One of the most enjoyable things to do with natural cotton canvas is the dye it! My personal favorite type of dye for cotton is MX Fiber Reactive Dye. Companies like Prochemical (east coast) and Dharma Trading (west coast) carry it. My favorite thing about this dye is that it does not have to be heat activated, so it can easily be done outside without burners. Fiber Reactive dye also leaves behind less waste than the other dyes. You might have heard the term “low impact dyes” used to describe a dyed product? Well, I have actually spent a great deal of time speaking with chemists from both of the companies listed above to be sure of the dyes that term is referencing and the truth is that its just another made up term. All dyes have impact, even natural dyes that require heavy metals used to mordant (pretreat fibers) to accept the natural dyes. Fiber Reactive dyes are the most gentle dyes out there that will achieve vibrant colors. The most important thing is to dispose of your leftover dye bath safely. Both of these companies suggest a few things to go with your MX Dye, but I usually just buy the dye activator and it works great.
If you are looking for a certain result make sure to test and make notes and keep recipes. I typically don’t ever keep notes because I just get so carried away mixing colors. You never know what you will get! Have fun!
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