Reported by Sara McKenzie
I’ll give you the punch line right up front: These kits made me feel like a teenager again – and it was the great part of being a teenager!
Given the opportunity, I volunteered to review a handful of Jacquard products because I have been impressed with their lines of paint & inks (specifically, Lumiere acrylics and Pinata alcohol inks). Recently, Jacquard came out with a new line of kits for tie dye, and these are the ones that I experimented with.
The Jewel Tone Tie Dye Kits come with the following:
- two applicator bottles with powdered dye (you add the water) in two different colors that complement each other
- Soda ash (sodium bicarbonate – which makes the dye grab onto the fabric)
- rubber bands
- instructions, including tie dye patterns to try out
The packaging indicates that it is sufficient dye for two T-shirts. You also need something to hold 2 gallons of water plus your fabric or T-shirts.
The process was pretty much as I remembered it, with the exception that you soak your fabric to be dyed in a solution of soda ash for 20 minutes before applying dye. This is a definite improvement over my old Rit dye attempts, as the soda ash prepares the fibers to hold onto the dye. After soaking, you wring out the excess water, and then use the rubber bands to tie up the fabric or garment. Also different is the application of dye with plastic bottles – I liked this part, and the control it provided.
After applying color, you put your piece in a plastic bag, and let it rest for 12-24 hours. Then you rinse, wash, dry and wear (or craft!).
Although it says it in the directions, I did not realize that each kit comes with two bottles of different colors of dye. The bottles look exactly alike, including the markings on the front, and the color of the cap. So even though the instructions talked about using a complementary color, I thought that meant you had to use a second kit! Consequently, we only ended up using one bottle of dye from the “Ruby” kit and one bottle from the “Emerald” kit.
Our work space: wet and wild!
Wringing out excess soda ash before tying and dying.
Applying Jewel Tone Dye from “Ruby” kit.
Dyed and ready to rest for 12-24 hours.
Finished fabric: 1/2 yard, 100% cotton- Using accordion pleat pattern.
Close-up of accordion pleated fabric in “Ruby” and “Emerald”.
The Indigo Dye kit is a little bit different: it uses the natural dye that has been used for ages by cultures around the world and is still used to dye blue jeans. This kit includes:
- 20 grams of pre-reduced powdered indigo dye
- 250 grams of reducing agent (a mixture of 60% soda ash and 40% thiourea dioxide- this latter chemical makes the mix smell faintly of ammonia)
- rubber bands
- 2 wood blocks
- Quick Start Instructions
- Instructions that include dye patterns and a historical look at indigo
The amount of indigo dye provided is supposed to be enough for 15 yards or 5 pounds of fabric, or 15 T-shirts.
This procedure is a little different, in that the dye itself has to be chemically prepared prior to use. You are instructed to prepare a full 4 gallons of indigo dye, using the entire bottle of dye and the entire package of reducing agent. I imagine that you might be able to use only 1/2 of the package, but I don’t know that for certain. (Make sure you locate your 5 gallon pail before you start. I had to make a quick run to the local hardware store at the last minute!! You also have to provide a long stir stick that reaches to the bottom of your pail.)
If you are interested in the chemistry: indigo dye is only soluble in water when it is in a particular chemical state (“reduced”). You have to mix the dry powder dye with the reducing agent, and keep it covered, for 30-60 minutes prior to using it. Once reduced, and kept covered, you can keep the vat for a couple of weeks if you use it and store it carefully. As soon as the dye is exposed to a lot of air, the chemical state changes (it “oxidizes”) and this makes the indigo dye molecules bind to the fibers of your fabric.
If you want a REALLY deep indigo blue, you can “dip” your fabric multiple times until you have the color you like. Each dip only takes about 5 minutes, but then you have to let your piece “rest”, exposed to air, until the color changes from a deep blue-green to indigo. It is an obvious color change!!
The indigo dye vat. Yes, you definitely need gloves.
Dyed piece, resting, so the color can “oxidize”.
Untying the bundle.
- As always, kits make things easy. In both types of kits, there was plenty of dye to play with.
- Including gloves and rubber bands in the kits was a huge plus. You don’t have to hoard rubber bands for weeks in advance (or heaven forbid, buy them!).
- The instructions are well-written, and the diagrams for tying different patterns are really helpful.
- The Jewel Tone colors are really beautiful and vibrant. And the indigo is, well, indigo!
- Kids can definitely enjoy this, under adult supervision.
- The Indigo Dye Kit retails for $11.99 and each Jewel Tone kit lists for $7.99. Very reasonable prices for what you can create with them.
- Four gallons of Indigo dye?!? Even if I wanted to, I don’t know where I would have stored it in my house to use it again. I’d suggest a smaller package size. Or instructions for how to make 1/2 the amount.
- The Jewel Tone kits contain two different complementary colors. Although this is clearly written in the instructions, it is not written anywhere on the dye bottles themselves. So be more conscious of this than I was!!
Have you done any tie dying lately? Did this make you want to? Leave us a comment and let us know.