Warp or Skein Painting

Warp or skein painting with Procion MX type dyes
Instructions adapted from http://www.prochemical.com/directions/MX_WarpPaintingCottonSilk.htm, http://www.yarnsplus.com/weave/dyeing/procionDirect.htm (dead link) and http://www.pburch.net/dyeing/fiberreactive.shtml

For cellulose fibres (cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, rayon, tencel etc.).

Please read the introduction before using these instruction

Bucket or other container for wetting-out
Detergent (Synthrapol, if available)
Soda Ash (Sodium carbonate)
Procion MX type dye of desired colour(s)
Containers for dye solutions (same number as number of colours to be used)
Measuring spoons
Paddle pop sticks
Plastic sheeting or wrap
Foam brushes (same number as number of colours to be used)
Plastic colander

Preparation of fibre (to be done in advance)

    1. Wind a skein or warp of desired length/number of ends in the undyed yarn. Tie as usual, but make all ties loose.
    2. Weigh the dry yarn warp to be dyed and record weight. If warp is chained, unchain the warp at this point.
    3. Thoroughly wet-out the yarn/fibre in a solution of 9 tablespoons of soda ash to 4 litres of water (wear gloves) for at least 15-20 minutes to a few hours This soak solution can be kept indefinitely and reused to soak more yarn.

Preparation of urea water (to be done in advance)

    1. Dissolve 100 g of urea in 1 litre of hot water. Allow to cool to room temperature before using.

Preparation of dye paints

    1. Calculate how much dye you will need for each shade you want.

Results will vary depending on fibre type (eg. tencel tends to require less dye to achieve the same colour depth as cotton) and original colour of fibre – keep records if you want to reproduce colours accurately.

For each 250 mL of urea water use:

Pale Medium Dark Black
Dye powder (normal) ¼ tsp ¾ tsp 1½ tsp 3 tsp
Dye powder (Tencel) < 0.1 tsp ¼ tsp ¾ tsp 2 tsp
    1. Wear gloves when handling dyes, chemicals or dye solutions. Measure the correct amount of dye powder into a separate container for each colour. Add enough urea water to dissolve the dye powder and stir with a paddle pop stick until dissolved. Add more urea water to the desired volume. Repeat for each colour. Dye paints should be used within hours.

Painting the warp

  1. Lay out plastic wrap on the surface where you are doing your warp painting. Wearing gloves, remove the warp from the soak solution. Wring out the excess soak solution. Stretch the warp out on the plastic.
  2. Paint the dyes onto the warp with foam brushes. If the warp doesn’t absorb the dye quickly, add some Synthrapol solution to the dye paints. Be sure to move around the strands of the warp and cover all of the yarn with dye paint.
  3. Cover the warp with plastic and allow to ‘cure’. Curing time will depend on depth of shade required (from 4 hours for pastel shades to 24 hours for dark shades and turquoise). The temperature should be above 22°C during curing, so place somewhere warm (eg. in the sun, on top of a hot water heater, with a hot water bottle etc.).
  4. After curing, remove the warp from the plastic wrap. Rinse 2-4 times in room temperature water. Then rinse in a very hot (60°C) wash of Synthrapol (½ tsp per litre of water), then rinse again 2-3 times in room temperature water. The water should be clear by this stage. If not, repeat the hot Synthrapol wash and rinses again. Hang warp to dry.