Procion H or Red Label silk colors?
  • I am trying to decide which product will work for me. I'm very comfortable with MX dyes on cotton, but don't want to deal with the color shifts on silk. I currently have some french dyes I don't like, as they aren't very bold colors and tend to use too much dye on one piece to come out as deeply colored as I'd like. I have some green label, but I'm looking for something more concentrated and stronger.

    So what I'm looking for in my next dye investment is bold colors, no hand left on the fabric, economy (which is why I'm considering H) and consistency, with steaming results and lightfastness and washfastness. I have no problem with steaming or mixing my own colors, so those aren't considerations for me.

    I'll be doing direct application onto silk (8 to 10mm, occasionally charmeuse). Painting, sometimes with gutta, sometimes with soy wax batik. I plan to work on small pieces of yardage...20x20" at most. I like to work on several of these in a batch so I've got fabric to cut up later for projects.

    I want some beautiful colors and to know that I've chosen something perfect for silk... can anyone give a recommendation between these 2?


  • after more research I've found that red label dyes are acid dyes, which will likely be better for silk. The Procion H are fiber reactive and so may not be as good for bold bright colors as the red label. I hope this is the correct info...

    Now to see if I can get some red label dyes.

  • Jacquard Red Label Silk Colors are not acid dyes. They are Remazol type fiber reactive dyes which work on both protein and cellulose fibers. I use them on cotton or rayon at 104°F to 140°F, with soda ash or trisodium phosphate, but they are usually used as silk paints and fixed by steaming.

  • If the red label are a type of fiber reactive dye, what might be the advantage of them over Procion H? Is one easier to use than the other for silk painting?
  • monrea said:
    I am trying to decide which product will work for me. I'm very comfortable with MX dyes on cotton, but don't want to deal with the color shifts on silk.
    If all you want is to get the same colors with MX dyes on silk that you get on cotton, just stick to the pure unmixed single-hue dye colors. These unmixed dyes will produce the exact same hue when used on any equally white natural fiber. Among the Jacquard Procion MX dyes, these are Lemon Yellow, Bright Golden Yellow, Rust Orange, Brilliant Orange, Magenta, Fuchsia, Turquoise, Cerulean, Medium Blue, Cobalt Blue, Violet, and Bright Blue. (Jacquard Procion MX dyes are listed under "Rupert Gibbon and Spider" on my Which Procion MX colors are pure, and which mixtures? chart.)

    Here's a link to a picture of a silk purse and a rayon dress that I dyed to match each other perfectly, using two unmixed Procion MX type dyes in a single low water immersion dyebath.

  • thank you Paula! so if I use just those colors, but mix them to create something else, is that when I could end up with the color shifting? Or would those mixes end up being the same colors if I dropped in a cotton and silk item?
  • With low water immersion, you end up getting some of each pure color unmixed, so the silk and cotton can match. Where they mix, though, one dye will tend to work better than the other, which is what causes the color shift for mixed colors. To get the same hue of aqua on silk as on cotton, for example, using a mix of lemon yellow, cerulean blue, and turquoise, you would need to use a lot more of the cerulean and turquoise on the silk than you do on the cotton, or less of the yellow, to get the same mixed hue at the end.

    I think that any premixed colors of Procion H and Remazol (Jacquard Red Label) dyes are standardized so that they will come out the predicted color on silk, but I'm not sure whether or not you'd get the same color on cotton. It may be the same situation but in reverse as for Procion MX, where all pre-mixed colors have been designed to produced the desired color on cotton (except for ProChem's Silk Black), but will produce different colors on silk.

  • HI!
    I have been using Procion H on silk for many years. Recently, due to a price increase in the liquid H, I researched switching to red label dyes. I have used red label previously.
    The cost difference is considerable. H is cheaper, though it sort of hurts at the outset financially; though red label appears cheaper per bottle it's amazing how much "concentrate" it takes to get deep colors. It's ratio to chemical water is 1:2 or 1:4 depending on the color; by contrast an 8 ounce bottle of H makes 2 gallons of medium shade dye and slightly less of deep colored dye! I use almost exclusively deep colors, and am amazed at how true and beautuful the colors of H is. Totally consistent.
    I steam as well, using an upright steamer. It works great.

    I wouldn't switch to red label for any reason. It just doesn't seem the professional product that H is on any level. I also considered switching to a powdered H-type product made by G&S dyes, but decided the price difference isn't enough to offset the potential health issues of using a powder rather than a liquid. And so much cleaner!
    Good luck and I hope this helps.