This week: Liquid dyes for silk flower making and what’s up with those red marks when dyeing with madder?
Every week, we are emailed with questions from our natural dye community asking simple and complex questions that we thought might be worth sharing. Of course, all of your burning questions are answered by natural dyer in chief, Kathy Hattori, Founder of Botanical Colors.
I am a hat maker from Spain and I would like to use natural extracts for silk flower making. I wondered how “dense/intense” the Aquarelle liquid dyes are and if you reckon I could use them directly on the silk (previously scoured and mordanted), just with a brush (as I have been doing with Procion type dyes) and not by bathing.
I also wondered that, as I would need to buy some extracts anyway (I need the dye stuff in powder to make the stamens of the flowers), maybe it is not worth it to buy the aquarelle (if this is extract diluted in water).
What would your recommendation be? I would really appreciate your advice.
It is possible to dilute the liquid dyes with water or to use them directly from the bottle, undiluted. The silk fabric needs to be mordanted with aluminum sulfate. Be aware that the color does not develop until heat is applied by steaming the flowers.
The powdered extracts are stronger, so they may be a better choice. Dissolve them in hot water, then dilute as needed. Also, these must be steamed. It sounds like the powdered extracts will provide you with the most flexibility. You can mix any depth of shade that you want, and only use as much powder as you need.