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Call me crazy but when I discover a new media I get obsessed! Dye-Na-Flow has fulfilled a much wanted request of mine for ages. I can now easily be creative on all types of fabric; come take a look at all the possibilities!

Is it Paint or Dye?

This is what Dye-Na-Flow looks like and is very thin in the bottle; about as thin as milk.

This high chroma, highly transparent liquid fabric paint is permanent on any porous or semi-porous surface, including natural and synthetic fabrics, leather and wood. In many ways, it simulates a true dye: Dye-Na-Flow spreads on fabric until it is thoroughly absorbed and even, sinking into the fibers like a dye instead of sitting on the surface like thicker paints and inks. The colors are super vibrant & washfast and will not change the feel of the fabric, making it a powerful tool whenever true dyes are impractical. A uniquely versatile fluid acrylic, Dye-Na-Flow is used for a diverse range of applications, from silk painting to wood staining.

Jacquard products

How amazing is that?! In today’s industry it is much more difficult to find natural fabrics; especially when thrifting so now I can make use of any garment to up-cycle.

Since I love to add art to everyday apparel and pretty well anything that can be creative, this has opened up a lot of possibilities. As far back as I can remember I have been embellishing my clothing, often it would be a crusty, thick paint that was quite difficult to paint on.

This however is so thin that it sinks into the fabric right away. I tested a few types of fibres since it is not limited to only using natural fibres like cotton, linen or wool (like other traditional Fibre Reactive or Botanical/Eco Printing) Any fabric or even porous surface will accept this paint/dye; I do not know what to call it…

Here is some fun playing with different brushes and swatches on linen, cotton, polyester, & rayon. Yes! Polyester! I learn the most by observation (Taurus’s are known for that!) and come to some valuable conclusions. It is always best to do a small test piece.

More Amazing Ability:

Not only am I impressed about this media’s ability to attach to a variety of fibres but also that it can Sun Print! I excitedly set some painted pieces out last summer (yes, it takes a long time to really understand a media!) and was amazed instantly at the results.

How crazy it is to see how the Dye-Na-Flow seems to magically ‘move’ to create reversed silhouettes in the background colour. I don’t know the science (can only guess) but I do know that there is no light sensitive photographic emulsion used here!

The amount of detail and texture layering opens a whole world of possibilities! It’s great for all those who always think that since they can not draw they are not creative! I will be making an in-depth post about the ‘tricks and tips’ a little later on. ‘Imagine all the kinds of objects that could be used…

Watercolour Effect:

As an illustrator there are certain things that are so sexy in the world of paint; like the way colours flow into each other! That has only usually been possible with watercolour or specific paint pouring, but now depending on the fabric you can also do that with this media. (I do not want to call it paint or dye)

I love the subtle nuances of how edges develop and colours travel/mix or even the ‘splash-ability’!’ ‘And this is 100% sheerish polyester that became a lovely Kimono.

Different Characteristics of Fabric:

Notice that it’s not that fussy design?! Abstract or random designs seem to pop as a great surface design on all kinds of objects. Take inspiration from whatever you like… Often the most simple designs are best… & easy.

Each fabric has different weaves, numbers of threads per inch, absorbability, and thickness. These all play into how it takes this ‘Dye/Paint’ media. Since it sinks into the fabric, the amount and the way it may bleed will also effect the outcome (linen above loves to absorb). My words of wisdom; to prevent frustration as an artist do not try to ‘fight the media’, embrace it!

In other words; use the effect as an intentional aspect of the design. If it bleeds a lot, use that as a design, or if it is more streaky make it look like it should be sketchy.

How can you really go wrong with the way geode designs are? They are random and beautiful, any colour combination (but do remember simple colour combinations often look more sophisticated) If colours are not flat it looks even more natural.

Do we really need Perfection?

It has taken me a long time to overcome the need to be perfect… (decades) and I am honestly seeing that it really frees me. I had that typical impression that photo-realism was to strive for in the world of accomplished artists. Boy, have things changed when I see the art that is hung on walls now!

So I am happy to loosen up, take the ‘gist’ of the object, like the simple, easy roses. (in Honour of a special ‘Rose’ in my life)

Don’t be afraid to have scale be one of the design elements! A huge flower will have a different appeal that many smalls ones…

Line, Shape, Space, Texture & Pattern

Art College First year.

Even More Canvases:

Ok, I may need to join ‘Jean-Jacket-Oholics’! Yes, DO NOT ask me how many I have! (more to be available in the store soon) As long as the fabric/material is light coloured enough for this dye/paint to sink into the better. The lightest jean jackets are great for this! Maybe some bleaching beforehand may also allow this!

The way the brush travels over and makes a ‘sketchy’ drawing is so textural and shows each stroke! I have so many fond memories of Life Drawing in college. There’s such a charm to see how someone’s hand made each stroke, isn’t there? Don’t you agree?

I may need to get a larger closet! I keep seeing more design possibilities… clothing of all kinds. Oh, but wait; why not interior design elements?!

I could see some amazing abstract cushions, placemats, hats, bags, kitchen dishcloths (imagine a recipe) jackets, scarves, hoodies, bed linen, have I missed something?! Even if the item is not able to be ironed it could be heat set in other ways.

This is not the end of my Dye-Na-Flow experience; only the beginning. I will be sharing some specific projects and process very soon. Start thinking… hmmm, what can be creative on?!

I’ll probably be wearing this on Sunday! And it feels just like the fabric it started as! Tell me if you have ever used this amazing media – Dye-Na-Flow!

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. LOVE everything you do Barb, but you have inspired me today to get the Dyna Flo out and get after it again! Thanks so much!

    Bethany in Kingston, ON area…

    Do keep the beautiful artwork coming!

  2. I love this fibre dye/paint too. As a fibre artist I want a medium that will not change the hand of the fabric and this works perfectly.

    Here is an interesting comment about Dye na Flow. This medium is essentially a watered down version of a Pebeo product called Setacolor made in France. If you have Setacolor and want the same consistency as Dye Na Flow, just water it down 1 part Setacolor to 2 or 3 parts water. How handy is that!! And cost effective too!

    The science behind the sun print effect has to do with osmosis. Osmosis is the movement of water from an area of high water to low water. (We can all relate to stepping on a water spill in our socks and getting wet feet. That’s osmosis, water moving from the high water area of the spill on the floor to the area of low water – your previously dry sock!)

    Sun printing is similar, you have a wet fabric you have painted with Dye Na Flow (or diluted Setacolor) and you place leaves (or other items) overtop. The areas of the fabric that are exposed to direct sun dry first. The water moves from high water areas (under the leaves) to low water areas (the sunny areas that are drying) and takes the pigments in the paint with it. Thus, the resulting sun print is caused by the movement of water in paint to the areas that are not covered to the areas that are drier, leaving a reverse image. In this case the term “sun printing” is really a fallacy. You can even do this process without being in direct sun by leaving the fabric in a dry room. What this process should really be called is “osmosis printing”.

    From a science geek artist,
    Krista

    1. Thanks so much Krista! ‘Much appreciated! Funny, I also have Setacolour and will try that. I am always a bit leery about adding water as I think it dilutes the polymers too much and then it may not be permanent. I also bought the white Dye-Na-Flow and it really isn’t opaque but a good way to lighten other colours without super diluting. Thanks so much for your explanation! I understand completely and did notice that when the fabric dried too quickly it was less contrasts. I love ‘geek’ artists but my niche is perspective drawing. Maybe that is why I enjoy the fibre arts so much as it’s more forgiving.

  3. Barb,
    I am so interested in this! Looking forward to more detailed explanation of how to use this product…..! You Rock!!!!!!!!!!!
    Janice in northern Minnesota…..I can canoe right to Canada from my dock! Grin!

    1. Thanks! Wow, canoeing from a dock sounds like heaven to me! I’m close to a lake too but a canoe is not what you’d want to use on it. You must so much inspiration from where you are. More painted fabric to come…

  4. Oh! OOHHH!!! This just might be what I’ve been looking for!! I’m a biker, farmer, fiber artist, herbalist, upcycler… and, with all that in mind, I try very hard to use everything I own until there’s literally no other possibility I can find. Anyway, my summer motorcycle jacket *used to be* white. But, bugs, road oil & debris, etc, all slamming into you – often at 70+mph – turns white to a mottled, ugly mess rather quickly, and I refuse to toss this otherwise great jacket over some stains. I’ve been looking to dye it, but nothing I’ve found – until now – would even claim to work on this 100% man-made, road-rash-resistant, kevlar-like mesh fabric. Obviously, I still don’t *know* that it will work on my armor, but you’ve given me HOPE!! I thank you, my mother thanks you, my husband thanks you, my biker friends thank you – maybe even the earth, itself thanks you!

    1. A white motorcycle jacket!? You could have quite the crazy abstract – paint blotch style! It could be soooo much fun! If it does not sink into the fibre enough, the Angelus leather paint may another option! I’d love to see it when done!!!

  5. And donut shoes!!! I finally found the correct tennis shoes (for my feet). I want to try this on (Barb’s) donut shoes!!!

    1. Oh awesome! Hmmm, I think either the Angelus or the Dye-Na-Flow may work on the canvas. I be the method would work better with the Angelus Paint though as less chance of bleeding. Have fun!

  6. Very interesting and interested! I have been looking for a pigment that would absorb and not sit on top of fabric.
    Looking forward to trying it out.

    1. I agree! One of the only draw-backs I see is that you need to start with a colour that is lighter but really not limited to. I did buy pretty large bottles because I try not to dilute too much.

  7. Hi. Am preparing to do calligraphy on cotton. Have used liquid acrylic thinned with fiber medium. Wondering if you have noticed when the seta colors bleed the least? Thanks.

    1. I am still experimenting… I love the fluidity of the Dye-na-flow but with that comes the bleeding. If it is a tight weave then it will ‘travel’ less. Also the amount on the brush or pen will make it bleed. I’m liking how it is on a tight weave polyester. If it does bleed, then maybe not expecting perfection is key. (stay posted for more posts)

  8. Barb, you really stir my creative juices! Love your work, just love it. The dyna flow is interesting. Especially the dress and the denim jacket. Hope to try this soon. Keep up the good work. Jan J

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