Drying time and Vinyl Sulphone Dyes
  • I just started painting with Vinyl Sulphone dyes and have a few questions. I am painting two yard pieces stretched on a frame. My process is very wet, color intense and I use some salt. I've done this process with French dyes and with Red Label and I never had to wait for very long for my pieces to dry. The Vinyl Sulphone dyes are taking many hours to dry. I live in the desert and humidity is not an issue. Can I decrease the urea in the chem water? Also, my fabric is a devore velvet and is a silk-rayon blend. What is the best fixative, baking soda or soda ash? I'd really appreciate your thoughts on this.
  • Vinyl sulfone dyes are the same thing as the Red Label dyes, though the Vinyl Sulphon dye line is more concentrated. Your problem must be something else in your recipe.

    Urea is used specifically in order to keep dye from drying too quickly. For room-temperature dye-fiber reactions, it is important to keep the fabric moist long enough for the dye to react. However, if you are steaming your work to set the dye, the dye reaction will take place during the steaming process, and moisture will be provided by the steam itself, so it's not necessary to use the urea to keep the dyes from drying quickly.

    Baking soda works well as a dye fixative only at high heat. During the steaming process, the heat of the steam converts baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to soda ash (sodium carbonate), which increases the pH considerably. Without steaming, the pH of baking soda is too low for it to serve well as a dye fixative.

    The vinyl sulfone dyes will fix well to the silk backing of your fabric when steamed even if you use no dye fixative at all, but the rayon plush, being a cellulose fiber, requires a high pH.

  • Paula,

    Thanks for the info. I do steam set, so I don't actually need the urea in my recipe. I would need the baking soda to get the high PH to color the rayon content in the velvet devore. I use an alcohol and distilled water dilutant when I paint with Red Label and I find that it I get a good salt effect with it. I like a highly textured background and, as both dyes are basically the same, I could try that as my dilutant with the more concentrated Vinyl Solfone. The salt texture that I had with the urea, ludigol and baking soda recipe was lost after steam setting. It just simply looked spotty. How does ludigol fit into all this? Also, will the baking soda or ludigol impede the salt textures that I'm looking for?

    Virginia Louise