Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Percentage and Factions in Dyeing

When math and textiles are mentioned together I immediately think of dyeing. I decided to take on a series of colors to show how percentages and fractions change the outcome of a color.
First a little about dyes, I used cotton broad cloth with is a very strong cotton that is a bit stiff. Cotton is a cellulous fiber that uses a specific type of dye called fiber reactive dyes. In the lab we use dyes that are mixed with a depth of dye of 1%. The depth of dye helps calculate the amount of dye needed to make a color. Every color is made with a specific percentages. For example .125% will give me a very pale color compared to 6% which will give me a very saturated color. Fabric does have a limit of dye it can soak up, usually I do not go over 8% unless I am working with a color like black or blue. And in my formulas I do go up to 10% a few times.
For this project I chose a pallet of 5 colors, to which I figured out the formulas for. Usually I can look at a color and figure out the color formula, but sometimes I do need some help, so we do have some sample books that have different samples to help figure out a color formula. Of the five colors I then wanted to take each color and go lighter by two shade and them more saturated.

 So if my color was a 2% I would do .5% and 1% for the lighter colors and then 4% and 8% for the more saturated colors. But, percentage is not the only part of color mixing. There are several ways for mixing. I will use green as an example. Yellow plus blue make green, but if you were to mix equal parts of each color you would have a blue with a little bit of a yellow tinge because the blue would take over the yellow. So in order to make green we would have to put more yellow than blue. This could be achieved
   1.     By percentage you would do two different equations with a 6% yellow and a .5% blue which would give you a green, but it would be hard to make it a perfect color.

.06*DWG                                    .005*DWG
_________=                             ___________ =        
     .01                                                 .01

2.      2. We could do it with ratios meaning we already have mixed colors them we do
 2:1 of the mixed color but for this that’s a bit too complicated just to make a green.

3.      So then we get to my favorite way of color mixing with is with parts. To make a perfect Kelly green you would probably do 2-4% of dye and then after you solve the equation take the product and divide it into any number really I usually do 10. And for Kelly green I would do 7 parts yellow and 3 parts blue.
Let’s do 4% and a DWG of 5 (Dry Weight Goods) or how much the fabric weighs while dry

_____= 20    then take 20/10=2      2*7= 14ml of yellow dye and 2*3=6 ml of blue

In order to do samples I like to use mason jars because they are small so I can easily cover the fabric with the water and dye. For Fiber reactive dyes A few things must be done first. 1. You have to do something called mordenting. This allows the fabric to open up for dyeing and it must mordant for 24 hours. After the 24 hour period the dye pot consists of water, a chemical called metaphose, salt and dye. Each ingredient has a specific amount that is calculated with the DWG.

For the dye process first you add the water which is 20*DWG, then add dissolved salt and dissolved metaphose ( both can be dissolved in boiling water) and add to the dye pot then add the dye and stir. The fabric that has been soaked in the mordant is then rinsed and added to the dye pot. It must be stirred or in the case of mason jars shook vigorously for 15-30 minutes. After this Soda ash is then added also dissolved. This product allows the dye to stay in the fabric essentially. A lot of the time your dye pot will change color slightly. Then the pot must be stirred every 5 minutes for one hour. After the hour is must be rinsed thoroughly and put into a soap soak for 10 minutes.  Then all you have to do is let it dry and you’re done. I chose to sew all of my rectangles together to show the gradient between colors but also how different mixes look together.  

Finished Product


  1. Emily, this is really cool! Very interesting mathematical connection.

  2. Wow, love this! I had no idea about all of the math involved -- what a beautiful result!

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