Dyes

Discussion in 'Clothing' started by Birdwatcher, Aug 15, 2012.

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  1. Aug 15, 2012 #1

    Birdwatcher

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    I have in my possession a 100% linen pair of knee breeches, a fustian (a linen/cotton weave) hunting frock. and a heavy cotton pair of drop front trousers all in need of dyeing.

    Down here pecan season is at hand and for the frock and knee breeches I'm thinking to try my hand at butternut or the pecan version thereof.

    For the cotton trousers I'd like color other than butternut.

    I have never even tie-dyed before.

    Any and all advice/links appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Birdwatcher
     
  2. Aug 15, 2012 #2

    Loyalist Dave

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    Well, first you need to decide how dark you will want the dye. Black walnuts give you a dark brown, and if you add a mordant, it will be darker and more "dull" or "sad". A mordant is a chemical applied to a fabric either with the dye bath or prior to the dye bath, that helps the color adhere to the fabric fibers. It also helps the fabric retain the color when wet or when washed.

    Iron oxide is a very common mordant used with walnuts, and often comes from boiling the walnut hulls in a cast iron pot, or from placing some steel wool in a mason jar with water and vinegar, and allowing it to rust. If you use the steel wool method, you may want to place a coffee filter over the mouth of the jar and held in place with a rubber band when you go to pour the solution into the dye bath. This helps to keep tiny pieces of rusing steel out of your cloth, and avoids a freckled look.

    Now butternut for dying is from the white walnut tree. It gives a more medium brown.

    Other mordants can be alum, urea (bought from a craft store) and Iron II Sulfate (aka copperas). using these different mordants will give you variations in the color.

    So you get a good boil on, add your dye source such as broken green husks of black walnut trees, and add your fabric to the dye bath. I was always taught to get the cloth wet first, then immerse it into the dye bath wet, for more even color. Remember that most dye pots are only used for dye, so don't use the wife's good stock pot for this procedure. If you don't have a big enough pot, get a 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot, put in your husks, and pour boiling water over it and stir for a while..., then add the clothing and move the clothing around too. Many folks will let clothing sit overnight, and one fellow I know likes to let them sit for several days. I think that's too long in the dye bath, myself.

    Remove and then thoroughly rinse with cold water. Hang to dry.

    Wear old clothes as any dye that hits them will probably dye those clothes too.

    LD
     
  3. Aug 15, 2012 #3

    Birdwatcher

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    Thank you Dave,

    For walnuts are we talking what most would call the shells ie. the hardpart of the nut you crack to get at the meat, or the husks ie. the inedible fleshy part that surrounds the hard nut and which splits as it dries, or both?

    I HAVE found out that pecan (a kind of hickory/walnut) lends a reddish orange color to what is dyed, I'll give it a try on the frock.

    Also, outside of commercial dye, are you aware of a product that would impart a dark grey color to the trousers?

    Thanks Again,

    Birdwatcher
     
  4. Aug 15, 2012 #4

    Stophel

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    Dark gray: Sumac berries and Ferrous Sulfate.

    :wink:

    Steep the cloth in the ferrous sulfate first then add it to the sumac dye bath. (Actually, I don't think it's very technique specific... you can probably just dump it all in at once... try it and see what you get with test pieces of fabric.)

    As I recall (been a while since I have done it), the sumac berries alone will make a light tan sort of color. Experiment. :wink:

    Walnut hulls: the outside hull over the actual hard shell of the nut. The part that stains your hands. :wink:


    Oh, and ferrous sulfate is available from Ky. Antec www.kyantec.com http://kyantec.com/cgi-bin/online/storepro.php

    You can use the drugstore "iron supplement" tablets (they are ferrous sulfate), but it takes a BUNCH, and it's not fun crushing up all those tablets!
    :haha:
     
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  5. Aug 15, 2012 #5

    Birdwatcher

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    Thanks for the info.

    Sumac? Hmmm.....

    Do you have anthing that uses mesquite? prickly pear? Johnson grass maybe? :grin:

    Not a whole lot of sumac in this neck of the woods.

    and I dunno if this is the same sort of sumac they got back East...
    http://www.silvercloudestates.com/product/Sumac-249.aspx

    Birdwatcher
     
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  6. Aug 15, 2012 #6

    Rev_William

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    If'n you have any old tobacco I hear that gives a pretty good brown
     
  7. Aug 15, 2012 #7

    Birdwatcher

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    The vendor also suggested ordinary tea.

    And coffee grounds.

    Just haven't heard of these before.
     
  8. Aug 15, 2012 #8

    Rev_William

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    Well coffe and tea do work good. Not because I tried to dye anything but because I usually drip whilst I drink early in the morning lol
     
  9. Aug 16, 2012 #9

    Stophel

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    Yes, that is sumac. Supposedly, it is indigenous to all the contiguous 48 States, but whether or not it happens to grow near you, I couldn't say.

    I would recommend a book on dyeing before setting out on a project. The one I have is "Natural Dyes and Home Dyeing" by Rita Adrosko.

    It will get you going and hopefully you won't have to resort to Ritberry dyeing....

    :haha:


    Here's a natural dyestuff vendor I found in just a couple of minutes with a Google search. Look around, you'll find something. :wink:
    http://www.aurorasilk.com/natural_dyes/dyes/index.html

    I've made a nice dull, slightly greenish blue with logwood before, and I THINK it was with a ferrous sulfate mordant... I'd have to dig out my book! It will make different colors with different mordants.
     
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  10. Aug 16, 2012 #10

    Birdwatcher

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    I recall cutting back stands of sumac growing like weeds back in NY State, and how it crowds the highway margins there.

    Turns out we do have a local sumac, flame leaf sumac, but in the Texas Hill Country; a semi-arid limestone region north and west of here. I've seen it, but as single plants growing amind the rocks by the higghway, nothing like the densities they get in the northeast.

    But anyway, thanks for the information, all new to me. Perhaps my family in NY can mail me some.

    Birdwatcher
     
  11. Aug 17, 2012 #11

    William O.

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    Yes, it is the hull of the black walnut that is dried then ground up for dye powder, and gives clothing a warm brown in various shades depending on how long you leave it to work as well as the concentration of powder in the water. I boiled water then added that to an expendible bucket I got from the dollar store that had about 4 ounces of walnut hull powder in it, then stirred a few times while it cooled a bit. Then I added my hunting frock to it and let it steep overnight. I added some salt to it as a mordant but don't know if it was enough. Anyway, here's what it looked like afterwards, from a light, natural canvas color to; [​IMG]
     
  12. Aug 17, 2012 #12

    Loyalist Dave

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    I've never had to dry them and grind them, though I bet that would help give an even color..., I just stomped on them on hard ground to break them up while green, put 'em in an iron pot of boiling water, and when the water was almost black, in went the fabric.

    The other methods that I mentioned also worked, and we did those for folks who couldn't make it to the historic event where we demonstrated dying.

    The dye also works on leather and on wood, but you need to seal the wood with something when done, as you can't really rinse wood well like you can leather or cloth.

    LD
     
  13. Aug 17, 2012 #13

    kenhulme

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    Coffee and tea, alone or together, make good dyes. Google Pioneer Thinking or Natural Dyes. There are several sites that have good basic information on dying using natural plant materials.
     
  14. Sep 19, 2012 #14

    Birdwatcher

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    Stophel,

    I owe you an apology.

    A slow 200 mile circuit of the Hill Country this weekend yielded ~2 gallons of ripe Sumac berries, and a trip to Wally World for 200 "Iron Supplement" ( active ingredient 200 mg of ferrous sulfate AKA iron (II) sulfate AKA Copperas). and two el cheapo four gallon pots so I dont ruin the missus's stuff.

    Sumac aint real common down here, but there's some around.

    Results pending.

    Birdwatcher
     
  15. Sep 19, 2012 #15

    Black Hand

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    It's the leaves you want if you want brown.
     
  16. Sep 19, 2012 #16

    Stophel

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    It just so happens I was in the Hill Country myself a couple of weeks ago! As we drove around, I did notice a FEW sumac "trees" here and there. Very few. But they are there. :wink: Glad you found some!

    If the berries are fresh, and the ferrous sulphate is strong, you should get a deep, dark gray. If the berries are old and dry, you can end up with a neat smoky gray color. Experiment. :wink:
     
  17. Sep 20, 2012 #17

    Birdwatcher

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    I used about a gallon of berry clusters by volume, prob'ly a lot less that a gallon of berries as I did not take the time to pick individual berries off the clusters.

    Followed directions here...
    http://vikland.tripod.com/sumac.html

    Using only about 3 1/2 gallons water in the pots I had.

    Grinding up the 200 iron supplement tables took about 30 seconds in a small coffee bean grinder, but I had to filter the boiled ground tablet and water mix through an old t-shirt to get the particles out before using it as a mordant.

    Soaked the berries for an hour, boiled 'em for thirty minutes, and then strained the mix through a t-shirt.

    Boiled up the heavy cotton drop-front pants in the sumac berry juice first, came out light tan as advertised. Another thirty minutes boiled in the mordant and they are now a medium-dark grey.

    Hard to tell exactly by porch light, but I'm pleased with the results, just a few lighter and darker spots, otherwise pretty uniform.

    Liked it so much I dunked my linen/cotton blend hunting shirt in along with a yard of coarse linen I use as a headscarf. Same treatment, 30 minutes boiled in each.

    I was gonna dye these with pecan but scouting around this weekend saw almost no new husks growing on the trees, I'm thinking this is gonna be an off-year for 'em with very little nut production, as normally happens with wild pecans.

    Plain to see this time second time around that I was running out of mordant, near as I can tell by artificial light on the frock and scarf I got a uniform medium gray, just a shade darker than smoke. I will say that linen seems to be easier to get a uniform color on than does cotton.

    Still had enough color left in the sumac berry tea that I just boiled a pair of plain natural linen breeches I've had.

    These took the color instantly, dying a shade darker tan/brown than I would have expected.

    Gonna let 'em soak overnight, and leave 'em that color.

    I'll post pics later.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Oh ya, I should point out that I took no more than about half the berry clusters at any given roadside location. See, mockingbirds stake their winter territories around such things, and I wouldn't want to leave any totally without :wink:

    Birdwatcher
     
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  18. Sep 21, 2012 #18

    Birdwatcher

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    Hmmm, daylight was harsh.

    In seeking to get 'em historicallery grungy, had not washed my knee breeches after the last time I wore 'em. Turns out dried sweat must act as a mordant, darkening the brown sumac stain in those areas, making them look rather like I had wet myself... "sigh"....

    Smock and headscarf OK, if a little somber in overall color scheme.

    Pants? I need 'em a bit darker yet, and the legs were a tad paler than the top.

    Hookay.... round two, second and final gallon of sumac berries. Gonna boil the breeches and pants again in sumac juice, and then dunk the pants in the copperas mordant, this time using 400 iron pills.

    Wish me luck.... :grin:
     
  19. Sep 21, 2012 #19

    Birdwatcher

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    OK, two go-pounds on the cotton drop-front pants,
    once the linen/cotton ("fustian") hunting smock.

    That grey on the pants may be as dark as flame leaf sumac gets. This was taken in full sunlight.

    The frock aint quite as bright as the digital image suggests, but its a pale grey with a hint of lavender. What the heck, maybe my persona can be a Texian interior decorator :grin:

    [​IMG]

    Birdwatcher
     
  20. Sep 23, 2012 #20

    Woods Dweller

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    This might help

    How to Make Walnut or Pecan Dye

    You can make your own walnut or pecan dye, and save a lot of money, by starting with the nuts themselves!

    Gather or purchase walnuts and/or pecans. After the dying process is complete, and the stain applied to the chosen object, walnut dye will dry a brown shade and pecan dye will be an orangish-red color. Nuts should be gathered in the fall - from September to mid-October or so. The dyes are made from the hulls of the nuts and not the meat.

    Place the hulls in a knee-hi stocking or fabric bag. This helps keep the hulls together while allowing excess water to be strained.

    Set the bag of hulls in a pan of water. The water should be just enough to cover the bag; all hulls should be completely immersed. Allow the hulls to remain in the water for three days. Boil the hulls and water for a couple of hours then remove from the heat. Allow to sit overnight then drain. Hulls can be thrown away at this point.

    Use a funnel and coffee filter to strain the liquid and remove any chunks or pieces that remain. The liquid should be strained into a glass jar. The dye is strong enough that, over a period of time, it can eat through plastic. Although the dye can be poured into plastic squirt-bottles to use it should then be poured back into the glass container.

    To dye large items you can immerse them in a bath of the dye. To do this, wet the object well, then immerse. Stir the water often and allow the piece to sit until desired shade is reached. Other methods of applying the dye include a foam paintbrush or even a soft cloth.

    The walnut or pecan dye can be stored for a long period of time, however, after awhile it tends to develop mold. To retard this, add a little vinegar to the solution.
     

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