Sunlight-developed dye for Sun-printing on paper and natural fabrics
SolarFast dyes are used to create photograms, continuous tone photographs, shadow prints, and ombrès on fabric and paper. SolarFast is also great for painting, tie dyeing, screen printing, stamping, batik and more!
Permanent on all artist papers and natural fabrics, including cotton, linen, canvas, silk, hemp, and wool. Color is washable and lightfast and leaves fabric completely soft.
Read all the info, watch the free video below for getting the most out of your SolarFast Dye!
Since the release of SolarFast back in August 2013 the team at Jacquard has made some significant improvements to the line.
New and improved, you say!? Indeed we do.
Here's the skinny, straight from the horse's mouth:
- SolarFast is now odorless! The initial formula smelled strongly of ammonia. The new SolarFast has no smell whatsoever, and that means it is much nicer to work with.
- It's now kid-friendly and will not offend your nose, eyes or skin. (Testing for CPSIA compliance is currently pending, and we will let you know when it is official - GCC's will be made available on our website soon.)
- Exposure times are much more consistent from color to color: The recommended exposure times for all colors, including Black, is now 10-24 minutes.
- Black: In addition to the shorter exposure time, SolarFast Black is now deeper and darker, and the gray scale is more neutral. The yellow component in the Black has been eliminated as well. The dye goes on colorless and prints are much easier to wash, with significantly less back staining.
- Colors are brighter and cleaner: Vibrancy and color purity of the dyes is much better, across the board.
- The stability and viscosity of SolarFast has also been improved: The dyes will not bleed and are easier to apply because they are thicker. The viscosity of the product in the bottle remains very stable.
For best results, watch the video, read the FAQs, and read the informational links below (downloadable PDFs!) so you know what you are doing before using! The PDF on troubleshooting and FAQS down below has excellent helpful advice! There is a learning curve with this dye, and the documents you can download below will really help a lot!
- Shake well before use.
- Apply SolarFast to fabric or paper using a brush, sponge or brayer.
- Place objects on coated substrate to block development during exposure. Any object that casts a shadow will create a pattern. Use a film negative to create permanent photographs on paper or fabric.
- While still damp, expose the design to sunlight and watch the color magically appear!
- After exposure, wash out undeveloped dye with SolarFast Wash and HOT water, agitating vigorously. Machine washing with the SolarFast Detergent is recommended for textiles. Color development is not complete until after washing.
SolarFast thins (creating pastel colors) and cleans up with water.
SolarFast Instructions Exposure and Color Details Tips and Tricks Step Wedge Instructions Troubleshooting and FAQs
For screen printing applications, use SolarFast Thickener.
So why buy SolarFast dye and how is it different from Inko Dye?
1. Way more colors (14) than Inko, which is now down to 3 colors, red, orange and blue.
2. More economical for price conscious artists!
3. In side by side tests, this product worked as well as Inko in every type of test. Some of the colors do take longer than Inko to develop to their full depth.
How is it the same?
1. Have to mix colors, dilute, and paint or squirt on the fabric in very low light, NO U.V. light! So a little fluorescent lighting is ok, or darkroom type lighting. But definately do in a room without sunlight. Pull the shades! This dye is photo-reactive, just like Inko.
2. It is a little thick right out of the bottle, just like Inko, so you can paint it on and it won't wick. You could stencil it too. You can buy the thickener for screen printing.
3. A true Vat dye, just like Inko, so permanent when washed! Does NOT fade like pigment dyes do.
How much do the bottles cover?
1. It varies by what technique you are doing and how much you want to thin it. For printing photos, you can use it straight out of the bottle or thin it some. For tie-dye, you want to thin it 50% or more, depending on how deep of color you want to get.
2. For printing photos, a 4 oz bottle should be enough to make at least 4 - 12"x12" prints, more if diluted.
3. For tie-dye, you are squirting onto a dry shirt that sucks a lot up. You don't want the tie-dye dripping wet though, as you have to untie it . Normally with a wet adult large t-shirt it takes 4 oz of dye to soak it. So 4 oz of DILUTED SolarFast should be more than enough on a dry shirt. Use less if you dont' mind a lot of white areas and want the project to be more economical. And of course, kids t-shirts will take way less, 1 - 2 oz of diluted dye.
Is the SolarFast Wash any different than Synthrapol or Dharma's Textile Detergent?
1. Yes! It is much more cationic, for you chemistry buffs. It has a charge that is opposite to the charge on the dye molecules, so it magnetically bonds to them and keeps them away from the fabric, so your white areas don't get muddied by the residual dye being washed off. Works great for tie-dye with Fiber Reactive dye too!
Here are some interesting, good to know facts:
1. Some of the reds and violets strike so fast in the light that they start to develop as you are walking out the door; Black on the other hand needs about 1.5 hours in the sun to get to a really dark black. Other colors are in between.
2. Good for small QUICK tie-dye events. Small, because so far, only comes in 4oz and 8oz bottles. Dilute it to tie-dye or do other dye-like effects. Tie up your garment, squirt it on (not too much, because you do NOT want the garment to be dripping wet), take out to sun, cut the ties, hang up on a hangar outside and let it develop, and you are DONE! No curing time!
3. Great projects for kids because it is so amazing to watch it develop in the sun. similar to sun painting with Setacolor, only much more advanced, especially if you are using photo negatives to sunprint with. The detail is just as good as what you get with the blue-printing (Cyanotype) fabrics!
Here is another very helpful document written by Jacquard for more FAQs and an excellent section for troubleshooting!