Monday, April 06, 2009

Dyeing versus Dying

Children should come with signs from the womb that say: Warning! This cute tiny little apple of your eye will grow to be a not quite as cute, but still cute apple of your eye that carries infectious diseases. You do not even want to know how sick I became on Thursday night. The sick continued up until yesterday evening. It was not fun. It should have come with a warning.

Very late yesterday, I was bit with another bug. While I had gotten past the point of wanting to die, I suddenly wanted to dye. So I did.

I was using Kool-aid and a tiny bit of Wilton's paste for the dyeing and I wanted to try and do things a bit differently than last time.

1. I wanted to be a little more scientific so that I could re-produce the colors later instead of the fly by the seat of my pants method that I usually employ.
2. I also wanted colors that weren't quite so in-your-face clown barfy. I didn't want all neon primary colors, so that took a little thought.

Here's what I did:

I have a whole bag of lumps and bumps of fiber. I got out my digital postal scale and started weighing. Most of the lumps were .2 ounces in weight. One of the lumps was .8 oz and another was 2oz.

I ignored the total amount of water used. I went with the fiber weight versus ounce of dye route.

I heated water in pots on the stove to boiling. If you are using just the kool-aid, you do not need to add citric acid or vinegar to make it color fast. However, if you are using just food coloring, you're going to want to add them. I do not measure this out usually, and I probably use way too much of either because of it. I did put 1 tablespoon in the pot that was going to be used with the Wiltons.

I used Mason jars and glasses for the smaller lumps and the pots for the bigger ones.
Once the water was boiling, I turned if off, filled up my containers about half way, added the dye and walked away until the dye exhausted (the water was clear, the fiber colored.) Then rinsed and dried the fiber. Easy peasy.

I actually took notes! Can't believe it. It's just not like me.

I'm going to show you a pic and then give you my mix of kool-aid and Wilton's so that if you want to produce some of these you can. You'll have to do your own maths to get the ratios correct for the weight of your fiber.

Starting from the right and going clockwise:

Rust - For two ounces of fiber: 2 packetss yellow KoolAid, 1 packet BerryBlue Twist KA, 1.5 tsp Cherry KA, 1/4 tsp Orange Wilton's Food Coloring (paste)

Melon Orange - For .2 oz fiber: 1 tsp Orange Koolaid, 1 3/4 tsp Yellow Koolaid, 1/4 tsp Cherry Koolaid

Mossy Green - For .2 oz fiber: 1 tsp Orange Koolaid, 1/2 tsp Berry Blue Twist Koolaid

Purple - For .8 oz fiber: 1 packet Grape Koolaid

Red: For 1 oz. fiber: 1 packet Fruit Punch Koolaid

Dark Mossy Green: For .2 oz. fiber: 1.5 tsp Orange Koolaid, 1 tsp Berry Blue Twist, 1 tsp Lemonaid Koolaid

(I'm skipping to the almost black here, so bear with me.)

Black: For .2oz fiber: 1/4 tsp. Wilton's Black Paste Food Coloring. let fiber sit in glass jar for 1/2 hour. Put in microwave and cook for 30 sec. Repeat the microwaving every half hour for about 4 times. Then let it sit over night to let it fully exhaust.

Warning: The Black does not give consistent results. It "Breaks". Usually the fiber absorbs the reds first, then the blue. If I had let it sit all night, it would have probably made a truer black. But I couldn't leave well enough alone and added another small bump (about .1 oz) of fiber to it and left it all over night. That small bump ended up being that beautiful blue.

So there ya go. Your mileage may very. For me this was very scientific. For any real scientific and anal-retentive folks, my method may very well send you to the crazy house. :)