Magic art with Alter-Ego Dyes

So there I was, at the infusion center the other day, really, really bored.

You know you’re bored when you start taking photographs of your socks with your phone because you really don’t have anything else to do.  They are quite lovely socks, Wollmeise, of course, from Dafna, and i couldn’t imagine a day in the infusion center without real socks.  But still.

Because of the drugs, i just can’t concentrate there to read or to knit or to write thank you notes or anything.  My hands are free, the IV goes right into the port in my chest, but the medicines mess up my brain.

So I sat around and overheard strange conversations and tried to figure out SOMETHING creative I could do with Danny and Sam that evening.  I was absolutely desperate to make something and knew i would have no mental or physical energy…. and i wanted it to be a project that danny could fully and actively participate in, and I knew i would have even less patience than energy.  Plus it had to involve good color.  Make that colors.  Definitely more than one.

Time to get out the Alter Ego dyes.  These are NOT NON TOXIC.  They are French silk dyes from Dupont, and MUST be done in a totally separate pot and with separate utensils from all other food storage and prepration.  if you don’t have a totally dedicated dye pot, find one on freecycle or at goodwill BEFORE you think further about this project.   If you need a non-toxic kid friendly dye project, try here first 🙂

But anyway, see that brown soup?  Looks sort of like beef stock, thin, well strained.  It really is several different kinds of dye and a fixative and an acid, all dumped into one pot to boil, boil, boil

There is good homeschool chemistry involved here.  one sort of dye affixes to fibers made of protein, like silk, but only in the presence of acid, and one sort of dye just sticks to fibers made of cellulose, like rayon.

And any nine year old who understands not to taste the dye and is allowed at the stove can do this independently.   Here’s a secret hint:  the longer they take to choose their colors and measure their dyes, the longer mama gets to sit down quietly all by herself.  So don’t rush the process, you’d only be depriving yourself of more peaceful moments.  And you don’t need to give advice about complementary or analagous colors… they all end up looking like brown soup in the pot and they all end up gorgeous in the end.  so no stress.

But speaking of brown, we need to take a little break, Sam found this most amazing leaf, see the quarter for size up on the right???  I have never seen anything like it ever.

But anyway, you dump water, table salt, cellulose dye, acid dye, fixative and vinegar into ONE pot.  All together.  Stir it up. Into brown soup.  Dump in your fabric (we used these rayon silk scarves from Dharma Trading)  Then boil it for a while.   You can just sort of see in the photo above how different sections of the scarf take up different components of the brown soup.

But look what you get it the end!  It almost feels like Mary Poppins, when she pulls things out of her bag…. how in the world did those colors come from brown soup???

So there you go.  A project for when you are desperate to make something totally cool, but have not a single neuron left to do it with.    Art is good for the soul, I think.


13 thoughts on “Magic art with Alter-Ego Dyes

  1. Even amidst all of your challenges yesterday, you did the most amazing craft and posted so beautifully about it! You amaze and inspire me! (((HUGS))) You are such a blessing to your family and those of us you let peek in and watch!

  2. Well….there you are!!! I have checked your blog almost weekly since June….and am so glad to see these posts!!! The post about George and Halloween are priceless…..great news about the new med for him. Thanks for updating! The scarves are gorgeous. Don’t stay away too long, okay?

  3. I just read your post on Adeye’s blog. I live in Parker which is not that far from Children’s. Please let me know if I can bring her anything or do anything. I am going out of town Sat and Sun but I can do things today, thu, fri ,and next week. My email is Debbie

  4. Pingback: Supposed to be day two round three. | Keep on Spinning

  5. Found you on Julia’s blog…and thanking God for it. Praying for you now. And thank you for inspiring a great activity for my 12 yr old chemist and 7 yr old artist. May Our Father pour out His love and mercy on you.

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