Fixing with Procion MX dyes
  • Hallo,

    I would like to apply soda ash onto my fabric AFTER I have completed handpainting (with PROCION MX) it.

    Can I just "paint" or Apply soad ash solution onto it?
    I haven't been able to find sodium silicate where I live in Germany.

    Also, in order to skip the slightly hazardous step of mixing the dye powders, I've been thinking of getting the RED label dye solutions from Jacquard. Can I steam set my cotton after I've painted them?
    Comparing both PROCION MX dye powders and RED LABEL, what are the pros and cons?

    Thank you!
  • Hi, to help find an answer to my question, I just wanted to explain my own batik technique.

    I grew up in Southeast asia and always learnt doing batik in such a way we apply fixative AFTER we are done with our cloth. I would like to continue doing that way as I think that doing so allows the dyes to mingle with each other before being "set" onto the fabric.

    However, I can't find any sodium silicate here in Germany (where I recently moved to). And so would really really appreciate some advice as to how I can do this with soda ash?

    Would it be ok if I "painted" the soda ash onto my finished pieces?

    Normally at home we also "brush-rub" the fixative into pieces on which cracking has been done. Can I do this with soda ash?

    Please help!

    Thank you!
  • If you apply soda ash to your Procion MX dye batiks, perhaps by using a hand-held sprayer to apply the soda ash solution, the colors are likely to run into one another a bit, because of the water. Will that be okay for the projects you are working on?

    You can reduce the solubility of the dyes in your fixing solution by adding as much ordinary table salt (sodium chloride) as can possibly be dissolved in it. If there is a little salt left undissolved at the bottom, you can be sure you have enough.

    The advantages of Procion MX dyes over Remazol dyes are two: Procion MX dyes are cheaper (at least when purchased in two-ounce or larger jars in the US), and they react better at room temperature. Remazol dyes will work well with a little extra warmth on cotton, as long as you use a high-pH chemical such as soda ash or trisodium phosphate. If you are going to be steaming your Remazol dyes on cotton, you can probably get by with using sodium bicarbonate or baking soda (NaHCO3) instead of soda ash, because it changes to soda ash if steamed or baked for enough time. Better test this first with something quick and easy before trying a time-intensive project, though.

  • Hallo Ms Burch! I've read your column on the Internet and just wanted to let you know that they've been really helpful! I just have a few more questions....

    Based on what you suggested, would it be ok if i allow the Procion
    Mx dyes to DRY FIRST before I apply the soda ash solution (this is just typically what we do at home, wait for the dye to dry and then apply sodium silicate)?
    Would this prevent the running of the colours into each other while fixing with soda ash?
    Would this be dangerous when the dye dries on the cloth ( does the dye return to pigment powder when it dries on the fabric?)

    If I spray the salt concentrated soda ash onto the fabric, should I warm up the soda ash solution so that I can dissolve more salt in? If so, how warm am I allowed to do this till?
    Similarly with the Procion dye powders, I don't want to "damage" the dyes when I dissolve them in water, so should I use warm water? If so, how warm is ok?

    If I do the typical application of soda ash onto the cloth first, will there be some problems if I then apply hot wax on it? (I've never tried applying wax on a cloth with soda ash on it.)

    Also, do you know of any particular brands of Sodium silicate being sold as fixative?

    Thanks so much!
  • A few more questions please...

    I would like to Pre-mix soda ash solution first and keep it stalled. Is this possible or would it better if I always make it fresh?

    If I do dissolve salt in my soda ash solution, can this be made to keep as well?

    Thank you!