Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Rit Dye

If you're just starting to experiment with dyes, you might want to try the less expensive Rit Dyes - you must how ever use the Dharma Fixative - let it soak for at least 1/2 hour in the solution. This really works for containing the bleeding when using commercial dyes.

Rit Dye Website:

They also have a page for creating custom colors:

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dharma Fixative

I used the Dharma Fixative on the last batch of dying I did and I must say, I think I've stopped the bleeding...:) I let the dyed cane dry overnight before the Dharma Fixative treatment.

What I used:

  1. One gal. of hot water, the same amount used for dying;
  2. 2 oz of Dharma Fixative;
  3. Added the coil of dyed cane;
  4. I turned it after 10 minutes but if your water completely covers the coil you could just leave it in the Dharma Fixative for 20 minutes;
  5. Let it dry over night.

I have not had a problem with bleeding using either coil that I treated.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dharma Fixative vs Retayne

The below method for using Retayne, worked good, but there was still some bleeding. So if you use it you might want to try adding more than 1 tablespoon per gal of water used. It worked much better than using nothing.

I am going to try the Dharma Fixative next to see if I get better results

I must say I was very pleased with the Dharma Dyes - when wet the cane almost has a pearlized look to it and when dry it has a better *sheen* quality to it.

Very important when using these dyes you need the Soda Ash to mix with it.

This *fixer* bonds the dye to the natural fiber.

These dyes will work with any natural fiber, see their website for lots of info on using them.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Using Retayne as a fixative

After letting the cane dry overnight I used Retayne, since I had this on hand, as a fixative to reduce the amount of bleeding when weaving.

Instructions for Retayne:

1. Again use your kettle that will hold at least 1 gal of water so you can submerge your cane in it.

2. Dissolve the Retayne in a bowl of 140 degree water, I used very hot tap water, which worked. If the Retayne clumps your water isn't hot enough and requires heating it until the Retayne dissolves.

3. I used 1 tablespoon of Retayne for 1 gal of water.

4. After adding the Retayne to the water, add the cane. Leave the cane in the mixture for 20 minutes. Again I turned the cane after 10 minutes and agitated the cane up and down to make sure all surface areas were covered by the solution.

5. After 20 minutes remove the cane and again rinse in cool water. I have found using the water hose outside for rinsing is very effective in removing excess dye and Retayne.

6. Let the cane dry over night again before weaving.

When I dye more cane I will use the Dharma Dye Fixative to see how that works.

How I dyed my cane

Using 2.75mm coil of Hamburg cane in the photo below. (these instructions are for an entire coil of the Hamburg cane.)

Take a kettle that will hold 1 gal. of warm water. If you use a deep, narrow kettle, a little larger than the uncoiled cane, 1 gal, of warm water will cover the entire coil.

There can't be any finish on the material to prevent the dye from seeping in. Natural commercial cane will not dye, so it is necessary to use the Hamburg or Bleached Cane for dying.

1. Determine the amount of lukewarm water needed to completely cover the material and for the material to move around freely. Then for each gallon add one tablespoon of dye (pre-dissolved) and 1/2 cup plain salt. Stir to mix thoroughly.

1 gal. of water in a container that will hold the uncoiled cane, will be enough to submerge the cane for any desired time. In some cases you'll need to add 2 tablespoons of the dye i.e. Chocolate Brown but if your container requires more than one gallon of water to submerge the coil of cane, you will need more. Rust Orange and Ecru only take 1 tablespoon of dye. Plain salt if simply table salt. I used a small bowl to dissolve the salt before adding and a cup to dissolve the dye before adding. I added the salt to the gallon of warm water first and then the dye.

2. Now uncoil the cane and put the material into the dyebath and agitate (turn) frequently for 20 minutes.

I turned the cane after 10 minutes, giving each side 10 minutes. I also agitated the cane with an up and down motion to make sure the dye reached all those prior packed areas.

3. Add 1/3 cup of Soda Ash for each gallon of water used. (Pre-dissolve in hot water and add slowly).

In another bowl I dissolved the Soda Ash in hot water.

I dissolved the Salt and Soda Ash early on before even adding the warm water to the container, since it takes some time for these to dissolve. After putting the warm water into the container, I then added the salt, then dye, then uncoiled the cane and added it, turned the cane after 10 minutes, then after 20 minutes added the dissolved soda ash.

4. Leave in dyebath for up to 2 more hours or until the desired shade is reached. Remember that the color will be lighter when dry.

I left the cane in the dyebath for approximately 1 hour after adding the soda ash, the colors in the photo below were the results. I again turned the cane after 30 minutes. The time you leave the cane in the dyebath will depend on how dark you want the color.

5. Rinse under cold running water to remove all excess dye and allow to dry.

After one hour, I then took the cane out of the dyebath and ran it under cold water until the water ran clear. I then allowed it to dry over night.

6. The next day you use the Dharma Dye Fixative to reduce bleeding of the colors. Retayne will do the same thing.

Instructions for using Retayne and Dharma Dye Fixative above.

Where to find these dyes

All you need for dying cane is found here.

Dharma Trading Co. has a web site at: Dharma Trading Co.

Their instructions for Wood and Cane: Instructions

Another required ingredient with these dyes: Soda Ash Fixer

To help with color bleeding, used after dying the cane: Dharma Dye Fixative

The Dyes

This is the results from the Dharma Dyes. I have use:

1. Rust Orange - which gives me the red/orange in the center;
2. Chocolate Brown - which gives me the rich dark brown, which looks almost black in the photo; and
3. Ecru - which gives me the look of a natural cane on bleached Hamburg cane.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Welcome to the Dye pages for Cherokee Basketweaving. Some instructions on using the Dharma Dyes might be of help.

So this is how I've used the dyes.