Thursday, November 27, 2008

Magic Manutex Part 1

One of my most valued dye products is Manutex (sodium alginate) available from Creative Craft Supplies. This product looks abit like brown sugar but is a seaweed extract. In dyeing processes it is used for thickening dyes for direct painting and screen printing.
I consider it to be like a good cooking stock and use Ann Johnson's recipe, keep it in a marked container in the fridge and return it to room temperature before I use it. It will last for quite some time, months in fact but may eventually go 'off', evidenced by a 'bad' smell and the growth of mould. I don't have this happen as I use it regularly.
Here's the recipe:
Dissolve 6.5 tbsps urea in three cups boiling water then strain the urea water through a cloth to remove any grit that is often found in the urea.
Sprinkle six teaspoons Manutex into the urea water and stir briskly with a hand whisk constantly for three to five minutes, then a regular stir until it cools. By this time it will have achieved the thickness of a thick runny honey. It is now ready for use, or to go into the fridge.
When I need to paint or print, I simply pour some into a container, and stir in sufficient dry dye powder for my needs. Finally I stir in dry soda ash granules (one teaspoon per cup of Manutex dye mixture) to activate the dyes. This mixture now has a useable life span of about two hours so it is best to be prepared with the fabric about to be printed/painted, although more Soda Ash can be added to re-activate.
I usually leave the fabric to cold-batch overnight. Depending on the size of the piece I will hose it down on my driveway as mentioned in a previous blog. Then it is rinsed in the conventional manner, followed by a hot wash, and a spin in the washing machine before ironing dry.
Next week I will discuss some of the outcomes in using the Manutex mixture.

My Manutex container with dates of mixing

Progress photo of Layers showing clean lines as a result of painting with the Manutex mixture. No gutta or waxed lines here.

Progress showing the blending of colours on the piece shown last week which has now gone 'belly-up' – more about this at a later date!

Detail of Flying High

Next Blog: Magic Manutex Part 2