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Basic Instruction for Cushing Dyes

Directions for Using Cushing’s Acid Dyes
For many years Cushing’s Perfection Dye was a “union” type dye, designed to be suitable for a variety of plant, animal and synthetic fibers. In response to the changing availability of raw materials and to increase the effectiveness and ease of use of our dyes, we reformulated them into two types, acid and direct.

Acid dyes are suitable for wool, mohair, and nylon. Direct dyes are the better choice for cottons and cellulose materials, plus linen and rayon. Silk dyes best with one type or the other, depending on the particular characteristics of the silk.

Acid dyes are used in a process similar to the old union dyes. A dye solution is prepared by measuring the dry powder and dissolving it in boiling water. The material to be dyed should be soaked in a mild Ivory dish detergent solution for a few minutes. The dye bath is prepared as follows. Water softener is useful if your water is particularly “hard”.

Water should be sufficient to cover your material, allowing for stirring. The term “acid” refers to the relative pH balance of the dye bath. We recommend the use of common white vinegar to change that balance. Generally, one cup of vinegar to a pound of material is plenty. Water softener or mild detergent is then added depending on the “hardness” of your water. Finally the dye solution is added and stirred in thoroughly. Apply heat, and add the pre- wetted material. Continue to stir as the temperature rises to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes. You will notice that the dye bath will become clearer and clearer as it is exhausted meaning that all of the dye solution is taken up into the material. You should note that different component colors have different temperature curves. For example, in a green that has a mixture of a yellow and a blue, the blue dyes at a lower temperature than the yellow. If the material is removed from the dye bath prematurely, uneven or off shade dying may result- in this example the results would be bluish. This is why we stress the importance of letting the material simmer for a good while.

After the dye bath has exhausted, remove the dye pot from the heat and allow the material to return to room temperature. Rinse the material with cold water and dry. Have fun and enjoy your results!

NOTE: Cushing acid dyes are simple chemicals- the chemistry of using them is complex. These directions are given in good faith, but no warrantee is expressed or implied. Test dye prior to committing the finish material. Since we do not have control over the use of our dye we must disclaim any liability for unsatisfactory results.