Another day...another dye bath! I'll start by saying that these were the most interesting results to date. Very encouraging. Some cool pics in this post...so read on.
First, just to briefly recap what I found out last post. I've been doing all of this dye testing with Rit dye, since it is by far the most common and accessible dye available, and you can pick it up almost anywhere. But...recently found out that Rit changed the formula of their dyes in late 2010 through early 2011, and the new formula does not dye plastic very well. The old formula apparently did fairly well with most plastics...but not the new formula. If you care, you can read more about it directly from Rit using this link
and this link
. Basically, all of the Rit liquid dye has been converted to this new formula, and most of the powder colors also. Some stores don't move a lot of this inventory, so if you look, you can sometimes find some of the old liquid and/or powder at a certain store. How do you tell if its the new formula?....its marked with the letters 'ND' on it. The bottles are marked on the top of the lids, like this:
See the 'ND' on the bottle of scarlet on the left? The bottle on the right of wine colored dye does not have the ND, and is the old formula. Another interesting tidbit is the legend for the #'s printed on the dye bottles. You see on the left, the numbers '26911'. The right-most two numbers are the year the dye was produced, and the other numbers to the left are the day of that year that the dye was produced. So, this bottle was produced on the 269th day of 2011. The bottle on the right was produced on the 335th day of 2009. If you are buying powder, the 'ND' is stamped on the paper packet inside the box. But you can open the boxes in the store without destroying them, to check the packet. So this does make it possible to scour some stores and find some old formula dye. Alternatively, you can purchase some of the old formula dye directly from Rit on their website. Based on how my results come out....I may do just that.
Now, since I had no idea about the new vs old formula in my previous testing, I can't tell you for sure what I was using. But...I can tell you that the stores where I've been buying the dye have both some old and some new...depending on the color. I shopped a few stores, and came home with some packets of Dark Green Rit dye, and these are the old formula dye.
The picture above is hard to make out, but there is text and numbers printed on the paper packet of dye. If you have the new formula...it will have 'ND' here. Mine does not, so this is the old formula. For the dye bath, I went with two packets of the Dark green powder, 4 quarts of water, two tablespoons of salt, and 1/2 cup of vinegar.
Yeah...those are brownies next to the dye bath. You got a problem with that?
Now, I'm also doing something else new for this test. For all previous tests, I have been using FTW sleeve. For this test, I am going to use both FTW sleeve, and MDPC-X sleeve. Got mine last weekend. Can't pass up on the opportunity to display more of Nils custom doodle greetings:
So in the pot, I have 1 length of FTW sleeve, and 1 length of MDPC-X sleeve. There are lots of colors shown above, but I ordered most of them to help me visualize some color theme ideas for my upcoming build. For this test, I used the white MDPC-X. After getting the dye bath to boiling, I left both the FTW and the MDCP-X in for 1 hour before removing. Results below. FTW on the left, MDPC-X on the right:
Even these uploaded compressed jpegs show that the MDPC-X got significantly darker than the FTW sleeve. Lets make use of this macro lens:
This was exciting for me! For most of these tests, I had been getting some unique (arguably pretty) colors, but they were either extremely washed out versions of what the color was supposed to be, or they were very different shades than what they were supposed to be. This time, the MDPC-X is just about exactly the shade of dark green from the Rit box:
Even the FTW sleeve looks darker and better colored than some of the previous tests, but its still a little washed out and not the shade of dark green that its supposed to be. FTW and MDPC-X must be made out of different type of plastic, or with different protective coatings. The MDPC-X clearly is receiving and absorbing the dye better than the FTW.
The other thing you can notice in the close-up macro shots, are the differences between the two types of sleeve. The MDPC-X sleeve has slightly smaller individual filaments than the FTW sleeve, and is also smaller in diameter. The braid pattern appears to be exactly the same for both of them. I'm going to be starting a separate thread where I line up some close-up macros shots of these sleeves. Sub this thread and I'll post a link to the new thread once I get it up.
Just for fun, I put a new sample of FTW sleeve back in the same dye bath, and left it cooking overnight, to see if enough time could get the FTW sleeve to the proper shade. Because after all, this may be the first test I've done using the 'old formula' dye. Not sure since I hadn't been checking before:
From left to right:
1. FTW - 1 hour
2. FTW - 12 hours
3. MDCP-X - 1 hour
As you can see, the FTW sleeve got darker overnight. But its still not the shade of green that the dye is supposed to be. Better than previous tests....but not exactly right. I'm going to attribute the improvement in the FTW dyeing to the fact that I know I'm using the 'old formula' Rit dye in this test. Not sure on previous tests. MDPC-X was exactly right after 1 hour, and the FTW sleeve still wasn't there after 12 hours.
Does that kind of make you wonder whether the MDPC-X would also come out perfect with the 'new formula' Rit dyes? Me too. Here goes:
This lovely little bottle of sunshine orange Rit dye, is the 'new formula', as clearly marked on the top of the cap.
I put together another dye bath with the exact same proportions of water, dye, salt and vinegar. By the way, 1 bottle of liquid dye is equal to 2 packages of powder dye.
After getting the dye bath to boiling, I put one length of FTW sleeve and one length of MDPC-X sleeve into the bath, and simmered for 1 hour. Enough banter...lets get to the pics. FTW on the left, MDPC-X on the right:
Once again, the MDPC-X sleeve came out darker than the FTW sleeve did, even with the 'new formula' Rit dye. However, even the MDPC-X did not get as dark as it was supposed to get. You can tell somewhat based on this pic, although the lighting is not great:
So this also proves that the 'new formula' Rit dye does not do as good a job on either FTW or MDPC-X, as the 'old formula' Rit dye. But....both the new and old formulas work better on MDPC-X than they do on FTW.
So as I think back to some of my initial tests....I was getting unexpected and strange colors out of my 3 color dye combinations. I was using the online Rit recipes to try and make a 'crimson' color, by mixing 3 different color dyes together. But instead, I was getting something closer to burnt orange. Based on what I now know about new vs old formula, my hypothesis is that I probably had a mixture of both new and old formula in my colors. And if one the colors was not "taking" as well as one of the other colors (because it was new formula instead of old formula), then of course the ending color would come out funky. Makes sense now.
So what's next? Well, clearly I want to do some more testing with MDPC-X, since the colors are taking better with this sleeve. Also, I'm going to add paracord to the mix. Future tests will most likely include samples from all 3 types of sleeves. I'll probably do another single color dye bath test with a proven 'old formula' Rit dye, to try and duplicate and prove the results above. After that, I'll probably go back to trying to mix the crimson color I'm after, but this time make sure that I'm using either ALL old formula dyes, or ALL new formula dyes.
Additionally, I want to try the same types of tests with a true dispersion dye. I'm going to use some from ProChemical and Dye
, since they are relatively inexpensive, and available online (although not in stores). These are dyes that are intended to work on plastics, and my hypothesis is that they will work well on the FTW sleeve also, as well as the MDPC-X. I've already ordered some and they should arrive May 2nd.
Lots more to come, so please sub and rep+!