Thursday, May 28, 2015

Flying Colours

My very first attempt to dye some pieces of mohair was way back in 2012. (You may click here to read on the previous post:

This time, I wanted to create a very special and unique Bear to celebrate Singapore's birthday which will be held on 9 August 2015. Hence, I searched my drawers to see what colour dyes I have remaining in order to create a special red coloured fur.

I had a chat with my friend Joanne Livingston who is a very experienced Bear maker and she shared her hand dyeing experience which she had done previously.

L-R: Bake King Dye and Kool-Aid

On hand, I had some packets of colourful Kool-aid (flavoured drink mix) which is very popular in the US. In fact, I have not even tried one before!

However, I was also looking for other alternatives to dye my white fur.

Joanne brilliantly suggested that I try using the red dye which is used for festive occasions in Singapore. We use these food colourings for Easter and birthday eggs. As they are meant to be edible, they are generally safe and does not deteriorate the fur.

Dyeing white mohair
As I had some free time on Monday, I decided to experiment with the dyes I have; Kool-Aid (Cherry) and Bake King Dye (Cherry Red).

First, I boiled a pot of water and dissolved the dye, salt and vinegar with a few stirs. Then, I immersed a piece of mohair completely into the pot and continued stirring. I ensured that the surface of the mohair was completely soaked in the mixture, turning and stirring the piece of mohair until the coloured water turns pale which meant that the colour was absorbed completely.

Measuring amount of water

Adding in dye

Adding in salt

Adding in vinegar

Stirring while hot!

Flip the mohair while stirring to ensure all mohair are soaked in the dye

After 20 minutes, I removed the mohair from the pot and placed it into a washing tub. To remove the vinegar smell and soften the mohair, I washed it with shampoo followed by conditioner.

Washing with shampoo and conditioner to make the mohair soft!
On my 1st attempt, I experimented with the following mixure: One piece of 1/4m white mohair, 48Oz of water, 1 teaspoon of cherry red Bake King dye, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of white vinegar The outcome of the first piece of mohair appeared to be bright cherry red! It's really beautiful however, it wasn't the colour which I wanted.

On my 2nd attempt, I used the following formulation to achieve a darker tone of red:
One piece of 1/4m white mohair, 64Oz of water, 5 teaspoon of cherry red Bake King dye, 4 teaspoons of salt and 4 teaspoons of white vinegar.

The outcome was turned out really well! I got a piece of striking red mohair!

On my 3rd attempt, I tried using a packet of cherry kool aid in the mixture.
One piece of 1/8m white mohair, 32Oz of water, 1 packet of cherry kool aid, 5 teaspoons of salt and 5 teaspoons of white vinegar.

Turned out that I got myself a piece of warm orange-red mohair which wasn't too bad!

L-R: Cherry (Kool Aid), Darker Cherry Red and Pink Cherry (Bake King Dye)

I really enjoyed myself and I am very thankful to my dad for helping me as well! I am going do more experiments with other dyes in future.

Hope you like what we shared today. Do go ahead and try dyeing some fur yourself. It's really interesting and fun!

Cheers, Wayne

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