Dyeing with Procion MX dyes.
Here are some basic instructions and quantities. There are many ways of using these dyes and much information on the web, but here is a basic method and approximate quantities.
These dyes are suitable for Cotton, linen, viscose, hemp and other plant based fibes.
A word about safety
Although these dyes are amongst the safest on the market, It is best to avoid inhaling the dry dye powder as it can produce lung irritation. Where possible use the dye in solution. Wear rubber gloves when you are handling the dyes. If you are using the powder for any length of time it is wise to use a facemask, (available from most DIY stores). Clean any spills as you go on to avoid unwanted stains. Protect yourself and the work surfaces and keep the dyes away from children, food and pets. Do not use dye utensils for food preparation!
Sodium Carbonate Soda Ash
Detergent (generic Synthrapol if possible)
Large Bucket or Sink
Quantities of dye and salt and fixative for 100g of dry fabric
Water 2 to 3 litres for every 100g fabric
Dye Salt Soda Ash
Pale shades 0.2- 1gm 20gms/litre 5gms litre
Mid shades 2-3 gms 40gms litre 10 gms litre
Heavy shades 6-8gms 60gms litre 20gms litre
Fabric must be clean and free of any coatings or contaminants. This can make a large difference to the final shade, so if in doubt give your fabric a thorough pre-wash.
- Pour hot water in the bucket and add the salt.
- In a jam jar mix the dye powder with a little warm water and make a solution. Stir thoroughly so that all the particles are dissolved
- Add dye solution to the salt water and stir again.
- Dissolve the soda ash in some water in a jug or jar and add to the dye solution/salt water in the bucket. This will now start the chemical reaction.
- After a minute, immerse the fabric and stir constantly for ten minutes and then regularly for another twenty minutes. Most of the reaction takes place in the first 30 minutes but for a more intense colour you can leave longer .
- Rinse thoroughly, Ideally use a detergent such as synthrapol which is made for this purpose. Squeeze out excess water. (spin dry if you can ) then leave to dry flat.
Procion dyeing in a washing machine
Measuring jug or jam jar
500g Common salt (About a cupful)
35g Soda Ash (About 2 heaped tablespoons)
The technique for dyeing in a washing machine may vary depending on the type of machine you have so you may have to refer to your washing machine handbook if you are unable to follow any of these instructions. Procion will dye well at 40oc-50oc. It must not be set to pre wash, as you don’t want any dye to drain out before the fixative has been added. The wash cycle should last for over an hour.
It is recommended that if you have not used Procion in your washing machine before that you should have a test run with something that is not too important!
For washing machine dyeing the quantity of salt and soda ash quired is always the same as it is dependant on the volume of water but the weight of the dye varies depending on the dry weight of the fabric.
Dyeing Procion in your washing machine-:
- Weigh your dry fabric. For each 100g of fabric you need0.2 – 1g dye for pale shades, 2-3g dye for medium shades and 6-8g dye for heavy shades such as black and navy
- Make sure your fabric is free of any sizing, oil, dirt or other contaminants and if needed wash your fabric in 60oc wash in the washing machine.
- Take the required amount of dye and place in the bottom of a jug or jar. Add a little water to make a paste and give the mixture a good stir. Then add some warm water and make approx 500ML in solution. Mix thoroughly to make sure the dye has completely dissolved.
- Add the 500g salt in to the washing machine drum
- Add the dye solution to the washing machine drum
- Add the clean fabric in to the washing machine
- Turn on the washing machine making sure it is not set to pre wash and let it start its cycle
- After 15 minutes you should be able to see that your fabric has been evenly coated with dye and salt solution, however at this point the colour hasn’t been fixed so it would just wash out if you rinsed it.
- The next step is to add the Soda ash fixative. Dissolve 2 heaped tablespoons (35g soda ash) in to 1 litre of warm water in a jug.
- You can either stop the wash without allowing the dye water to drain and add the soda solution to the drum or if your machine will not allow you to do this,you can pour the solution through the main powder drawer as the machine is washing.
As soon as the fixative is added you can continue with the main wash cycle until the end of the programme.
At the end you should have some neatly dyed fabric.