Answers to our
most common questions. If it still does not answer your question,
feel free to email or call us
What’s the difference between a dye and paint? And how do
A: A dye bonds with the fiber on a more molecular
level. It requires heat and moisture to set (immersion, steaming
or batch setting). A paint usually coats the fibre and require just
heat to set (iron or oven). A dye will not add any noticeable change
to the “feel” of the fabric. A paint will be slightly
noticeable on fabric
Both a dye and a paint will colour your fabric. Choosing one will
depend on a combination of your fabrics and the technique.
The final results will always look better with a dye compared to
a paint, but the extra effort to apply and set dyes for some techniques
are not worth it. Especially with paint technology so good now.
When it comes to fabrics, I found that if you are painting or directly
applying colour to silk or wool, it’s best to use a dye. For
directly applying colour to cotton, linen, synthetics and rayon,
you’ll find it easier to use a paint.
Certain dyeing techniques are just not feasible with paints. Trying
to get a solid colour on fabric is best using an immersion method
Q: Which dye do I use for cotton? silk? linen? wool? rayon?
A: Fabrics can be grouped into three categories;
Cellulose, Protein and Synthetics.
Cellulose represents cotton, rayon, linen, hemp and ramie. The best
dye is the reactive MX dye
Protein represents silk, wool and feathers. The best dye for protein
fibres is an acid dye. You can use the MX
dyes on silk with good results still.
Synthetics represent polyester, nylon, acetate and “unknown”.
The best dye for nylon is acid dyes.
For the rest of the synthetics, we like the multi purpose Dylon
or the liquid RIT dye.
Q: What do “transparent” and “opaque”
A: A simple analogy to explain this is to look
through a glass of apple juice. It appears amber colour. Look through
a glass of milk and it’s solid white. If you put a piece of
black paper behind the glasses, the amber colour of the apple juice
would appear much darker while the glass of milk would still look
white and is not affected by the black behind it.
Transparent and opaque are a characteristic of the colour. Dyes
are always transparent, but paints have specific choice between
the two. If you are painting on light coloured fabric you would
use a transparent paint, while on dark fabrics, you’d want
to use an opaque paint.
You can use opaque paints on light or dark coloured fabrics but
the paints are softer on the fabric with transparent paints. Transparent
paints are more “dye” like on the fabric.
Q: Aren’t paints stiff on fabric?
A: Paint technology is so amazing now. Transparent
paints like our G&S Liquid Colours
are very “dye-like”. Especially on cotton. You can barely
tell it’s a paint now. Opaque paints are a little more noticeable
but our best one is Pebeo Setacolor
Opaque line. It is one of the softest opaque paint on the market.
What do i need and how much to start screen printing?
A: There are two groups of screen printers, those
who want to print t-shirts or small images and the others that want
to print yardage.
Printing is an investment. You have to get the screens, squeegee,
light table, emulsion, coaters, access to a computer, hinge clamps
and a printing surface/table or 4 colour press. Let’s not
forget the inks also (G&S Pigment System).
For most starting out printing, you’re looking at $150-300
for a basic start up. Printing on yardage does take more work especially
building a print and light table.
Look at your investment for a basic set up in the $700-1000 range.
Check out our web site for full instructions.
Should I use a silk dye or silk paint?
A: Steam setting a dye has been a huge deterrent
for many beginner painters. Our two silk painting dyes (Procion
H and Pebeo Soie) both require
steam setting, but yield a strong colour and maintain the luminosity
of the silks. For those that fear the setting process, we do have
a steaming service.
Using paints like our G&S Liquid
Colours on silk is easy and quick setting with an iron. Better
suited for beginners or for large display pieces. Paints go onto
silk fabrics very similar to a dye, allowing you to duplicate many
of the techniques that a dye can achieve.Most pro painters still
prefer a dye since paints slightly dull the luster of the silk and
change the hand of the fabric slightly.
What do I need to start silk painting?
A: After deciding on a paint or a dye, you’ll
need a frame, brushes, gutta/resist, an applicator bottle and of
course silk and the colours. Total costs for a starter is about
What’s the difference between water based and solvent based
A: The main difference is in the dry times. A solvent
gutta will dry within a minute
after application, allowing you to paint your silk colours immediately.
A water based gutta /resist takes
about 10 minutes to dry.
The main advantage of water based gutta/resist is the easy removal
or wash out. It comes out in the finishing rinse with warm water.
Solvent gutta requires dry cleaning to properly remove. Most painters
leave solvent gutta in though.
Solvent guttas are known for providing a very strong resist line
with little issues of dye break ing through. Water based gutta is
a bit weaker line and more care must be taken when painting over
them as it may dissolve the line.
How safe are the dyes and paints?
A: All our dyes and paints are considered low toxicity
and non hazardous. Although some care must be taken for long term
exposure to all chemicals and colourants . Basic protection like
gloves, long sleeve clothing and masks for powered dyes/chemical
should be used. MSDS can be provided upon request and those safety
sheets should be referred to for final and proper handling of any
of our products.
Can I fix bleach stains on my clothing?
A: This is a really tough fix. You can not just
over dye the whole piece or just dab a small amount of dye/paint
onto the area. The hardest part of fixing this is matching the colour
of the bleached out area. Sometimes you can luck out and the exact
colour match can be found in our Setascrib+ Marker line or from
our fabric paints. The only absolute solution is to bleach or discharge
the whole garment with bleach or Thioureadixode (see Chemicals)
and then redye. Unfortunately the answer to the question involves
ditching the damaged garment/fabric most of the time.
What’s the difference between G&S Pigment System and Pebeo
A: Both are fabric paints. Pigment
System is a “mix-your-own” type of paint. Usually
used for screen printing, it can be a great fabric paint still for
a wide variety of painting techniques. The huge cost savings definitely
is a bonus
Pebeo Setacolor is a high quality
brand of paint from France. The finished results are simply amazing.
The colours are very soft on the fabrics. The Pebeo
Setacolor are unique in that they are sun reactive, allowing
you to Sun Print images on your fabrics if you wish.
Do I need to take a workshop to learn a technique?
A: We run workshops
on most of the techniques for textile design. It definitely helps
to get shown the techniques in a hands on environment. Many of our
students really like the social aspect also when learning something
new. It’s just more fun!. The wide range of books we carry
are also a great source of instruction and inspiration if time or
distance from our classes becomes an issue. Give us a call for ones
The only topic I absolutely recommend taking a course on first is
screen printing. With all the technical
aspects and the high cost of start up, it’s best to learn
and then decide how involved you want to be.
Why do you charge a handling fee when you ship parcels out?
A: Our handling fee covers the labor and materials
to pack, label and arrange delivery. Not to mention the costs of
the phone calls and pre-sales information. it’s a fair charge
Do you send out a newsletter?
A: We have a regular newsletter
that we send out by email. Introducing new products , exclusive
sales and new techniques. Given the high cost of printing and mailing
we limit our mailing newsletter now to once a year. All past
newsletter are posted on our web site for all the read or to
have printed out for your library.
Which office and who do I call or email to ask questions?
A: We have two offices but our main retail and
order desk is based out of our Toronto store/office
(800-596-0550). Our friendly staff will be glad to take orders
or answer questions. The Markham office
is our warehousing and head office but we do have a handy showroom
when it’s more convenient to visit there. The toll free number
in Markham is 866-596-0550. Our email is: firstname.lastname@example.org