Another day....another dye bath. Lets get to it, and as a spoiler, there was something more significant about today's dye bath. Here we go:
Today we have two tests in mind. 1) See if prepping the the sleeve with bleach enhances the amount of dye it will take; and 2) see if adding vinegar to the dye bath enhances the amount of dye the sleeve will take. So.....I guess we are going to have to create two separate dye baths!
How much fun is that?! Each 8 quart stock pot was filled with about 4 quarts of water. I used more water this time because my plan is to simmer it for a long time today, and unless you keep the pot covered the whole time, you lose some water to evaporation. For those with good eyes, that is the Rit "Scarlet" dye we are using today. One $3 bottle in each pot. Find it at your local Wal-Mart.
Clearly need some vinegar for this test. Think this is enough?
On with the test. In each pot, I put two lengths of white FTW sleeve, for a total of 4. One of the sleeves in each pot had been soaked in bleach for 2 hours, while the other had not been prepped at all. From previous tests, it didn't seem like Acetone or Alcohol and impacted the dye process...but why not give bleach a try! In one of the pots, I dumped in 3 full cups of vinegar. Yeah...I know that's a lot. And my house stunk. But the best way to see if it impacts the dye process is to overdue it, right? Extreme, right?
I simmered each pot for about 6 hours. Covered most of the time, but would lift the lid periodically to check on it. After six hours, the results were more surprising than previous tests. The picture below contains the 4 sleeve length's, from left to right, in this order:
1. No Prep - No Vinegar
2. Bleach Prep - No Vinegar
3. No Prep - Vinegar in Dye Bath
4. Bleach Prep - Vinegar in Dye Bath
Now we're cooking with fire! First time there have been differences created by either prepping the sleeve or adding to dye bath. The first two on the left had no vinegar added to the dye bath. The two on the right did. Huge difference in the amount of dye that was absorbed, ...but also in the color shade. The two on the left are FAR too light for the intended effect of the scarlet color...but at least they are in the right shade family. The two on the right are BY FAR the darkest and most vivid to date from these dye tests....but the color turned more brown than scarlet. Only two realy possibilities here.....either the vinegar that was added impacted the tint of the color as well as the amount absorbed.....or the two bottles of dye were not well matched. I would tend to believe that it was the vinegar, because the dye looked the same color coming out of the bottle. Can easily prove/disprove that with another test (which of course I will do).
But also look at the difference between #1 and #2 above, and between #3 and #4 above. The #2 and #4 were the two prepped with bleach, and both of them DO have a little brighter and more vivid look than #1 and #3. Not a whole lot, but clearly noticeable in person. I can also tell from the picture....but it might be my mind knowing that the difference exists. Trust me...its there.
For funnies....I threw in some white paracord to the same dye bath that had the vinegar in it. I assumed because of the different material that it wouldn't take long to get some color. I cooked it for about 10 minutes. The pics below show the paracord on the far right...next to our other samples:
The color, while still not perfect, is much closer to the "Scarlet" that the dye is supposed to produce. It does, however, still have a slightly browner tint than it should. This opens another possibility...even though I know I previously said there were only two possibilities as to why the plastic sleeve turned so brown in the vinegar. Perhaps the 6 hours was just far too long. I didn't check the color along the way.
Here are my thoughts for the next round of testing. Clearly the vinegar helps/impacts the dye process. I need to figure out if I used too much....or if I cooked it too long. So, for next round, I will again use two pots of dye bath, both with the exact same amount/color of dye. But in one, I will put a little vinegar, and in the other I will put a lot. Additionally, in each pot I will start with multiple lengths of sleeve, and will take some out after 30 minutes, some after 1 hour, etc. That way I'm covering both the amount of vinegar and the time it cooks.
Look for another update tomorrow! Still expecting the MDCP sleeve either today or Monday, so I'm going to repeat which ever tests were most successful with that sleeve also to see if results are different. I also still plan to expand the paracord testing at some point.