Monday, May 11, 2009

Textile Pigments

As promised, the following is information about textile pigments/paints. To start, I repeat my previous description of pigments:

Pigments: These are colour molecules suspended in a textile base. This may be a thickened base (similar to yoghurt) so that the pigments can be used for screen printing and painting; or a liquid base which allows for the spread of colours as in silk painting. They are water-based. To bond pigments to a fabric they need to be heatset after air drying, usually by ironing. Pigments will alter the hand of fabric ie make it stiffer.

There are many brand names for the various pigments marketed. Jacquard, DEKA Silks, Stewart Gill, are some of them. They are like petrol with numerous brands eg Shell, BP, Mobil etc. Most of the pigment brands sell their products in small containers approx. 60ml / 2fl.oz. They usually offer a large range of luscious colours, and some may even have glitter and other novelty additions. These are great for those who use small quantities of pigment and who don't feel confident in mixing their own colours. However they are very expensive.

Because I use pigment on a regular basis, and because I am very familiar with mixing my own colours, I prefer to buy just a few basic colours in larger containers eg red, blue, yellow, purple plus black and white. I don't really need the purple but prefer to as sometimes just mixing red and blue does not give a 'good' purple. The white and black helps with mixing tints and shades.

I buy these from local commercial screen printer supplier (Blue Print Imaging, Nelson Street, Petone, New Zealand). They stock the colours in big pails but decant into 1 litre (approx 1 quart) containers for smaller users like myself. The brand they sell is Permatone. They are much much cheaper and last indefinitely. I also get 1 litre containers of gold and silver from them and have often added 'plain' colours to these to alter the tone eg yellow added to the gold will make it a bright yellow gold, or a brown mix will make it an 'old' gold.

I hope this all makes sense! As this is a blog I have tried to keep my explanations short and simple. There are plenty of books out there with much more detailed information. Create Your Own Hand-printed Cloth, Rayna Gillman

My 1 litre containers of commercial screen printing pigment with a selection of smaller brand containers.

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