Mordants for painting on cotton canvas with Jacquard procion mx cold water dyes
  • I have been working on cotton canvas for several months using your cold water dyes. Fabric is to be used for upholstery. The dyes work beautifully but the issue is mordants. Some colors, such as emerald green, jet black and warm black just wash out, and I am left to do layer upon layer to try and retrieve them. To prep, I am pre-washing and drying the fabric, then soaking it in soda ash. After dyeing the fabric, I have tried a vinegar bath and also an alum bath to reduce color loss, but neither is working. Following that, I have switched to washing in Synthrapol, which does take out the loose dye that has bled during the previous stage, but I still loose certain colors. HELP!!!! I keep reading directions and suggestions, but I find lots of contradictions. I just keep experimenting but my time is being chewed up more than I can afford. There must be someone out there who has done this. Please advise.
  • You may have a wetness problem rather than an issue with the mordant. I have 2 suggestions. Mix urea into the colors that you are having trouble with. This will keep them wetter longer. I suspect that they are drying before they are set and that they are bonding to the fabric more slowly than the other colors, so that they dry out before they are finished reacting. The other thing to do would be to cover the canvas in plastic to keep the water from evaporating. Dyes can react up to 24 hrs, so if they dry out before that time they may not be all the way set. If I was doing this, I would actually do both of these things. You will get much brighter colors I suspect.

    You can add urea to both your dye and your soda ash solution. 1/4 cup of paint per quart of dye solution and same for your soda ash.

    I really believe that will solve your problem. Your other option would be to steam the whole thing, but that involves an investment in equipment, and I think this will work. If not we will move to the next option.