Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dyeing Paper - One Approach

Size your paper with soy milk, let it dry/cure 12-24hours.  Then apply some pomegranate extract, or any natural dye extract, natural earth pigment, etc., to the surface of your paper.  Allow to dry.  Btw you CAN do this for paper pulp as well but this becomes a little trickier and is a bit on the advanced papermaking side of the spectrum.

You need to allow your paper to cure for 3-6 months, depending on the heat and humidity levels of your locale, BEFORE you rinse the excess dye off the surface of the paper.  Not exactly a quick project I know BUT the colors can be quite stunning.  I highly suggest working with papers of mixed fiber content, not just cotton rag.  Experiment with flax, hemp, silk, recycled sari, papers for your natural dye projects.

How to Dye with Pomegranate

This method is for dyeing fabric and fibers, I will create a post on  how to dye leather, rawhide, and paper next.

Materials List:
Pomegranate Peels - Fresh (about 16 oz) or Dried (8 oz more or less)
Stainless Steel Pot
Water - distilled if your water is hard or softened
Fabrics or Fibers that have been mordanted

NOTE: If you are working with fresh Pomegranates you do not need the pulp/seeds so feel free to eat that part of the fruit, you will only need the peels. 

Using a vessel large enough to cover your dyestuffs, fill your stainless steel pot with hot water and add your Pomegranted peels, allow to soak overnight.  Same method applies to both fresh and dried peels.

Next day return your pot to the heat source and simmer peels for one hour. 

Remove skins, if desired, from pot using a slotted spoon being careful NOT to burn yourself.  NOTE if you do not remove the skins they will leave random marks on your fabric and fibers, some dyers like this random patterning.

Add your WET, premordanted, fibers, yarns, threads, and/or fabrics to the dye pot.  If your dyestuffs are dry the coloring, on your dyestuffs, will be mottled.  To ensure even dyeing wet your dyestuffs thoroughly before adding them to the dye pot.

Simmer your dyestuffs for one hour, a low boil is fine with Pomegranate as it yeilds dull gold colors not reds.

Remove from heat source.

Allow the dyebath to cool overnight.  Next day remove your dyestuffs and drain, rinse either in the sink or in your washer, being careful not to felt any wool fibers you may have dyed.  Dry in the normal manner (line dry)

Dyeing with Pomegranates

You can dye fabric, fibers, and even leather with Pomegranates.  Pomegranate dye can be obtained by cooking down either fresh and/or dried Pomegranate skins, eat the pulp inside your fresh pomegranates. You can also dye with Pomegranate extract available from select retailers.

Sizing Paper with Soy Milk

Sizing Paper with Soy Milk
In Anticipation of Dyeing Paper with Natural Dyes.

Yes contrary to popular argument you CAN dye paper with natural dyes, the immersion method however doesn't work nearly as well as simply painting your papers with natural dyes. 

You will need to prep your sheets of paper with soy milk, as shown in the previous post, and allow to dry.  Soy milk acts as a sizing, or binder, for the dye and/or pigment molecules.  A single layer of soy milk is suffecient for painting your papers/fabrics.  You need to paint your papers/fabrics with your natural dyes and/or earth pigments within a realitively short period of time.  John Marshall suggests less than 2 weeks. If you live in a very dry and/or hot region I would suggest even sooner, and making test samples is very important with this process, make sure you take good notes. If you wait longer than two weeks all is not lost you can resize your paper/fabric with soy milk again, once it's dry you can proceed to paint your paper/fabric with the dyes and pigments of your choice.

NOTE: I use commercially prepared soy milk, natural undyed and unflavored and have had no bad experiences using commecially prepared soy milk. 

You can also make soy milk fresh by soaking your beans overnight in water, genearlly 4 cups water to 1 cups soybeans (yes ordinary field soy beans).  The beans will absorb most if not all of the water, if need be add an additionaly cup of water to the beans the next day. 

Take your soaked beans and grind in a blender or food processor.  You want to keep the liquid that comes off the ground beans, strain your ground beans preferably through a coffee filter or a panthose leg so that you don't have bits of bean floating around in the resulting liquid.  You now have soy milk. You can make more soy milk by adding more water to your ground beans and soaking them overnight again.  Repeat the straining processe the next day.

This soy milk should keep for about two weeks in the refridgerator.

Prepping Fabric with Soy Milk

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Zine Update

I will update the Zine tomorrow, I was supposed to do so today, my pupils were dilated by the eye doc today and it's still difficult to read.

First up making soy milk binder (and an explanation of why it's NOT a mordant) and then dyeing handmade papers and the like with natural dyes!