I've worked with dyes a lot as an artist, particularly on silk scarves, and let me just say that I don't miss the dye part of those projects. Whenever I mix dyes, I inevitably end up getting some on myself, even when wearing gloves. It's just the nature of the beast.
Jacquard, purveyor of high-quality dyes and fabric painting products, let me try out yet another one of their kits, the Hoop Painting Fun Bag, which includes all the materials you need to create 3 paintings on silk-stretched hoops.
Jacquard makes it really easy to use the dyes, as they come in small pre-mixed bottles with built-in eyedroppers to control the application of the dye. Also included are 2 Chinese ink brushes for painting.
You can either paint these hoops, or create really cool sun paintings with them, by placing objects on the wet dyes and letting them "cook" out in the sun.
I decided on a straightforward resist painting, since we had a stretch of cloudy days.
A resist painting/dyeing is created by using a material that resists dye, like the rubber bands in a tie-dyed shirt. In the case of the Hoop Painting Kit, one uses a metallic liquid called Permanent Metallic Resist, which prevents dyes from seeping into those areas painted with the liquid. In the past, I've made my own resists using white glue and even flour and water. But that's another post.
This is how the kit works. First you lightly sketch a design on the hoop. I chose robots as my theme, but you could easily do something abstract or more importantly, let the kids do it!
Once my drawing was on the hoop, I traced over it with the Permanent Metallic Resist.
This might be tricky for some people, as you essentially are drawing while holding the bottle. You hold it upside down and squeeze the thick liquid over your lines, tracing them. It's hard toward the end, as you have to squeeze harder to get the liquid out. Definitely something your kids might need help with. I was pretty careless in applying it, as you can see, since I thought it was going to wash out and leave behind white areas in place of the gold (more to come on that later).
Once the resist dries, you're ready to paint with the dyes. It's as simple as opening the bottles and filling in the areas like a coloring book.
The resist will prevent seepage of the dye into other areas. A tip from my college watercolor professor: tilt your work on a slight angle and work from top to bottom, side to side, letting the dyes naturally roll down the page. It keeps the bottom edge wet and allows you to add more dye without noticeable lines.
The kit also includes salt, which you can sprinkle on the wet dyes for interesting affects.
Salt will absorb some of the dye, creating a speckled affect on the silk. Here are the hoops, drying on the table, which didn't take long.
And in their final, salt-free incarnations.
What Jacquard lacks are clear instructions with their kit. I mistakenly thought the resist could be washed out (duh, it does say "permanent" on it), since a photo on the package shows white areas where the resist would have been used. I kept scanning the package, looking for basic instruction for painting. The instructions for sun printing were very clear, just not for the resist painting. Plus I wasn't sure if I needed to iron this to heat set it.
But if you're looking for something unique for your family to do during the long indoor season, definitely check out Jacquard and their amazing kits and products. I highly recommend the Hoop Painting Fun Bag.