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Acid dye: Powdered dye, colorfast for protein and nylon fibers only. Acid dyes contain anionic functional groups like sulphonic acid. They are attracted to positively charged amino groups on polyamide fibers like wool, silk and nylon. Only two colors--black and grey--are premetallized. The only "acid" is the white vinegar or (citric acid) used to fix the dye.

Acidify: To lower the pH of a solution, such as when adding vinegar or citric acid to a dye bath.

Acrylic: A versatile thermoplastic that emerged in the late 1950's. It is used as a binder in water-based paints and inks. Acrylic fabric paints usually require heat setting for permanence on textiles. It is also used to make soft and durable fibers used for yarns, velvets and carpeting. Jacquard Basic Dyes work best on this type of material.

Alkalid: An alkali or base is a proton acceptor. Examples of alkalis used in dyeing include household  ammonia, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), washing soda/soda ash (sodium carbonate).  Lye (or sodium hydroxide, NaOH) is not recommended for the home dyer, as it poses some health risks. Ammonia should be used with a fume hood.

Alum: Often used as a mordant when marbling to make the paint stick to the fabric or paper. Also used as a mordant for natural dyes. Jacquard Alum is a salt of aluminum known as aluminum sulfate.

Antifusant: A substance used to treat the surface of a fabric to inhibit bleeding or spreading of liquid dyes or paints. The traditional antifusant is gutta dissolved in an organic solvent such as naphtha. Because of the issues associated with working with solvents (toxicity, fumes, etc), water-based antifusants are now common. Jacquard produces a highly effective antifusant called No Flow.

Archivable: An archival material should have a neutral or slightly alkaline pH; it should also have good aging properties. Archival materials are stable. They do not break down over time, at least ostensibly.

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Back Stain: Backstaining occurs when loose dye particles stain fabrics during rinsing. There are a number of ways around it, including the use of Synthrapol as a detergent and diluting concentrated dyes before application. Color removers may be used (with caution!) to remove backstaining. 

Basic dye: 8 colors for hard-to-dye substrates. The main differences between Basic Dye and PMX : 1-Basic Dyes are stronger, 2-Basic Dye has more affinity for the substrate (this is always the ‘big’ issue when dyeing), 3-Basic Dye is soluble in ‘turps’ and also in water, Procion MX only in water. However, basic dyes are typically less colorfast than PMX dyes.

Batik: The technique of using hot wax as a resist. Typically, hot wax is  applied with a Tjanting tool--a drawing instrument with a cup and spout from which molten wax is poured onto fabric in a design. Dye is then applied in progressive layers over the wax (progressing from light to dark hues). Batik is traditionally done on either cotton or silk, or other natural fibers. A cool water dye such as Jacquard Procion MX is usually used so as not to melt the wax during dyeing. Batiks have characteristic "crackled" look, caused when dye seeps into cracks in the wax. However, there are now a variety of waxes available, some of which crack more or less than others.

Binder: A material used to bind disparate materials together, such as pigments and fibers.

Bleeding: The effect in which one color of a dye or paint diffuses into another causing, it to discolor. The migration of dyes or paints on a substrate.

Brayer: A hand roller used in printmaking techniques to spread ink in the process of offsetting an image from a plate to paper.

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Carrageenan: Natural thickener used with water for marbling to create a medium on which paints can float.

Catalyst: A substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected.

Cellulose fiber: Fibers made from plants: cotton, linen (flax) , rayon (re-constituted wood cellulose), bamboo, jute, hemp, sea grass, some papers.

Chemical Fixing: After dyeing process, fabric has unfixed dyestuff on the surface and if it becomes final goods, it causes color migration when it is wet or during washing. Fixing agent is to be applied to dyed fabric to fix the unfixed dyestuff on fabric. It improves wet color fastness and fabric quality.

Chemical Resist: The chemical resist process allows you to control background coloring of printing (and other methods of direct application) without the need for additional silkscreens and without color overlays. Chemical Resist methods take advantage differing reactivity levels of fiber reactive dyes. Since some colors of dye work more effectively with this process than others, thorough testing is necessary to achieve predictable results.

CMYK: The CMYK color model (process color, four color) is a subtractive color model, used in color printing, and to describe the printing process itself. CMYK refers to the four colors used in printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black). Though it varies by print house, press operator, press manufacturer and press run, ink is typically applied in the order of the abbreviation. The "K" in CMYK stands for key, since in four-color printing cyan, magenta, and yellow printing plates are carefully keyed or aligned with the key of the black key plate. Some sources suggest that the "K" in CMYK comes from the last letter in "black" and was chosen because B already means blue. However, this explanation, though plausible and useful as a nemonic, is incorrect. The CMYK model works by partially or entirely masking colors on a lighter, usually white, background. The ink reduces the light that would otherwise be reflected. Such a model is called subtractive because inks "subtract" brightness from white. In additive color models such as RGB, white is the "additive" combination of all primary colored lights, while black is the absence of light. In the CMYK model, it is the opposite: white is the natural color of the paper or other background, while black results from a full combination of colored inks. To save money on ink, and to produce deeper black tones, unsaturated and dark colors are produced by using black ink instead of the combination of cyan, magenta and yellow. CMY inks are transparent, and thus the three primary colors can be used to create secondary colors directly on the substrate.

Colorfast: Having color that retains its original hue and intensity without fading or running.

Color Wheel: (also: color circle) An abstract illustrative organization of color hues around a circle that shows relationships between primary colors, secondary colors, complementary colors, etc.

Concentrated Vinyl Sulphon: Liquid, highly concentrated, professional grade, high energy reactive dyes. Even more concentrated than the red label dyes. Used on natural/cellulose fibers. Rarely used for immersion dyeing. Consistent dye colors for accurate reproduction of mixed colors. Replaces discontinued Procion H.

Continuous Tone: The smooth transition of color intensity within a certain hue, as in a gray scale. Continuous tone refers to true gradients of color intensity. Compare to halftones.

Crocking: Occurs when excess dye rubs off of one dry fabric onto another dry fabric. Crocking is usually more of a problem with dark and vivid colors.

Curing: A term in polymer chemistry and process engineering that refers to the toughening or hardening of a polymer material by cross-linking of polymer chains, brought about by chemical additives, ultraviolet radiation, electron beam or heat. 

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Diffusion: A painting technique often employed by silk artists to create gradients, subtle effect and more leveled, even color. The substrate (usually fabric) is wetted (usually with water or alcohol) prior to painting, to increase the spreading, bleeding and leveling of the color. Diffusing agents can also be mixed directly into the dye or paint to increase migration of the color on the substrate.

Diluents: A diluent (also referred to as a filler, dilutant or thinner) is a diluting agent. Certain fluids are too viscous to be pumped easily or too dense to flow from one particular point to the other. This can be problematic, because it might not be economically feasible to transport such fluids in this state. To ease this restricted movement, diluents are added. This decreases the viscosity of the fluids, thereby also decreasing the pumping/transportation costs.

Direct dye: Direct dyes, such as iDye for Natural Fibers, are used on natural fibers such as cotton, rayon, linen, silk and wool. They are applied in hot water typically between 175°F and 200°F.

Disperse dye: Disperse dyes, such as iDye Poly, are the only dyes used for dyeing polyester and acetate fibers. They are the smallest dye molecules among all dyes. Disperse dyes are insoluble in water and have the unique characteristic of sublimating. 

Dye Bath: When dyes are dissolved in water for immersion dyeing, the solution is referred to as the “dye bath.” A dye bath may contain dyes, water, salt, soda ash, vinegar, urea or any number of other agents used for dyeing fabric.

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Emulsion: A mixture of two or more liquids that are normally immiscible (un-blendable).

Encaustics: A painting medium made of hot wax, resins (usually damar resin) and often, pigments (powders or oils).

Exhausting (a dye bath): When all of the dye in the solution has bonded to the fabric and the solution is left clear.

Extender: A colorless medium typically used to increase the transparency of a paint without changing its viscosity. Extenders can be thought of as colorless paints which you can add pigments to or that can be mixed into colored paints. 

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Fabric Blend: A fabric that is made up of two or more different types of fibers twisted or spun together.

Felting: A non-woven cloth that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing woolen fibers. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can be of any color, and made into any shape or size.

Fiber reactive dye: This synthetic dye is used with natural fibers. Sometimes salt is used as well as an alkali to assist in the dyeing process. The name "fiber reactive" refers to the type of chemical bonding that occurs. In this process the dye becomes part of the fiber. It works best on cellulose fibers, but will also work on protein fibers (like silk) in an acidic, rather than alkaline environment. Procion MX dye, a colder water fiber reactive dye, is the only dye that works at room temperatures or in lukewarm dye baths, making it ideal for tie dye and batik on cellulose fibers such as cotton.

Fixing: The process whereby dyes or paints become attached to the fibers of the a substrate. Paints are generally fixed ("set") with a hot iron (or Airfix), while dyes are generally fixed with steam or chemistry.  Each dye and paint has its own method for fixing.

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Gradation Dyeing: Also known as “ombre:” a dyeing technique of gradually transitioning from one color hue to another or from one shade to another.

Gutta Resist: Made from natural Gutta Percha. Gutta is usually removed from fabric by dry-cleaning. Colored guttas are intended to remain on the fabric and should not be dry-cleaned, as it will remove some of the color. Gutta is the traditional resist used for Serti style silk painting. No setting required for washability.

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Halftone: Refers to the reprographic technique that simulates continuous tone imagery through the use of dots, varying either in size, in shape or in spacing. The halftone process relies on a basic optical illusion—that these tiny halftone dots are blended into smooth, continuous tones by the human eye. Halftones are used frequently in screen printing to simulate gradients, shadows and shading. Photographic imagery can be reproduced for screen printing by creating halftone screens for each subtractive color (CMYK process colors). The semi-opaque property of process inks allow halftone dots of different colors to create another optical effect—full-color imagery.

Hand: What a material feels like to the touch; the quality of a fabric or yarn based on roughness, smoothness, thickness, pliability or stretchability. Also a term that describes the way a paint or ink feels on a fabric when it is dry. Thick, opaque paints can have a "heavy hand," while thinner paints can have a "light hand". Paints with less "hand" are generally more desirable.

Heat Set/Heat Setting: Term used in the textile industry to describe the thermal process of cross-polymerizing a paint or ink by applying heat to the dryer color. Heat setting is usually done with a dry iron, heat press or heat gun, and is highly recommended for ensuring the washfastness of most fabric paints and inks. Compare with Steam Setting and Chemical Fixing.

Hengua: A combination of jagua and henna powders for body art applications.

Hue: One of the three measurable properties of a color, hue being the name of a color. The other two properties are value and intensity.

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Immersion dyeing: Process of dyeing a fabric in which the fabric is fully submerged in a dye bath.

Impasto: The thick application of paint (usually oil) that makes no attempt to look smooth or uniform.

Indelible: Cannot easily be removed.

Inert: Having little or no ability to react.

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Jersey: A single knit fabric with plain stitches on the right side and purl stitches on the back.

Jute: A long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is one of the most affordable natural fibers and is second only to cotton in amount produced and variety of uses of vegetable fibers. Jute fibers are composed primarily of the plant materials cellulose (major component of plant fiber) and lignin (major components of wood fiber).

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Keratin: The protein substance that wool fibers and natural hair are composed of.

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Lightfastness: The resistance of a color to fading in the presence of light. The lightfastness of textile dyes rated on a scale ranging from one to eight. Washfastness is scaled from one to five. The higher the number the better fastness.

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Momme: Rhymes with “tummy” and is a Japanese measure of fabric weight. 1mm = 3.62 grams per square yard, so an 8 mm fabric weighs 29 grams (1 oz) per square yard. The smaller the “mm” the lighter the fabric. The abbreviation “mm” stands for momme.

Mordant: A substance used in dyeing to fix the coloring matter, especially a metallic compound, as an oxide or hydroxide, that combines with the organic dye and forms an insoluble colored compound or lake in the fiber.

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Natural fiber: A class of hair-like materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to pieces of thread. They can be spun into filaments, thread, or rope. They can be used as a component of composite materials. They can also be matted into sheets to make products such as paper or felt. Any fiber that is not synthetic. 

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Ombre: The term for gradient dyeing. There are different ways to do it, but basically the dilution and/or color of the dye is changed as the garment/fabric is moved through it. Use whatever dye is appropriate for the fabric.

Opaque: Not transparent or translucent; impenetrable to light; not allowing light to pass through.

Open time: The interval during which liquid paint can be blended with additional painted regions. In screen printing, the length of time an ink can remain wet in or on a screen before drying.

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Paste Resist: A cold medium used to create patterns on fabric by “resisting” dye penetration. Resist mediums create a barrier between the fiber and the dye and thereby prevent dye from coloring the fabric. The paste is applied to the cloth prior to dyeing. Wherever the paste is applied, the dye will not penetrate.

pH: A logarithmic measure of the acidity of a solution. Water, which has equal amounts of OH- and H+ ions, is pH 7 or neutral pH.  An acid, which is pH 1, is 10 times more acidic than pH 2 and 100 times more acidic than pH 3.  Each unit on the pH scales differs by a factor of 10.  The scale ranges from 0 to 14.  Above 7 is basic/alkaline and below 7 is acidic.

Photogram: A photographic image made without a camera by placing objects directly onto the surface of a light-sensitive material such as photographic paper or fabric treated with SolarFast and then exposing it to light. The usual result is a negative shadow image that shows variations in tone that depends upon the transparency of the objects used. Areas of the sensitized substrate that have received no light appear white; those areas exposed through transparent or semi-transparent objects develop color.

Phthalate: Any of various salts or esters of phthalic acid used especially as plasticizers and in solvent.

Pigment: A powder-form of color that can be combined with a vehicle or binder to create a paint or "pigment dye." Pigments are solid and insoluble.

Pitting: Sharp depressions, holes or corrosion in the surface of a metal caused by prolonged exposure to reactive chemicals or dyes. Repeated dyeing in an aluminum pot can cause pitting, which is why stovetop dying should always be done in a stainless steel or enamel pot.

Pre-Reduced (Indigo Dye): Natural Indigo is not soluble in water, so it takes a considerable amount of chemistry to get it into a working dye bath. It is an involved process and can be very time consuming. Pre-reduced Indigo has been chemically reduced 60% prior to packaging, making it that much easier to create a vat. The dye comes pre-reduced and freeze-dried, so it dissolves in water in approximately 10 minutes, still retaining all the other unique properties of Indigo.

Process colors: A system of using four standard, semi-transparent inks to create a wide spectrum of different colors by mixing them on the press or substrate. The colors typically considered the "process colors" are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK).

Procion H: A steam set fiber reactive dye.

Procion MX: A cold water fiber reactive dye that chemically bonds to fiber. Fixed with soda ash.

Protein fiber: Fibers from animals/insects: silk, wool, alpaca, feathers, hair, etc.

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Resist: Anything that prevents dye from reaching the fabric; it resists the dye. See Gutta Resist or Water Based Resist.

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Sand washed: A process that buffs the fibers on a silk or other fabric, causing them to have a soft or worn texture.

Saturation: The point at which a solution of a substance can dissolve no more of that substance.

Serti: A technique in which patterns or images are traced on silk using resist or gutta, a thick latex-like substance, which blocks paint from seeping into the silk and creates a defined outline. Preparing silk with this method, allows images to be painted without bleeding the color or losing the shape of the image or pattern. Traditionally the gutta is removed once the painting is complete, but it can also be kept as part of the design.

Slub: A lump in yarn or fabric, often made intentionally to give a knobbly effect.

Shibori: A traditional Japanese technique for creating patterns on fabric by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, compressing or capping it prior to dyeing. Some of these methods are known in the West as tie-dye.

Simmer: Kept at or just below the boiling point of water.

Sizing: A finish that adds body to fabric. Starch is an example of a sizing.

Steam Set/Steam Setting: Most dyes can be fixed to fabric using steam instead of chemical fixing agents. In many cases, steam setting is the most effective method for ensuring a dye’s permanence. Steam setting can also “develop” certain dyes, making them brighter and more brilliant.

Sublimation printing: Sublimation printing, also referred to as dye sublimation printing, is a printing method for transferring colors or images onto a synthetic substrate (usually a polyester, nylon  or plastic). Sublimation refers to a chemical process whereby a substance moves from a solid to a gas state without ever being in a liquid state (think dry-ice). Disperse dyes such as iDye Poly are unique in that they are the only dyes that can color polyester and the only dyes that sublimate. Sublimation printing normally involves the use of a digital printer loaded with disperse dyes; mirrored images are printed and then heat-pressed onto the synthetic substrate. This allows the ink and transfer material to move into the gas state. Once the ink and transfer material are in a gas state, they permeate the fibers of the substrate material. When the heat is removed from the transfer paper and substrate, the ink that has permeated the substrate fibers solidifies and is locked permanently into place in the fiber. Disperse dyes like iDye Poly can also be mixed into a paste or liquid and used for painting or printing onto paper; this image can then be sublimation-transferred into the substrate just like a digital print-out. There is an alternate method for dye sublimation printing where the ink is applied directly to a substrate that has been coated. Ink bonding is achieved by exposing the fabric to heat.

Substrate: The material on which a product such as paint, dye or ink is applied.

Sun printing: A printing technique that uses sunlight as a developing or fixative agent.

Suspension: The state in which the particles of a substance are mixed with a fluid but are undissolved.

Synthetic fiber: Fibers made from synthesized polymers or small molecules. The compounds that are used to make these fibers come from raw materials such as petroleum-based chemicals or petrochemicals. These materials are polymerized into a long, linear chemical that bond two adjacent carbon atoms. Differing chemical compounds will be used to produce different types of fibers. Examples of common synthetic fibers are polyester, nylon and spandex.

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Tack: A sticky or adhesive quality or condition.

Transparent: So sheer as to permit light to pass through. 

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Vat Dye: A class of dyes that must be chemically reduced in order to create a working dye bath. Vat dyes are generally insoluble in water and must be prepared correctly before dyeing can take place. Preparing a traditional vat dye like indigo can take days or even weeks. So for reasons of economy, communities traditionally prepared large amounts of dye at once, using enormous pools or vats, which is where this class of dyes gets its name.

Viscous: Of a glutinous nature or consistency; sticky; thickness.

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Wetfast: See Washfast.

Washfast: Resistant to fading or discoloration when washed or wetted.

Water-based Resist: Jacquard's clear Water-based Resist is meant to wash out in warm water. Permanent Water-based Resist is heat set with a hot iron for permanence of fabric.

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