Monday, August 24, 2015

Amond Milk Experiment

After reading the article “Sunshine and Shadow” about sunprinting with soy milk  in the August/September issue of Quilting Arts Magazine and having a carton of almond milk left by company, Elizabeth decided on using it in an experiment. We have sun printed before using several different types of paint but never with dye.  The advantage of dye should be the ‘hand’ or the feel of the fabric after application.  Since paint sits on the surface of fabric, it often leaves it stiff while dye bonds to the fiber of fabric and doesn’t significantly change the feel of the material.  It would be nice to be able to sun print with dye since it wouldn’t affect the drape of the fabric.  Elizabeth was not inclined to buy all the ingredients to make homemade soymilk and then spend the time squashing soy beans.  So, she set off to experiment with the leftover almond milk using the article as a guideline to see if it would work.

After soaking some PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric in soda ash, she measured out half a cup of almond milk and put it in a container that would never again be used for food.
Add in half a teaspoon of dye powder (navy and fuschia were used in the two containers) and stir it together. Then quickly brush it on the soda ash soaked fabric using a foam brush. 
She placed a foam placemat on as the resist item along with a few leaves from a nearby blueberry bush and let it sit in direct sunlight until the fabric was dry.

After batching (sitting) for 24 hours, the items were rinsed and washed with Synthrapol soap to remove the excess dye.  As you can see, the results were less than stellar. 

Even though the resist dye didn’t prove worth the effort we still have a piece of dyed fabric, so all was not lost and if you never experiment you never learn anything new.  Here is the red piece after the final wash; this is the back side that picked up some texture from the plastic covering the foam core board.
So, what about homemade soy milk do you think makes the procion dye work as a solar resist? The article states that “soy milk binds the pigments to the fabric”.  It appears that the dye in this experiment bonded to the fabric just fine, it just didn’t give the solar resist we were seeking.  The answer probably lies somewhere in the field of chemistry but we are off to try new experiments…

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