Mixing Dye Stock Solutions

If you want to create often with dyes, I'd suggest making a set of dye stock solutions.  Instead of handling the dye powders every time you have a dyeing project, mix up a liquid dye stock solution  once every two weeks or so.  This way, you'll be dealing with liquid dye, rather than powdered dye. Breathing in powdered dyes on a regular basis can cause allergies to dyes -- a quick end to your dyeing fun!

For my work, I mix up 5% and 10% concentrate dye stock solution. I have a set of small plastic bottles with tight screw on tops that I use to store the solutions. Here are instructions to mix up 200 mL of 5% dye stock solution:

1.  Put on a respirator or HEPA quality dust mask.  Put on rubber gloves. Remove any food or beverages from your work area.

2. Place the container you are using for storing your concentrate on your scale. TARE your scale so that the scale reads zero.

3.  Carefully measure 10 grams of dye powder into your dye stock container. Reseal the container of dye powder.

4.  Keeping the dye stock solution container on the scale, add water to your dye powder until your scale reads 200 grams.

5.  Seal your dye stock container tightly and shake vigorously to help dye powder dissolve. Or stir well with a stir stick until no lumps remain.

6.  Before removing your mask or respirator, wipe up any spilled dye powder from your scale and work surface with a damp paper towel.

7. You now have 200 mL of a 5% dye stock solution.

Of course, you'll discover for yourself if this strength of concentrate works for you.  Any strength of dye stock solution can be mixed up.  I don't have a lot of storage space and I like to keep about 12 dye stocks available at one time, so the 200 mL of 5% strength concentrate works well for me. You may find that a 1% stock solution is better for you if you are working with smaller pieces of fabric (like making swatches for example).  The weaker the strength of the stock solution, the more stock solution you will need to measure for any particular project. When I am dyeing a lot of yardage, I use a 10% stock solution so that I don't have to stop and mix up solution as often.

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