I am such a lucky duck! My friend Dawn gave me these old dyes recently. So today I’m showing you my results with dyeing Dawn’s dyes.
These 14 dyes were given to Dawn after her friend who owned them died in a car crash. Dawn has had these dyes for over 10 years in her studio waiting for time to play with them. She decided to give them to me so that I could have some fun. Besides acquiring more colors, I was looking forward to a great experiment in seeing how old dyes work.
Most of the dyes are dated, with all of them purchased in the 90s. One was even marked May 1991. So I decided to low immersion dye them. However, because they were old, I added a bit more dye than I would normally.
Dyeing fat quarters, I added 2 grams of dye per 1/4 cup of water. Usually I’d only use a little over 1 gram. More info on low immersion dyeing at the end of the post.
Here they are with the dates that were on the jars. Look at Mustard, the oldest one – still going strong!
I was really surprised how beautiful the colors turned out. The only one that wasn’t strong was the Royal Blue.
I plan to dye it again but with more dye. I suspect this is an operator error in that I didn’t stir the dry dye in the container enough. But we’ll see when I dye it again. UPDATE: It was an operator error. I must not have stirred it enough before using the dye. Check out this post with my results on the Royal Blue.
Dawn told me that these dyes were stored at her friend’s unheated barn. She only had heat on when she was dyeing or teaching classes. Dawn has kept them in her basement since. So this questions the need to keep the dyes from temperature fluxations.
I was pleasantly surprised. I question if I needed to add that extra dye except for Royal Blue. I’m looking forward to using these dyes, and especially seeing how they work with ice.
As for low immersion dyeing, if you aren’t familiar, it’s a simple way to dye and a great way to find out how the dyes are reacting. I washed the fabric (fat quarters) and then soda soaked them for 15 minutes. I then scrunched the fabric into either zip bags or a small plastic containers. I mixed the 2 grams of dye into 1/4 cup of warm water. Once the dye had dissolved, I poured the dye water over the fabric and using my gloved hand scrunched the fabric, making sure the fabric was completely covered with dye. Then I left them to batch overnight. I brought them into the house because the dye studio was way too cold. It’s such a simple and effective way to dye. You also use much less water than regular vat dyeing.
What a fun experiment! Now if you happen to come across some old dyes, check them out before you toss them. Stay tuned for my low immersion dyeing tutorial. I’ve linked this post to Off The Wall Friday. Check out all of the inspiration there.
I think that it’s important to have current dyes IF the results you are wanting are specific. However, I love the serendipities experienced with ice dyeing and using what ever I have on hand. I guess that’s just the way I like to fly, lol.
Luann, I agree. If you really need it to be a specific color or matching to your other dyes, need to have new dyes. I’ve seen people ask if old dyes are any good and it was great to be able to test these out. Yep, I like to do that too!!!
I have older dyes. I need to get them out and use them! Thanks. What do you do to set the dyes?
Kathy, Depends on what dyes you have. I’m using fiber reactive dyes where you soda ash soak the fabric before you dye. The soda ash solution binds the dye to the fabric. When finished batching, the fabric is rinsed in cold, then warm to hot water, soaked in sudsy water and then thrown into the washer for a hot wash with two rinse cycles. If I didn’t soda soak the fabric the dye would come out in the wash. Hope that helps.
Thanks so much! I will try it!
Lynda, did you only use 1/4 cup of water per bag or was more water added after dissolving the dye? Hard to imagine 1/4 covering the fat quarter. I appreciate this post since I have some old dyes too.
what type of fabric are you using? PDF? If so what brand? i have used white cotton and the colors aren’t as vibrant as yours.
my mother gave me some old dyes and I used them for snow dying and it worked fine except not as vibrant. I would like to try your low immersion method. maybe I need more dye per amount of fabric.
Susan, Yes, just 1/4 cup of dye water per fat quarter. I’m going to do a post on this shortly.
Carol, Usually I use Test Fabric 400M. But for this test I used fabric Dawn gave me which is Kona Cotton Solids White. I’m going to do a post shortly on low immersion and compare my fabric and Dawn’s fabric using differing amounts of dye to see if I can get a good Royal Blue. Stay tuned!!
These are lovely, vibrant colors. A wonderful tribute to the lady who owned them first.
I too have used old dyes. Mine were from a class in college in 1977!! They were stored in air tight Tupperware. I used them a little bit stronger but got good results. Thanks for posting this. I’ve found that once they are mixed tho, that is when they loose strength, even stored in the fridge, they loose strength.
Amy, That’s good to know about them losing strength. Thanks for dropping by.
I think your results are wonderful. And I like that blue, even though it isn’t what you expected. A lot of my dyes are old and I just use more.
Norma, Thanks. If you check out my latest post, it was an operator error!! The old dyes are still good!
Dolly, Thanks! I think Dawn needs to make something from these dyed fabrics to celebrate that woman’s life.