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Module 3: Biofabricating dyes & materials

October 24, 2017

 

The assignment of this week:

 

"Produce at least one natural dye, modifying it’s colour and mordanting it in different ways to dye at least 2 different categories of fibers.   OR   Explore dyeing with bacteria of different fibers and bacteria" - Cecilia Raspanti

 

I was really excited this week since this would be the first time for me to ever dye fabrics. Before, I did know the impact that the fashion industry has on the environment, yet I never knew what the alternative and/or less polluting methods were. This week made me more curious to alternative materials and dyeing methods.

 

 

The process

 

Dyeing is very interesting, making bioplastics sounds pretty awesome too though! So I already have something in mind that I would like to try to make with the bioplastics. Furthermore are natural dyes something I would definitely consider to use for my final project (if I would be making clothing).  Do you want to find out what I want to make with the bio plastics? Well then you should keep on reading ;)

 

 

Natural Dyes

 

There are so many different natural substances that we can make dyes out of. One that most of us have in our kitchen is tea. This means that one can obtain a multitude of colours just looking at the things nature offers us.

 

Okay lets talk about the process! 

 

Materials for dyeing

 

Animal fibers

- Wol

- Silk

 

Vegetable fibers

- Cotton

- Linen

 

The process

 

Scouring -> Mordant (optional) -> dye - > Colour Modifiers

 

0. Weighting 

 

In order to know how much dye and mordant to use, weight the yarn or fabric before inserting it into water. 

 

1. Scouring

(This step is only necessary for vegetable fibers)

 

 

To remove dirt and oils from the fibers (of a fabric).

 

Insert two spoons of sodium carbonate into a pan with water.

Add the yarn or fabrics.

Let it boil for approximately 30 minutes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Mordant (optional)

 

The mordants we used: Copper (left), Iron (centre), Alum (right), Nothing

 

Why?

To fixate the colour. 

 

This step is not always necessary because of the scouring the colour will already stick to the yarns and fabrics. The dye will also directly be absorbed by animal fibers. The mordants will determine the shade of colour yarn will have after dyeing it.  

 

 

 

 

 

3. Dye

 

As a group we chose 3 main dyes. 

 

-  Anato Seeds (second row)

-  Alcanet (first row, first picture) 

-  Madder (first row, second picture) 

Find the recipes here

 

4. Color modifiers (optional)

 

In order to obtain different shades and tones we can use certain products. A big influence on tone, shade and colour is the ph level of the water. This is also the case when dyeing and pre-mordanting. So when you don't get what you are looking for, change the ph level!

We used the following color modifiers

 

- Copper 

- Iron

- Vinegar 

- Soda

 

5. The results

 

At first the results were sightly disappointing due to the fact that everything turned out very dark. Once we realized it could have been because of the ph level of the water we decided to run a few more tries with water with a different ph level. These resulted in bright and very interesting colours (see picture below).

 

 

"How can/will natural dyes influence my personal work?"

 

First of all, I find it interesting how elements of nature can give of beautiful pigments which are strong enough to dye fabrics. It is making me wonder about what colour the things around me could potentially be used for dyeing. This is not something I would use for every project I will make, but it is something I would definitely consider next time I start to make clothing.

 

Above all, my hands are itching for some more natural dyeing! 

 

Find some more pictures about the natural dyeing process below:

 

Bio plastics

 

Creating bio plastics was something I really looked forward to doing. It resulted to be easier than I had expected. Next to using it for toys I had some difficulty imagining what it would be used for in the fashion industry.  So I started to make some designs I thought were appropriate and in sync with the material. 

 

I tried different recipes to create the bioplastics. 

 

1.  Purple 

Recipe:

- 60 ml of water tainted with madder

- 6 grams of gelatine

- 3 grams of glycerine 

 

Instructions:

Mix all three ingredients in a hot pan. Cook until the mixture is thicker and starting to get "jelly". Pour into a mold. Let it dry for at least 30 - 45 minutes. Take out of the mold to prevent mould to grown on the wet surface. 

 

This bioplastic's property were:

        strength: Good strength

        flexibility: very flexible

        opacity: 60%

        thickness: medium thickness

 

Personal opinion:

I really liked this plastic. This is the recipe used as a standard here in Amsterdam. I love the fact that is is not fully opaque. 

 

 

 

 

2.  Green + White

Recipe:

- 60 ml of water

- 12 grams of gelatine

- 2 grams of glycerine 

- A drop of green food colorant 

- A drop of white paint

 

Instructions:

Mix the colorant and paint in a separate container. Mix the water, gelatine and glycerine in a hot pan. Cook until the mixture is thicker and starting to get "jelly". Pour into the container with color. Mix for 1-2 minutes. Pour into a mold. Let it dry for at least 30 - 45 minutes. Take out of the mold to prevent mould to grown on the wet surface. 

 

This bioplastic's property were:

        strength: Good strength

        flexibility: hard around the edges, flexible in the middle (maybe because it is not fully dry yet)

        opacity: 50%

        thickness: medium thickness

 

Personal opinion:

I decided to double the amount gelatine and reduce the amount of glycerine just to see what happened. The result is strong plastic which I liked. This is a recipe which I would like to try to use for the bag I am making. I really liked the way the paint reacted within the plastic. I like the combination between the transparency and paint flakes!

 

3.  Black + Gold

Recipe:

- 60 ml of water

- 12 grams of gelatine

- 2 grams of glycerine 

- A drop of black paint

- A drop of gold paint

 

Instructions:

Mix the paint in a separate container. Mix the water, gelatine and glycerine in a hot pan. Cook until the mixture is thicker and starting to get "jelly". Pour into the container with color. Mix for 1-2 minutes. Pour into a mold. Let it dry for at least 30 - 45 minutes. Take out of the mold to prevent mould to grown on the wet surface. 

 

This bioplastic's property were:

        strength: Good strength

        flexibility: flexible but not stretchable

        opacity: 50%

        thickness: very thin

 

Personal opinion:

This plastic had a very nice texture. I did not like the fact that I had made is very thin. Despite the thickness of this plastic it shows good resistance and strength, which is a quality that I can really appreciate. 

 

 

4.  Silver + White

 

Recipe:

- 60 ml of water

- 12 grams of gelatine

- 1 gram of glycerine 

- A drop of Silver paint

- A drop of white paint

 

Instructions:

Mix the paint in a separate container. Mix the water, gelatine and glycerine in a hot pan. Cook until the mixture is thicker and starting to get "jelly". Pour into the container with color. Mix for 1-2 minutes. Pour into a mold. Let it dry for at least 30 - 45 minutes. Take out of the mold to prevent mould to grown on the wet surface. 

 

This bioplastic's property were:

        strength: Very strong

        flexibility: almost none

        opacity: 100%

        thickness: medium thickness

 

 

 

Personal opinion:

I chose to reduce the amount of glycerine because I wanted to see how strong the plastic could get. I like the result. Though the edges have curled up a lot and because of its strength I wonder if it will be possible to make it straight again. 

 

 

5.  3+4

 

Recipe:

- Bioplastic nr.3

- Bioplastic nr.4

 

Instructions:

Pour bioplastic nr. 3 in a mold. Let it almost fully dry (at least 2-3 hours). Let bioplastic nr. 4 cool down a little so that the first layer doesn't melt. Pour it over bioplastic nr. 3 (try not to pour on only one point, try to move it around a bit). Let it dry for at least an other hour. Take out of the mold to prevent mould to grown on the wet surface. 

 

This bioplastic's property were:

        strength: strong

        flexibility: slightly flexible

        opacity: 100%

        thickness: medium thickness (2 thiner layers)

 

Personal opinion:

I did not let the second bioplastic cool down enough, which caused the first bioplastic to slightly melt. Once it dried the two layer can be separated. This was not my initial intention. What I did until now looks a bit messy and I did not like the result that much. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"How can/will bioplastics influence my personal work?"

 

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised about how easy it is to make bioplastics. It is something that I will definitely try to use to decorate fabrics and to make accessories such as bags, jewellery, etc? I think a lot can be experimented still regarding the properties of the plastics but also about the different textures. I am very curious how the bioplastic bag is going to turn out, and I think that process will determine if I would like to work more with it or not.

 

 

Bacteria dying

 

Bacteria dyeing was another very interesting topic. It is a less accessible way of dyeing I think, but perhaps a bigger solution to the pollution issue around textile dyes. I will take you through the steps of creating bacteria dye!

 

Material list:

- Nutrient Agar 

- LB Broth

- 1 Textile sample

- 2 Bacteria plates

- Inoculation loop

- Sterilisation bag

- Incubator

- Pressure cooker

- Water

(For the exact recipe click here)

 

1. Sterilising

 

In order to work with bacteria one must work with sterile tools and in a sterile environment. 

 

HOW TO:

- Don't fully close the bottle lids

- Place the bottles inside the pressure cooker

- Place the textile in a sterilisation bag and into the pressure cooker

- Add water

- Turn on the pressure cooker for +/- 30 mins 

 

2. Prepare Bacteria Plates 

 

HOW TO:

- Specify what food, bacteria, date and your own name

   example. NA JL 19-10-17 Julia van Zilt TextileLab

- Turn on the flame of the gas burner 

- Put alcohol on the table 

- Spread it around to create a sterile work environment

- Warm up the mouth of the bottle with the nutrient 

- Open the bacteria plate 

- Add the bacteria nutrient (nutrient Agar in one plate and LB Broth in another)

- Close the bacteria plate

- (Nutrient Agar) Get a piece of fabric out of the bag

- (Nutrient Agar) Quickly add it to the bacteria plate 

- (Nutrient Agar) Wait until the Nutrient Agar becomes a jelly and continue

- Warm up the inoculation loop

- Open the bacteria plate

- Touch the side (during this stept try not to talk or breath)

- Scrape off the bacteria of the old plate (during this stept try not to talk or breath)

- Insert the bacteria inside a new plate (on and beside the fabric for the Nutrient Agar plate) (during this stept try not to talk or breath)

- Close the bacteria plate

- Warm up the inoculation loop again

- Place the plate inside the incubator at 25 degrees

 

 

3. Extracting Color

 

HOW TO:

- Wait 3 days after having made a bacteria plate

- Extract the colour by putting alcohol in the plates 

- Mix!

 

4. Dye Fabrics and/or Yarns

 

HOW TO:

- Add water and the bacteria dye extract to a big pot 

- Insert the fabric (make sure the fabric lays flat to get an even result)

- Wait... 

- Listo! (done!)

 

"How can/will bacteria dyes influence my personal work?"

 

Personally this was the part of the week that I was least impressed with. Maybe because from an artistic point of view this is the method where one has the least personal input. Because of this it could maybe be more difficult to create original pieces. On the other hand I have seen artists do amazing things with bacteria dyeing. Maybe it just didn't suit me that much. It is also the method I spend the least time on, so maybe I should consider dedicating a little more time to it. 

 

 

 

 

bio plastic bag

 

This week I did not have had the chance yet to fully make the bag I wanted to, so stay tuned to see the final result. For now I would like to share the process that the making of this bag will consist of. 

 

I tried not to look for inspiration for the design at other brands, just to see what I could come up with!

Below you can find the steps I have/will follow(ed) to create the bag:

 

1. Design 

I wanted to make something simple, abstract yet a bit playful. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Laser cut files

I made the laser cut files with Adobe Illustrator. The file will soon be available to download. 

 

3. Bio plastic 

I first need to make a mold in which I can pour the bioplastic. I choose to make a plastic slab and then laser cut it, but theoretically one could make the mold in the shape of the bag and then there would be no need to laser afterwards. The reason why I chose to use the laser cutter is due to the fact that I think it will result in better looking edges. 

 

4. The handle

The handle of the bag will be made out of wood. The thing I am curios about is how well the wood will stick to the plastic. This handle will be:

- Laser cut

- Re-defining shape with sanding paper

- Smoothing with sanding paper

- Primed 

- Spray painted (2 layers)

- (optional) coated

 

5. Assembly

To assemble the bag I will try to glue the plastic parts together with gelatine and heat. To add the handle I will try to use (strong) glue.

 

SOON THE RESULT.....

 

SYNW <3

(See You Next Week)

 

 

 

 

 

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