Choosing Your Dye - The best, longest lasting, brightest, and most professional dyes are made for dyeing specific types of fiber. Some might dye one type of fiber really well, but also dye another type almost as well. Less expensive and easier to use "generic" dyes might dye a broad class of fibers, like any natural fiber, but not dye synthetics. The type of dye you choose should be based on 4 main factors:
1) Fiber content of your fabric or garment - You absolutely must have this information. Terms like satin, twill, crepe, velvet, etc., are about how the fabric is woven, not the fiber content. To choose your dye, you have to know if it is cellulose - of plant origin - like cotton, linen, hemp and rayon, or is it protein - of animal origin - like wool, silk, hair, fur, etc. Leather vs. pleather, and if pleather, what's it made of? If it's synthetic, is it Rayon or Acetate (cellulose) or is it nylon, polyester, acrylic, or ...?
2) Permanence required: Do you want to do a professional job that looks good and will last, for something nice or expensive, or to re-sell? Or are you doing a one-off Halloween costume that just has to make it through the night? Are you dyeing stuff for infants or chemically sensitive people? Does it have to endure washing, or not? Clothing vs. wall hanging, etc.
3) The colors available in a particular brand of dye - Do they make the color(s) you want and/or are you willing to mix colors if necessary?
4) Cost/Quantity - Is your project large or small? Do you need a lot of dye? Our professional dyes are available in sizes both small and huge (100 lbs.!) and everything in between. The more you by, the better the discount. More generic, easy to use dyes are mostly only available in small quantities for small projects. Or we have cheap bulk generic dyes for hospital, hotel or prison dye jobs.
Dharma carries almost any type of dye you might need for any type of fabric or project. And if you can't figure it out here, we are happy to help! Dyes are safe to use if you use them safely. We have the protective tools you need!
Choosing Your Paint - Unlike dyes which should be matched with the specific type of fiber being dyed, most fabric paints can be used on any fabric regardless of fiber content, as long as there is no water or stain repellent finish. The type of paint you choose should be based on 4 main factors:
1) The fabric type and use - Weave, texture, thickness, stretchiness etc., are all very important because certain paints are better suited to certain fabric weaves than others. What is the purpose of the fabric? Is it a garment or upholstery or perhaps something that will hang on a wall? Will it be washed or exposed to water?
2) How you intend to apply your paint - What's your preference? Watercolor? Block print? Stamp/Stencil or Screen Print? Airbrushing? Marbling? Hand painting? Depending on your technique, you will need a thin, medium or thick consistency paint. To look for suggested paints by technique, click Here
3) The colors available in a particular brand of paint - Do they make the color(s) you want and/or are you willing to mix colors if necessary?
4) Cost/Quantity - Is your project large or small? Do you need a lot of paint? Some of our paints are available in sizes up to a gallon, ideal for large projects like painting your couch. Some paints are only available in 1oz bottles. On all of our paints, we also have great quantity discounts!
Dharma carries many paints in consistencies ranging from very thin free flowing paints that behave much like dyes, to thick almost custard like inks that are ideal for screen printing or printing. Most of our paints are water-based and completely non-toxic unless otherwise noted.