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Someone a while back suggest green kool aid or hi c for dyeing these colors green. Well I tried green kool aid and it did nothing. So they either meant HI C or it just doesnt work?
 

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Jack Cook
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Kool Aid

Kool Aid works great as a dye but it is pretty expensive.

Mallard is hard to dye like most water birds. The pheasant is hard as are all highly iridescent feathers.

To get the best results. Get a bucket full of very hot tap water and Dawn or Ivory dish soap. Soak the feathers for a while, agitate, change the water and repeat. After a couple hors in the dish soap scoop out the feathers and into the dye.

Make sure the dye is nice and hot.

No one said putting dye into feathers was easy!
 

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Kool Aid Dye

I agree with Speyman, Kool Aid works great as a dye.

The way I do it is to first wet the feathers in a dish washing soap, brand of your choice. I do this just long enough to wet the feathers, a minute or so.

I then mix a cup of water with one package of Kool Aid. Put this in a microwavable container, add the feathers, and microwave to a boil, two or three minutes. I have done pheasant and mallard this way and have not seen any loss in feather quality.

If you have a small quantity of feathers this is a convenient method, Kool Aid is readily available and you can dye and dry in less than 20 mintues.

I think Fly Fisherman Magazine had an article on this method in the last year or two.

Experiment and have some fun with it.

Jim T
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Sound like it is time for a this year's brief tutorial on dying.

First let me get the Kool Aide question out of the way. Yes, you can dye feathers and fur with Kool Aid (make sure it is the type you need to add sugar too though). To do so, you need to heat the water to around 160 degrees before adding the package of Kool Aid (yes, it takes the whole package if you want the best results) to the water to make the dye bath. You also need to add 1/2 cup or more of white vinegar to the dye bath to set the color. The coloring agent in Kook Aid is as acid dye approved for use in food (i.e. it is not toxic) and like all acid dyes requires a weak acid to be added to the dye bath to set the dye (which is what the white vinegar does).

Although you can get some nice colors from Kook Aid dye baths, I must caution you that the results from one dye batch to the next dye batch with Kool Aid as a dye stuff are not always consistent in the color produced. And Kool Aid is not the cheapest dye stuff on the market.

Any materials you wish to dye need to be washed before dying. You can wash them in Woolite, Ivory Clear, or some other clear, dish washing soap that has no optical brighteners (or whiteners in it) because optical brighteners of whiteners will alter the color you get.

The best thing to use for washing and cleaning feathers or fur for dying is a product called Synthrapol because it was developed specifically for dying. Sythrapol is a cleaner, suficant, and dye dispersant in one product. This means it will cut through grease, dirt, and blood easily, and is dye dispersant properties mean that you will have a very even and uniform color after dying. If you dye without using Syntrapol (or Veniard's Venpol, which is similar) you are likely to have splotchiness or uneven dying on your materials.

The absolute best dye stuffs to use on feathers and furs are acid dyes (yes, I know I said Kool Aid is an acid dye, but it has a lot of other things in it and only a small amount of acid dye/package). These are very easy to use and only require white vinegar to set the color. Readily available brand names areL Jacquard's, Orco Dyestuffs Flye Dye (the Fly Dye uses common fly tying color terminlogy for its colors), and the dyes that Pro Chemical and Dye sells. These are all inexpensive (they come in 1/2 oz, 1 oz, or 2 oz containers, or in 8 oz, or 1lb if you are intending to dye pounds of material) with prices of between about $4.00-$7.00.

[Veniard's dye is also acid dye; but only a few of their colors are not blends of dyes. When you use blended dye powder, it is very difficult to get consistent colors because you cannot control how much of each blend you get in a given dye bath. This is why I don't use Veniard's dyes with the exception of: Kingfisher blue, hot orange, hot pink, yellow, and crimson, which are not blended dye and as a result always dye true. However, Veniard's dye is more expensive than Jacquard's, Fly Dye, or the dyes Pro Chemical and Dye sells and their dyes always dye true. In other words why bother with the more expensive Veniard's dye when there are other less expensive and very consistent coloration dyes on the market?]

Synthrapol comes in 8 oz, 16 oz, 32 oz, and 1 gal sizes. I buy it in 8 oz sizes because you only need 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon to clean and dye up to 4 oz of materials (4 oz is a rather large amount of materials, especially when talking feathers). It sells for about $5.00 for 8 oz. And the white vinegar used to set the dyes is found in grocery stores by the quart or gallon and is very cheap.

Contrary to what has been mentioned earlier, I've not found duck flank, such as mallard, difficult to dye at all. To the contrary, I've found it very easy to dye with acid dyes. Use stainless steel, enamed, or pyrex as a dye pot because other materials with interact with the dye and alter the color or make it skitterish. I prefer stainless steel because it is cheap and comes in many different sizes.

Anyhow this how to use acid dye: 1) put 2 quarts (or 2 liters) of distilled water (distilled water has no impurities in it that might react with the dye and effect your color) in the stainless steel pot, add 1/2 teaspoon of Syntrapol; 2) heat this to about 160 degrees; 3) add the dye either putting 1/4 teaspoon of dye powder directly into the water/Synthapol mixture you have heated and stir it well to make sure it is all dissolved (this is what I usually do), or you can past up 1/4 teaspoon of dye in 4 oz of hot water in a pyrex, clear plastic, or stainless steel cup or small container and then add the resulting paste to the water and Syntrhapol mixture; 4) After the dye is well dissolved, add the feathers, fur, or a few tails; 5) after 15 minutes, check your material for color (it should be very close if hot finished) and if not quite dark enough, let it sit another 5 minutes before checking again; and 6) upon reaching the color you want, dump everything (dye, water, material) into a strainer and rinse with clean water until it comes out clear. All you need to do now is set the material aside to dry.

Although this sound very involved and complicated, it is really very easy and the results are very predicatable, if you use acid dye powder.
 

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Hi

I use Veniard dyes and would have to concur with Flytyer on consitancy.That said natural materials themselves are not uniform in absorbsion and base colour. Given that materials themselves vary in consistancy and Veniards work best on materials which have been properly cleaned and had a de-sufficant(?spelling) wash, they do provide a rich, strong colour and if you are not working to specific colour space vs general one , then the Veniards work well, conveniently and easily. The only colour I have found difficult with Veniards is Black- go figure- the dye blend is actually a very very dark purple- nature of the chemicals/process I would venture.


Will
 

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loco alto!
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How difficult is it to dye irridescent materials into deep hues?

What can be done to ensure that the dye takes well?

I've dyed chicken feathers successfully and want to branch out into various pheasant feathers.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Steve,

It is no more difficult than dying chicken feathers. The material will still have some irridescents in it after dying; but it will definitely be the color you are after. Use some of the tips I sent you before on overdying to darken up a color.

To get a good, dark black with Veniard's black, you need to overdye (this means after the material is dyed and rinsed you put it in another dye bath of a different color) it with brown or non-florescent orange to kill the purple or blue cast the Veniard's black produces.

However, the best blacks I've found are Fly Dye, Jacquard's, and the acid dyes Pro Chemical and Dye sells. To get a good, dark black (which is the hardest color to get), you need to double or triple the amount of dye in the dye bath (i.e. use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon in 2 quarts of water and leave the material in the dye bath 30 minutes or longer. Yes, this will mean a lot of unused dye goes down the drain; but it is the only way to get a nice, deep black. And I can't emphasize enough the need to use Synthapol in the dye bath to get good, consistent, complete color saturation.
 

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Norwegian speyfanatic
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flytyer said:
Anyhow this how to use acid dye: 1) put 2 quarts (or 2 liters) of distilled water (distilled water has no impurities in it that might react with the dye and effect your color) in the stainless steel pot, add 1/2 teaspoon of Syntrapol; 2) heat this to about 160 degrees; 3) add the dye either putting 1/4 teaspoon of dye powder directly into the water/Synthapol mixture you have heated and stir it well to make sure it is all dissolved (this is what I usually do), or you can past up 1/4 teaspoon of dye in 4 oz of hot water in a pyrex, clear plastic, or stainless steel cup or small container and then add the resulting paste to the water and Syntrhapol mixture; 4) After the dye is well dissolved, add the feathers, fur, or a few tails; 5) after 15 minutes, check your material for color (it should be very close if hot finished) and if not quite dark enough, let it sit another 5 minutes before checking again; and 6) upon reaching the color you want, dump everything (dye, water, material) into a strainer and rinse with clean water until it comes out clear. All you need to do now is set the material aside to dry.

Although this sound very involved and complicated, it is really very easy and the results are very predicatable, if you use acid dye powder.
Flytyer, didn't you forgot the vinegar?

I adds the vinegar (actually I use citrus acid instead, it don't smell as vinegar does) after I got the decired color, then I let it stand for a while more letting the color set.

Have used both jacquard and veniard. My experience its that it's easier to get the desired color with jacquard. With veniard the amount of dye and the amount of time the materials are in the dye are very critical. Looks like it's easier to overdye with verniard.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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McIntyre,

Yes, I forgot to mention adding white vinegar (or some other similarly weak acid) to the dye bath after you add and disolve the dye ooweder. The vinegar is needed to set the dye so it doesn't wash out in water.

I've found it far easier to overdye with Jacquard's, Wash Fast, Kiton, or Fly Dye than with Veniard's because these four dye true to color every time (unlike Veniard's with the exception of Veniard's kingfisher blue, hot orange, and hot pink). And each of these companies offer some colors that the others don't. For instance, fl. fuschia is only offered by Jacquard's, hot purple is offered by Wash Fast (sold by pro chemical and dye), and darhma trading company offers a wonderful true fl. yellow (what we used to call chrome yellow).

For those who don't know what we are talking about with overdying, it is simply dying a material one color and after rinsing the excess dye out of it when finished, putting the already dyed material in another color dye bath. This is very useful for producing fiery brown (first dye Jacquard's chocalate brown and then overdye with Jacquard's pumpkin orange), dark purple (first dye with violet and then overdye with navy blue), hot purple (first dye with violet and then overdye with hot pink or fuschia), getting blue or purple out of black (overdye with orange-not fl. orange).
 

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Norwegian speyfanatic
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flytyer said:
McIntyre,

I've found it far easier to overdye with Jacquard's, Wash Fast, Kiton, or Fly Dye than with Veniard's because these four dye true to color every time (unlike Veniard's with the exception of Veniard's kingfisher blue, hot orange, and hot pink). And each of these companies offer some colors that the others don't. For instance, fl. fuschia is only offered by Jacquard's, hot purple is offered by Wash Fast (sold by pro chemical and dye), and darhma trading company offers a wonderful true fl. yellow (what we used to call chrome yellow).

For those who don't know what we are talking about with overdying, it is simply dying a material one color and after rinsing the excess dye out of it when finished, putting the already dyed material in another color dye bath. This is very useful for producing fiery brown (first dye Jacquard's chocalate brown and then overdye with Jacquard's pumpkin orange), dark purple (first dye with violet and then overdye with navy blue), hot purple (first dye with violet and then overdye with hot pink or fuschia), getting blue or purple out of black (overdye with orange-not fl. orange).
I'm sorry, I guess overdying was not the right word for what I meant. I meant that it's easy to dye it too much with veniard, getting a much darker colour than wanted. So I guess we agree on that part.

Flytyer, do you prefer overdying (by your meaning) instead of mixing/blending the powder?
 

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Pullin' Thread
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McIntyre,

Most of the time I prefer overdying because it is far more predictable and easier to get the color shading you want. Also, some dye colors are of slightly different acid dye type (supermilling instead of leveling acid dye for instance) and this cause problems with getting the right color unless you use overdying because the leveling and supermilling acid dyes are absorbed by the substrate (materials) at different rates.

However, if I want a vibrant hot purple and don't have any of the Wash Fast color #817 Brillian Purple dye on hand, I will simply add a little hot pink dye to a purple dye bath and mix them together while testing the color with a small strip of white paper towel and if a little more pink is needed (the hot pink brightens and lightens the purple) I add it. This is done before the materials are added to the dye bath. However, if I want a dark purple, I will first dye it purple (or hot purple with the addition of the hot pink dye if I don't have the proper Wash Fast color) and then overdye with navy blue. And to kill overtones in black, you have to overdye or you get even more pronounced overtones (I know because I tried to do it by simply adding some light orange dye to a black dye bath, the resulting color was not nice and I had to toss the materials out).
 
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