Sun Painting

We have had some really, really hot days recently. Out of the clear blue, I remembered I had purchased some InkoDye… this is a vat dye that develops it’s color under heat. So it’s great for creating sun fabric. I thought, Hey, I ought to try that out…
These dyes are water soluble and you can mix them together to get different colors. Plus, you can dilute them to create lighter shades, and they will still react to the sun so you still get the impression of whatever you have laid over the fabric. The problem is, you cannot tell what color it is until it is developed. I think I need to create a master image using a bit from each color so I know what they will look like when they have finished processing.
I started out with wet fabric, figuring it was going to be easier for the InkoDye to spread if it was poured over fabric that was not dry. Then I diluted the InkoDye. I didn’t want to make it too light so I didn’t add very much water. I put the plants on the fabric and then used a sponge brush to blot color onto the fabric. I think I did this in the wrong order.

This is so experimental. I had done this about 8 years ago, maybe 9 years, in California on a visit. My fabric was a lot more successful then!

On this try I used green, blue and black. I think I would have liked it better if I would have poured the dye on the wet fabric, then quickly put the leaves over it. And maybe used a brayer to flatten the plants. Or used wilted plants. These were ripped right out of the ground next to where I was “curing” the fabric. I realized I didn’t have enough green stuff to place on the fabric after I had the branch in place…I had to hurry because it was so hot out (about 100 degrees). It was curing REALLY, REALLY FAST.
Here is a picture of what it looked like as it was curing. The colors are already obvious. When I put them on they were NOT blue, green and black.

Then, as luck would have it, I got so nervous that I spilled my bottle of black InkoDye all over my curing area. I was so upset. I tried to sponge it up and get it back in the bottle and spilled the bottle again!! Then, I spilled it once more… I guess for good luck! Since three time’s the charm, right?

So I took a second piece of fabric (thank goodness I had wet two) and mopped up the black. Then I poured a bit of blue on the fabric and squished it around with my hands. Needless to say, my hands were also being dyed black and blue.

As fast as I could I spread the fabric and then tossed grass on it.
I am so glad I had some ReDuRan. I had purchased it when I bought some dyes for using on silk. It is a great product, it took almost all the dye off and, since I had splashed it all over my top and pants, I used it on them and it got it out!! I was so glad.

Okay, the learning curve is a little steep here… next time I am wearing rags to do this in. Not my favorite pants.

This is a really wonderful product. I like the way the fabric stays soft. With a little more experimenting I should come out with some pretty fabulous fabrics to use in my next project or two.



  1. August 13, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Will you post pictures of the fabric after it cured so we can see the result? I have used the Setacolors and done a similar experiment, but have never seen this line of dyes.

  2. trishstuart said,

    August 21, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Sure, I’ve got them up on the design wall now… I’ll take photo’s today and post them asap. I love the SetaColors, too. Sun fabric is just fun.

  3. August 21, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks. I look forward to seeing them. Will you be at Pacific International this year?

  4. John VanSeters said,

    August 22, 2009 at 5:59 am

    would like to see the resuts please

  5. trishstuart said,

    August 27, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    No. I won’t be at PIQS. I love that show but it was too expensive to ship, fly, hotel, food… It’s a great show, though.

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