Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dye-Na-Flow Experiments

I still need to tell you about the rest of our summer, but I wanted to put up this quick post about some experiments I did recently with Dye-Na-Flow, in case this information is helpful to somebody else out there on the Internet.

I'm planning on making another quilt for the school auction this year, and I was thinking about different ways that kids could make art with fabric or on fabric. During my Pinterest trawling, I came across some Dye-Na-Flow projects (including the pretty auction quilt that Susan made with her daughter's class a few years ago). I was curious about whether I could combine Dye-Na-Flow with freezer paper stenciling, so I did a few tests.

(Top photo is the samples before washing, bottom photo is after washing and drying)

Dye-Na-Flow Experiments, Before Washing
Dye-Na-Flow Experiments, After Washing

First, I made three samples using Dye-Na-Flow straight out of the jar (top row, l-r): (1) freezer paper shapes ironed on, (2) Dye-Na-Flow painted on fabric marked with Sharpie (to see how much it would bleed), and (3) blue Elmer's washable gel glue used as dye resist*. Then, in the bottom row, I tried the same techniques, but with Dye-Na-Flow mixed with aloe vera gel in a ~1:6 ratio, to thicken it and prevent the dye from flowing (inspired by this article). All samples are on white quilting cotton, and I heat set the dye after the fabric had dried, as directed on the Dye-Na-Flow label.

*For the glue resist, I let the glue dry overnight on the fabric, then I ironed it for about a minute to heat set the glue. I applied the dye, let the fabric dry, heat set the dye with the iron for about a minute, and then soaked the fabric in water for a few minutes before scrubbing the glue off.

Straight Dye-Na-Flow worked well with the glue resist, but it bled under the freezer paper and across Sharpie lines. The Dye-Na-Flow mixed with the aloe vera gel worked much better with the freezer paper and stayed within the lines (the red bits inside the lines in the photos above are because I was using a too-big paintbrush and couldn't control where the dye went). The color was a little lighter when the dye was mixed with aloe vera gel. The Dye-Na-Flow left the fabric much softer and more flexible than screenprinting ink, which is good for quilts.

Hope this is helpful to somebody out there!

P.S. In Portland, you can buy Dye-Na-Flow at Collage and Artist and Craftsman's Supply (and probably a bunch of other places).