Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Printing with thickened dye

These are the preliminary results from the printing session.  

circle print2

As you can see, the print isn’t complete at the top and bottom of the screen leaving a line. Chalk that up to inexperience. I think it has some potential, though. I used dye thickened with sodium alginate, which is a dried, ground kelp or seaweed. It becomes like jelly when mixed with water and it worked pretty well with the screen.

The stamps were another story. Unlike paint or ink, the thickened dye is slippery and doesn’t stick to the stamps very well, especially the lino. I grabbed a couple of foam stamps and those worked a little better, but the dye accumulates in the little crevices and then drips out when the stamp is applied to the surface.

stamp practice

I had to carve the fox deeper, so while I was at it I made a couple more stamps.

paisley stamp

The big one is two sided. The spool has jute glued to the top which made the circles in the picture below.

paisley stamp2


I really like these stamps, but the results with the thickened dye are not what I was hoping for. The paisley piece will need another layer of something…I’m not sure just what that will be.

This is as far as I got today. These two pieces are drying and then will have to be heat set. I have my fingers crossed that all the dye won’t run down the drain with the first rinse!

I’m going to try another screen method tomorrow, so I’ll check in with that when I have something to show!


  1. how fun to see your experiment in progress! Bummer to hear that thickened dye didn't work as you thought, but good for you for keeping at it and trying other variations. Can't wait to see more!

  2. These are really cool! Have you thought about using your stamps to apply a wax resist? You could dye the fabric a light color, hit it with the wax resist stamps, then overdye it with another color.....

  3. maybe a pigment-based ink might be better for your stamps.


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