Working on the RAinbows

My favorite shopping season is about to be in full swing here. Gift giving season is always unpredictable and exciting. i usually make lots of stuff for my craft sale route and then end up selling the last thing i would think would sell so well. a try guessing game. which let me to the fun in it for this year. i decided to focus on something i really love and hope for the best.  I’m making hand bound journals from recycled paper, magic potions like syrups and teas, all natural and some exotic soaps, and of course my scarves and clothes!

This year for the clothes my theme is BLACK and RAINBOW. Most of my rainbow clothing is quite alternative.  Hand painted rainbows in different shapes and sizes have been put in to a variety of clothing from new onesies to used button down cotton shirts…next step some stencil thickened dye and or spray paint! fun! i’ve done lots of rainbows in the past, you might own one…and here is a new element to add into the rainbow. the stencils will be a secret until they are launched at the Lund Christmas Craft Sale November 14th. 2015.  The major event my new Rainbow Line will walk into is the Rainbows and Unicorns show that is opening at Kaleidoscope Collective downtown in Powell River later this month.

Come out to Kaleidoscope to shop for unique gifts and see a shop FULL of RAINBOW & UNICORN art pieces.

Here is a sneak preview of the shirts in the dye studio.



If you are a fabric artist and you are curious about the method i have used here i will go into some detail to explain this lovely painting on fabric technique that i am working with.

You make a solution of Soda Ash and Water. I use 2 tsp of soda ash for each 2 cups of water. mix that up real good.  use a chinese ink brush to paint of the soda ash liquid. you need to let this sit on the fabric for at least 15-20 minutes. i usually mix my dyes at this stage. i like to paint my liquid dyes onto the wet soda ash soaked fabric so i don’t wait much longer than 15-20 minutes because i am after the water colour look. however, if you are not after that wet look you could let the soda ash dry on there and paint it the next day. just remember that soda ash is a chemical and you would want to do it in a safe place where no kids or animals or anyone will get into it. i suggest people work outside or in a well ventilated private location like the basement of garage. remember to wear gloves! and always use utensils for dyeing that you WILL NEVER USE ON YOUR FOOD. i label all my studio tools with masking tape around the handles and all other surfaces, like pots, i write with a thick BLACK sharpie STUDIO USE ONLY NO FOOD.

there was  small accident in one of my moves, because i am a gypsy and i do move every year or two.

one year the moving crew didn’t notice the studio stuff and it got inside and my sweet friend even made us dinner in it. i felt pretty bad, i told her we had to get rid of it. that was the only  mistake.

you leave your soda ash for soaking and go mix your dyes into your chemical water which is a mixture of urea and water.  i can’t give you this ratio because i don’t have it written down it just comes to me when i am working. you can easily find it online. once your chemical water is made up you put on your MASK, you have on your gloves and you mix 2 tsp- 2 tbsp  procion MX dye powder with 3/4 cup of the chemical water. always add powder to water, never add water to powder. adding water to powder can cause the dye particles to fly all over the place and they are TOXIC and hazardous if you inhale them or they get in your eyes. Mix that up real well and then go on to the next colour. i often use primary colours and mix my secondary colours right on my fabric. however it always depends on the outcome. i did buy an orange once in my life in the last 10 years of dyeing. that said, the effects of mixing colours on the fabric is part of my style and my look.

your colours are all mixed

you get back to your fabric and the wet lines are hard to find

you hope for the best and paint your colours on using chinese ink brushes. remember to paint slow to let the dye melt into the fabric.

IMPORTANT STEP: clean up. i often skip this step but i try hard to make myself do it.  clean all your containers and wipe down your surfaces. i work outside and i use a garden hose and an outdoor sink. if you have left over dye put a lid on it and a label and keep it cool and use it up in the next few days up to a week.

next step wait 5 days. that’s right, just like christmas. make sure to leave your paintings in a safe place.

after 5 days grab your paintings and wash them out in safe location like outside in a wash tub or inside in a wash tub in your laundry room. wash it out really well until you see clear water and then i throw them all in the washing machine on cold water, on a very short cycle with no soak periods. if your clothes are soaking at this stage they might dye themselves depending on how well you washed the colour out.  MAKE SURE TO get your freshly dyed clothes out of the wash as soon as the cycle is over. from what i have learned the colour will still wash out until you wash that article 4 times.  i always wash them a second time on another short cycle adding a little soap and turning it to warm water if you want. then i dry them by the sun or dryer.  i let them sit and either sell them right away or maybe wash them once more a week later.  i always tell people wash before wear with your dark towels.

Hope someone has some fun out there with this technique


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