The Art of Damp Dying

Damp Dying With Precision

Even MORE JOY is possible when your stains get set in a flash! Even MORE JOY is possible when your stains get set in a flash!

Damp Dyeing Vibrant Hues

Dharma Dyes are a Fiber-Reactive Procion-type dye that bonds with natural fibers at the molecular level, becoming part of the fabric in the presence of a soda ash fixative.  

Other tie-dye methods saturate textiles with liquid dye while we keep our dye dry and then dampen it with Soda Ash water.  Dharma Dyes won’t bleed after a piece has been washed properly. The dye reacts at room temperature and gives vibrant results with enough time. We speed up the process with a pressure cooker for precise results. The dyes are pretty harmless, but soda ash is quite alkaline and can affect your skin if handled too much.

Steps To Pressure Set Stains

How To Dye With Spice

We bake Baking Soda at 300F for an hour and turn it to Soda Ash. We wash our textiles and presoak them in a solution of Soda Ash to enhance the dye uptake once we start sprinkling dye.

We mix our Procion-type Fiber Reactive Dye with Soda Ash and the powder directly onto the fabric, distributing it evenly over the surface. We use spice jars to achieve an even coverage.

We use a spray bottle filled with water and Soda Ash and mist the fabric with just enough solution to dampen the powdered dye. By spraying the Soda Ash concentrate on the textile we can control where we want the dye to bond.

We pour a small amount of water into the bottom of the pressure cooker to create steam. We then put a rack in the water, allowing the steam to envelop whatever gets placed above.

We place the dyed fabric onto a rack inside the pressure cooker making sure the fabric does not come into direct contact with the water at the bottom. Anything that touches the fabric becomes permanent in here.

We seal the pressure cooker and heat it to 10 PSI – or 240F – where the chemical reaction between the dye and the fabric occurs, bonding the color to the fibers permanently. This typically takes a few minutes to achieve.

Once the desired pressure is reached and maintained for the required time, we turn off the heat and allow the pressure cooker to cool down before opening it. It can feel like a lot pressure to let out. We carefully remove the dyed fabric and rinse it thoroughly to remove any excess dye and fixative.

We wash the dyed fabric separately using a mild detergent to ensure that any remaining excess dye is removed. This step is crucial for achieving colorfastness and preventing color bleeding during subsequent washes. After washing we trim and iron textiles that require it.

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