guideline for you.

    As far as dischargability is concerned I spoke to our tech guy and found that we don't have that information worked up. It is not currently on his "to do" list. For all the folks out there reading this, I am interested to know how many of you would like this information--I'm not promising that I can make it happen soon, but we do want to improve the website to meet our customer's needs. In the meantime it's down to my #1 rule of thumb--experiment!!

    Noelle
  • Noelle said:
    I found this info for you (although I didn't find it on the website) Most colors are diluted 1:2 to 1:4 with water for deep shades. Deep black is diluted 1:1. I don't know how that compares to other dyes on the market, but hopefully it's some kind of guideline for you.
    That's how much they are already diluted in the bottle when you buy them, right? So the black is 50% dye, by weight, and the other colors are 20% to 33% dye, by weight? (Or was that a guideline as to how much additionally to dilute dye colors out of the bottle for use?)

    That looks pretty close to my other source, some of whose colors are 25% strength, and some, including black, are 50% strength. I'm very happy with the dyes of this sort that I already have, but I need to get Jacquard's Red Label dyes as well, because some of them are different dyes. I'm particularly interested in trying Reactive Violet 5, which is Red Label 718 Purple. Of course one can always mix a purple from magenta plus blue, but the properties and brilliancy of mixtures are not always the same as the single-hue dyes. I can't do without the unmixed purples in the Procion MX line (including reactive violet 14, which is Jacquard's Procion MX 231 Violet).

    Do the Jacquard Green Label dyes contain the same types of dye as the Red Label dyes, or are they different dyes?

    Paula
  • Hi Paula,

    Those ratios are for diluting out of the bottle in preparation for painting.

    The Green Label dyes are the same dyestuffs at 50% strength and acidified.

    Do you have trouble finding Red Label dyes?
    Noelle
  • Paula,

    oops, I overlooked the ‘masking group’ fundamentals. Thank you, for your patience and the willingness to explain it to me, again.

    I phoned Fabrics to Dye For, Rhode Island and they have a few - but not all - colors in stock. E-mail [email="Jennifer@fabricstodyefor.com"]Jennifer@fabricstodyefor.com[/email]


    Noelle, I too would be interested in purchasing the most concentrated dyes to test the immersion method. Can you please suggest a few colors?


    Puffin
  • Hmm, Reactive violet 5 in Red Label sounds like a winner. Thank you Paula.
  • Dharma Trading can special order Red Label colors for you--They order VERY regularly from us so hopefully they could give you quick turn around.

    Here is the link to the Red Label page, although don't expect any info but pricing on that. They don't list the colors or any details. (remember the red label and green label are available in the same colors, so you can just reference the green label color #)

    http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/3770632-AA.shtml#details

    If I find any other distributors that carry Red Label in stock I'll post it.

    As far as color recommendations???? That's a toughie---so subjective you know. The pat answer is start out with 'primaries' but even that can be a matter of taste: the 'primaries' in our tie dye kit are yellow, turquoise and magenta. Sometimes I think turquiose is a bit over the top.

    Paula does a lot more dyeing than I do.
    What's your opinion Paula?

    Noelle
  • I usually choose unmixed colors as my mixing primaries, since it makes the very brightest colors possible, and duller colors can always be achieved by adding the third color from the primary triad. In general I like either turquoise or blue for one of the three, depending on how I feel that day. I prefer the cleanest yellow, without a touch of golden yellow, and I prefer a blue-red rather than a true red for the other primary.

    In the case of the Jacquard Red Label colors, I don't know whether I have yet tried either of the yellows, as they're not specified on my list of unmixed single-hue dyes for either Jacquard or my other supplier. (I don't know what's going on.) The 722 Royal Blue is a lovely royal blue that is certainly suitable for color mixing; incidentally, it is the second-most popular reactive dye in the world. (The number-one most popular reactive dye in the world, as of 1995, based on market share, is reactive black 5, which is found in 759 Black.) The 715 Magenta certainly appears to be a suitable color, but I don't know yet how well it will work at the lower temperatures I've been using, since it's actually a Procion H-E type dye whose optimal immersion dyeing temperature might be 80°C (175°F).

    The Jacquard 'Primary Colors Mixing Chart' calls for yellow, magenta, cyan, and black—mostly likely 703 Yellow, 715 Magenta, 725 Cyan, and 759 Black—as the mixing primaries. I imagine that this cyan is a mixed color. The chip for it in the color chart does not look as bright as other turquoises I have used. I recently ordered some Red Label dyes from jalts.com, but there hasn't been enough time for my order to ship yet.

    Paula
  • Paula, I need to check your web site again, to see if there is a Table describing type of dyes for Red Label. You are a peach, making learning sooooo much easier.

    My experience is only with Green Label and YES, Cyan seems to have a touch of Red in it, which kind of grays out greens, so sometimes I use turquoise too.


    I was trying to mix Green Label primaries – Cyan – Magenta – Yellow 703 using the DIC system but did NOT get the same hues as illustrated in the book’ Color Harmony by H. Chijiiwa’. Sometimes, not even close. I even tried to substitute Turquoise for Cyan, no help. I used drops for mixing and that is most likely not accurate enough? Nevertheless, I got some very pleasant colors which I would not have otherwise discovered.


    I will also pass this info onto my friend. He is an excellent artist. Not too long ago, I decided to send him a few Jacquard Green Label colors with silk and he loves it. Eventually, he also wants to do a large 5’x7” piece in silk combining shibori/painting techniques.


    (Side note: am getting a new front-load washer tomorrow and now I wonder if I can use Synthrapol in it. These machines use special HE soaps).
  • Noelle,

    am so sorry. I did not make my question clear. I guess, I just wanted a name of a couple of Red Label (Remazol ) colors -any colors - with concentration ratio 1:4. (1 color : 4 water). Puffin
  • Puffin said:
    I was trying to mix Green Label primaries – Cyan – Magenta – Yellow 703 using the DIC system but did NOT get the same hues as illustrated in the book’ Color Harmony by H. Chijiiwa’. Sometimes, not even close. I even tried to substitute Turquoise for Cyan, no help. I used drops for mixing and that is most likely not accurate enough? Nevertheless, I got some very pleasant colors which I would not have otherwise discovered.
    Drops can be accurate enough, I think. The trouble with using any system that was devised for a different type of dye (or ink, or paint) is not only that the colors are a little different, but also they can be wildly different in strength. If you use the same number of drops as is listed in the book, you might be getting twice as much red relative to the amount of blue you're using, or vice versa. Basically, you have to recalibrate your mixing system for every different brand or type of dye/paint/whatever.

    (Side note: am getting a new front-load washer tomorrow and now I wonder if I can use Synthrapol in it. These machines use special HE soaps).
    Whatever you do, don't use the full amount you would use with a top-loader! You could try using a much, much smaller amount; one person said to use no more than 1/4 teaspoon (I don't know if she was overstating the situation). Synthrapol is effective for washing out dye at pretty low concentrations. There is also a LF (low foaming) version of Synthrapol available.

    Paula
  • Paula,

    oops, of course what you are saying makes perfect sense. It shows you how much I know.

    Somehow, I assumed that all processing colors for dyes are standarized.
    Thanks for the tip on Synthrapol.