Silk Painting with Acid Dyes

Acid dye paste used as a silk paintAcid dyes produce bright, intense colours and are ideal for silk painting. The simplest method is to use pre-mixed liquid silk colours such as Dupont Steam Fix Dyes or Jacquard Silk Colours, as silk painters can rely on the consistency of colour results.

The most cost effective however, and with more opportunities to develop your own palette, is to mix your own using Acid Dyes. Both the Fibrecrafts Acid dyes and Jacquard Acid dyes can be used for this method.

How to mix your own Silk Paint from Acid Dyes

  1. Make an 8% stock solution by adding 25ml of very hot water to 2gm of Acid dye powder. Stir until dissolved, bearing in mind that some colours are more readily dissolved than others.
  2. The final colour strength is linked to the concentration of dyestuff, giving a range from pastel to strong colour. You can dilute the 8% stock solution in roughly 2% steps by adding 2ml of water to 25ml of stock. Test at intervals, bearing in mind that the full colour of the dye will not be apparent until it has been steam set.
  3. Combine the finished ‘paint’ solution with citric acid at a rate of 0.5g to 1 litre of liquid. It is the acid from the citric acid which will balance the pH level of the dye and allow it to fix to the fabric when steam fixed.

Silk painting tools

Most colours will remain stable in a solution for long periods although some will precipitate from the solution when left standing. Reheating and stirring will help to restore the solution when it is ready to use. We supply a range of measuring and storage options which help with the preparation of Acid dye solutions and recommend you keep notes to enable you to repeat colours as closely as possible.

Mixing tray for paint or dye acid dyes

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