3 Simple Dye-Na-Flow Techniques


By Nicole Tinkham

Looking to start a new project? Silk painting may just be the thing to satisfy your creative cravings! It’s actually not as hard as you may think and few supplies are needed. Basic silk painting requires pre-washed silk (or any other untreated fabric), a frame or stretcher, tools to apply the dye (brush, sponge, or airbrush), and of course, the dye itself (we recommend Dye-Na-Flow). Please note: some of the techniques in this post require additional materials.

Jacquard’s Dye-Na-Flow is a fluid, water based paint that acts like a dye. It was originally created to be used on light colored material, making it perfect for silk painting but it can be used on any untreated fabric. Although highly transparent, Dye-Na-Flow produces vibrant colors which can be blended together, creating an endless number of options (click here to see all 30 colors). Dye-Na-Flow is actually very easy to use; just apply the dye to pre-washed fabric with a brush, airbrush or sponge. Let the fabric dry then iron for about 3 minutes. Finally, wash in cool water and rinse. The dye can be thinned with the application of water (it is recommended to add up to 20% water when applying to fabric anyway). Aside from the basic application process, we will also discuss the following helpful techniques when using Dye-Na-Flow: resist, salt, and sun printing.

Resist technique
The resist technique is used to stop a color from flowing into another. To accomplish this, lines are drawn on the fabric with a resist and Dye-Na-Flow is applied within these lines.

  1. Draw your design onto fabric.
  2. Pour resist into an applicator bottle with metal tip. Using the applicator bottle like a pencil, squeeze the bottle until the resist flows out. It’s a good idea to practice on a separate piece of fabric first.
  3. Draw out your design with the applicator bottle moving steadily, but not too quickly. You don’t want to leave any gaps in your lines or the paint will bleed through.
  4. Examine your lines and touch up any gaps. The resist should have penetrated through to the back of the fabric. Let the resist dry completely. You can use a hair dryer to speed up drying time.
  5. Mix and apply the paint. Remember, you can mix colors and add water at this point.
  6. Using a brush or sponge, gently apply color about ½” from the resist line. The dye will flow down the rest of the way on its own. When working on larger areas, be sure to work quickly. You never want to go over dry areas, always work wet to wet!
  7. Once finished, let your piece dry completely.
  8. Lastly, heat set the color with an iron set on the highest temperature setting suited for the fabric, for at least 30 seconds.

Salt technique
To achieve a starburst effect, salt can be applied to the fabric while the Dye-Na-Flow is still wet.

  1. Apply Dye-Na-Flow to your piece.
  2. While wet, sprinkle salt onto the fabric. As the Dye-Na-Flow dries, the salt will soak up some of the dye as it dries.
  3. When completely dry, brush the salt off the fabric and enjoy your starburst effect!
  4. Remember to heat set the color with an iron set on the highest temperature setting suited for the fabric, for at least 30 seconds.

Sun printing
The sun printing technique produces beautiful ghost-like images using simple objects.

  1. Wet down the fabric with clean water.
  2. Apply Dye-Na-Flow to wet surface.
  3. While everything is still wet, arrange objects on top of the fabric. These objects can be just about anything (leaves, paper cutouts, etc.).  You may need to weigh down the objects so they won’t blow away.
  4. Set the fabric in the sun for at least an hour.
  5. Remove the objects and notice the lighter shapes left from the objects.
  6. Lastly, heat set the color with an iron set on the highest temperature setting suited for the fabric, for at least 30 seconds.

Although Dye-Na-Flow is typically used on fabric, it can also be used on other surfaces such as wood. When used on untreated wood, the dye produces rich, beautiful colors and because of its transparency, the wood grain remains visible. For more information on Dye-Na-Flow and additional surfaces it may be used on check out this video by Celia Buchanan:

We want to hear from you! If you have used one (or all) of the techniques listed above, let us know how it turned out!  You can either leave a comment here, or send us a picture of your final piece.

Image used under Creative Commons froandydr

For more information about our art supplies stop in, give us a call (941-747-2995) or visit http://www.keetonsonline.com/Art.html! For a list of our upcoming workshops, check out The Artist’s Corner.

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