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Alcohol / Sharpie Marker Dyeing, Part 2

A few months after visiting my friend, when we did the alcohol ink dyeing, I decided to try the process on my own. Our local office supply store made a bundle because I bought several bundles of markers – different sizes, tips, and colors.

The next stop was to find some fabric. In my stash I found a satin-like fabric that I seldom use. My quilts and bags tend to feature natural fibers. The satin-like fabric was already cut into smallish sized pieces.

I decided to put random designs on each of the pieces. Different color combinations went onto different pieces of fabric. After all, I was conducting a scientific experiment (well, maybe) to find out how the Sharpie markers worked under different conditions. (Nothing was exchanged for this consideration – the Sharpie Company has never been in contact with me.)

After marking all of the fabric, plus some yarn, it was time to dye. Would I get results to dye for? (Hee, hee.) I took the swatches and a flat aluminum tray outside. My first mistake is that I went to the back porch. I thought I would be very careful. Well, I was careful, but I did end up spilling a drop or two of dyed alcohol onto the porch. And drying the swatches in the sun was a bit of a challenge because of the frequent wind around here.

Dyeing happened in color groups. I laid the swatches flat on the aluminum tray, then sprayed them with alcohol. I found that my nitrile gloves were VERY useful for preventing dyed skin. It was interesting to see the colors blend into one another. After one color, like the red family, I emptied out the tray of alcohol and dye, then proceeded with the other color group.

I found that the dye soaks through fabric at different rates depending on the type of weave – plain weave (think quilting cotton), versus a satin weave (often done in polyester with a shiny side). Will I try dyeing fabric this way again? I don’t know. I might.

Another time I was making some poinsettia flowers out of ribbon. I didn’t have access to stamens that were the color I wanted them to be. I got out my chisel tipped markers in the colors of yellow, lime green, and red, not to mention my gloves again. The yellow went on first. I colored the stem green next, slightly extending the color onto tip. Finally, I put a red dot on the tip. Success!

The mad scientist sprang into existence again. I took all of the chisel tip Sharpie markers I had and colored a swatch of white ribbon in each of the different colors. But no alcohol. It was interesting to see the intense color that these large markers gave to the swatches. I did cheat a little – I used a brush tip marker for the brown color.

In this process I found that, even with the same company manufacturing the ink, red in the large chisel tip markers were not always interchangeable with the regular markers.

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