Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Star Mandala Tutorial Part 2 - Dyeing

So you've let your folded and bounded fabric soak in a soda ash solution for about 15 minutes. I prefer to let my items dry after the soda soak. You can do this, or wring out excess solution and get busy dyeing. So, let's get to it!

Find a good spot to set-up. When it is warm out I like to set-up outside. Another good spot is the the tub. I set-up using a milk crate with some newspaper on top to dye on.

So, let's get the dye ready! Using a glass jar with a good lid is great for getting the dye thoroughly mixed. Once you have put on your dust mask, fill your jar with one cup of water. If you want to make a lesser amount of dye, that's fine. Just adjust the amount of dye and water proportionally. For 1 cup of water add 1 tbsp. of dye powder. Secure the lid on your jar, and shake vigorously. Some colors mix more easily than others i.e. yellows vs. reds. Shake until all the dye particles are dissolved. Funnel your mixed dye into a squeeze bottle.

So, your dye is mixed and your dye area is set-up. Put on your gloves and get dyeing!

I prefer to start at the tip of the mandala and work my way outward. When working on smaller areas using steady drips of dye instead of a stream of dye gives you better control of where the dye goes. It also helps to keep you from applying too much dye and ending up with a puddle of dye on your dyeing surface. When you are getting the dye on folded areas and areas around where the folds are bound, it helps to stick the nozzle into the folds to get the dye down into the fabric.

Once you have completed dyeing one side of the mandala, flip it over and begin dyeing the other side. A quick note though, I prefer to wait to dye the outer fill color area of the fabric until after I have dyed both sides of the inner mandala.

Get the tip of the bottle into the folds
 When dyeing the outer fill color area, you can use one color or use more than one. When I use more than one color, I start with the lighter color first, and then add the darker color(s) in lesser amounts. When applying the dye here, I give the fabric gentle squeezes to encourage the dye into the inner layers. I then flip the fabric over, and then apply the dye similarly to this side.Once you have finished dyeing, wrap your fabric in plastic wrap or a plastic bag to ensure that it stays moist during the curing process. Find a warm spot for you dyed mandala to cure for about 24 hours. For the dye to react and cure properly it needs to be kept at or above room temperature. When it is not sunny and warm outside I like to place my dyed silks on a baking sheet and set it inside the oven(not on).

Apply dye to the outer area last
After your dyed mandala has cured for 24 hours, rinse it out. I use a special textile detergent, but a mild detergent such as Dawn dish soap will do. Fill up a dish tub with fairly hot water and detergent. While still bound, place your dyed mandala in the tub. Swish it around to encourage excess dye out of the fabric. Dump the water and add some more. Add more detergent, too, if you feel it necessary. Swish it a bit more, and then cut the ties binding the folds. Place your mandala back in the tub and swish some more. Dump the water again, and then add more water. On this step I usually let the fabric sit in there for a little while to encourage excess dye to be released. After this, you can pull the fabric out of the tub and do a final rinse under the faucet.
Result of color combo used for this tutorial
Hang to dry or toss it into the dryer.
Voila! You have your mandala!

1 comment:

  1. The mandala tutorial is much appreciated. I actually finally figured out how to do it but didn't think of the accordian folding. It was a secret so long few want to share how to make stars or mandalas. I've seen Paula Burch's site too but prefer to get the design from folding. There are many ideas I have using mandalas and i can't wait to get started. I have only used cheap RIT dye but I'm making an order soon for REAL dye!