As I have been using stencils for the last few posts I thought I would try something different - this time making use of the positive shapes cut from stencils. Whenever I cut a stencil from freezer paper I try to be as accurate as possible so that I can keep the pieces I cut out to use too. Those are the pieces I used here.
I decided to explore using the freezer paper cut-outs as a mask along with Procion MX dyes in spray bottles and some white PFD fabric. And here are a few of the results. Not too shabby, as a friend of mine would say.
The technique is very simple. I cut stencils from freezer paper, keeping the stencils for another project, and ironing the cut-out pieces onto 12" squares of white PFD fabric. My idea is that the paper will act as a resist / physical barrier to the dye on the fabric. So as not to saturate the fabric and end up with the dye creeping under the paper barrier I thought that a light mist of sprayed dye might be a good option. With that in mind I made up some fairly strong dyes and put them into a collection of recycled spray bottles (the type you find in the kitchen and bathroom cleaning products)
My general dye recipe: 1/4 teaspoon procion MX dye 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon soda ash 1/2 cup of warm water
My usual set-up for dyeing; Dust mask, disposable gloves, plastic spoons for mixing, metal measuring spoons, pipettes, recycled tubs.
Dyeing with freezer paper masks
Mix the powdered dye and a small amount of warm water (around half a teaspoon) in a tub until it has a creamy consistency. I try to wet the powder as much as possible and mix until there are no dry lumps. If a few drops more water are required, add them with the pipette. Some dyes seem to repel water, so this method of wetting the dye really helps.
Add the salt and soda ash to the creamy mixture and then add the remaining water, a little at a time and stir until everything is dissolved. If you cannot get rid of any lumps, or you are using red (often lumpy!) it may be necessary to filter the dye through a paper coffee filter paper or an old stocking / pop sock at this stage. Note: I find this makes quite a concentrated dye, but you can add more dye powder or water depending on the shade and intensity of color you want to achieve.
Pour the mixed dyes into the spray bottles and get to work. (As the soda ash is mixed in with the dyes you have around 1 hour to get the maximum effect).
Iron the freezer paper mask pieces to the PFD fabric. Lightly spritz the entire surface of one of the pieces of fabric with the dye. Be careful not to saturate the fabric otherwise the dye will seep under the edges of the freezer paper masks.
Repeat with other colors so as to lightly cover the whole of the fabric surface - try experimenting to see which combinations you like. If the fabric seems to be becoming too wet. or worst still, starts to form puddles, allow it to dry a little before adding the next dye color.
Cover the fabric with a plastic bag and leave for an hour in a warm place.
Allow the fabric to dry ( not essential, but less messy) then carefully peel off the paper masks. If you think you may be able to use these again store them in a safe place.
Fill a large bucket or bowl with warm water and dish soap (or synthrapol) and plunge in the dyed fabric. Try to get as much dye out of the fabric as quickly as you can and then hold the fabric under a running tap. The aim is to remove the unfixed dye and not let any set into the white areas that were covered by the mask. Repeat this whole process until the water runs clear.
Dry the fabric and press.
Next I placed some bamboo batting behind the squares of fabric and quilted them - they look quite good! I think I will make some cushions from them to put into the patchwork exhibition in Gabarret, starting 10am on 13th September!