Jacquard Acid Dye Instructions

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Acid dyes are made for dyeing wool, silk and nylon These powdered dyes are intended for tub-dyeing yardage, yarns or clothing. You can use these dyes either on top of your stove or in a washing machine but they do require very hot water to work properly. Washing machines don't get as hot, but do maintain consistent time, temperature and agitation, yielding more consistent results. The only other thing needed is household white vinegar or a mild powdered acid like Citric which is actually more economical and eliminates the Vinegar smell. Acid dyes are very economical, as they react fast, they exhaust well and the results are very permanent - light and wash fast! For tub dyeing wool, silk and nylon solid colors, this is the best dye. The end color depends on your temperature, how much dye you use, how long the fabric is in the dye, and how much fabric you have. Jacquard acid dye is non-toxic when handled properly.

If you have any problems after following the instructions, we have a "Dissolving and Trouble Shooting" segment we have written for you after much research. And as with all dye powders, you should handle them carefully. Common sense and good housekeeping (dust mask, gloves, proper ventilation, etc.) should always be used when handling any dye or chemicals. Keep out of reach of children and pets.


Immersion Dyeing in a Washing Machine with Jacquard Acid Dyes

(Not for wool. Wool will felt in a washing machine. Use the stove top method for wool.)

These directions are for top loading washing machines only.

  1. Set the washing machine to the hottest wash/cool rinse and longest wash cycle. Some folks say to turn your hot water heater to its highest setting first and let it heat up, especially when you are going for black and other dark colors, or they add some boiling water to increase the temperature. CAUTION - if you turn up your water heater, warn your family and don't forget to turn it back down after your dyebath!!! Fill water to the lowest level appropriate for the amount of fabric being dyed.
  2. Get fabric wet then pull out and set aside.
  3. Add dye powder and agitate until dissolved. See chart below.
  4. Add clean wet fiber and agitate for a few minutes.
  5. Add one cup of vinegar being careful not to pour directly onto fabric. Or add 1 Tbs. of Citric Acid per lb of dry fabric if you don't like the smell of vinegar. Let agitate a few more minutes.
  6. Let machine run through cycle OR for maximum washfastness, stop and reset washer to maximum cycle length. Do not let the washing machine drain or start a new wash cycle. You just want to lengthen the time the fabric is in the dyebath. After resetting, let washer run through cycle.
  7. Remove fabric from washing machine. To ensure that all of the excess dye has been removed, you may want to run the fabric through another wash cycle with cool water and some Dharma Dyer's Detergent.
  8. Run washer through a large rinse cycle to remove any excess dye in the washing machine.

Stove Top Immersion Dyeing with Jacquard Acid Dyes

  1. Fill a stainless steel or enamel pot with just enough hot or warm water for the fabric to swim freely, turn on the heat.
  2. Add the dye powder to the pot and stir. Normally, in this procedure you would add 2 to 4% of the dry weight of the fabric in dye powder. For example, if you are dyeing 1 pound of fabric, use 1/3 to 2/3 of an ounce of dye.
  3. Add the fabric that has been thoroughly wetted to the dyepot.
  4. Raise the temperature to 185 to 200 degrees, just below boiling. Stir frequently.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of vinegar per pound of fabric. Try not to pour directly onto the fabric. Or add 1 Tbs. of Citric Acid per lb of dry fabric if you don't like the smell of vinegar.
  6. Maintain temperature and stir frequently for 1/2 hour. Wash in Dharma Dyer's Detergent and warm water.

Note: If you are dyeing wool, a gradual heating and gradual cooling of the dyebath is important so as not to shock and felt the wool.

Silk Painting with Jacquard Acid Dyes

For professional silk painters who steam set, liquid acid dyes provide the brightest, most intense colors. To make your own liquid acid dyes for silk painting, use the following recipe:

  1. Stock Solution
    • Add 8 oz. (1 cup) of very hot water to one .5 oz. jar of Jacquard Acid Dye powder.
    • Stir until dissolved. This will yield a very concentrated dye stock solution. Most colors require further dilution. Note: Every color has a different solubility. Some colors are difficult to dissolve, but most are easily dissolved. A small amount of alcohol (about 1 tablespoon) can be added to the dye solution as a wetting agent.
  2. The final concentration of the dye solution for painting should be between 4 and 8%. Start by adding 4 oz. (1/2 cup) of water to the 8 ounces of stock solution you have, test the color and continue adding water until desired shade is achieved.

Keep in mind that the color intensity really develops in the steam setting process. Most colors will remain stable in solution for a long period of time. However, some colors will fall out of solution or gel upon cooling or from sitting for a matter of weeks. To restore them simply heat them on the stove.

Dharma Pro-Tip!: To improve color and colorfastness, before you begin painting, add 1 tsp of vinegar per cup of final dye solution.

Screen Printing, Stamping & Painting with Jacquard Acid Dyes

The traditional method of printing with dye is to add the dye to a thickener paste. This method can be used for screen printing, hand-painting, and stamping and many other direct application techniques. It is important to prepare the fiber by washing to remove the sizing.

  1. Wash, dry and iron the fabric.
  2. Prepare dye thickener paste (see below).
  3. Add dye, either powder or stock solution, to thickener. Proportion the dye in the container in relation to the amount of thickener paste and desired intensity. See Pro-Tip above.
  4. Print, paint, or stamp on fabric.
  5. Air dry. Steam set. (See Steam setting directions.)

Preparing Dye Thickener

When screen printing with dye thickened with sodium alginate, the print base should be as thin as the image will allow. Dye printed in too thick a base will halo from the image before the fabric is cured or will accumulate in the corners, altering the image. Sodium Alginate SH is a high viscosity, low solids type of alginate thickener used primarily for cotton and other cellulose fibers. It may also be used for silk when fine line definition is not required. Sodium Alginate F is a low viscosity, high solids alginate used for silks and synthetics when fine line definition is desired. Use about 2 1/2 times more of the F to equal the viscosity of SH.

  1. Mix chemical water by adding 1/4 cup of urea and 1 Tablespoon of vinegar to 1 quart of water.
  2. Sprinkle sodium alginate over water and stir constantly for 10 minutes, OR mix in blender.
  3. Let stand for a few hours or overnight before using. Mixture may be stored in refrigerator for many months.


This product consistently works well and is easy to get good results with. With Nylon, as with all fabrics, you must be sure there is no surface treatment that will interfere with the dye bonding with the fabric, i.e.: water repellents, stain resistance.


Dye Quantities Chart

The quantities listed are for the deepest color saturation in one pound of fabric. For pastels and lighter colors, use less dye.

.25 TO .5 ounces .5 TO 1.5 ounces 1.5 to 2 ounces up to 3 ounces
600 Ecru 604 Burnt Orange 606 Deep Orange 618 Fire Red
601 Yellow Sun 610 Burgundy 609 Scarlet 632 Chestnut
602 Bright Yellow 620 Hot Fuchsia 611 Vermillion 626 Navy Blue
603 Golden Yellow 627 Kelly Green 612 Lilac 635 Brown
605 Pumpkin Orange 628 Chartreuse 613 Purple 639 Black
607 Salmon 633 Aztec Gold 614 Violet  
608 Pink 634 Olive 615 Periwinkle  
636 Gold Ochre   616 Russet  
638 Silver Grey   617 Cherry Red  
    619 Crimson  
    621 Sky Blue  
    622 Sapphire Blue  
    623 Brilliant Blue  
    624 Turquoise  
    625 Royal Blue  
    629 Emerald  
    630 Spruce  
    631 Teal  
    637 Gun Metal  

Jacquard Acid Dye Properties

For wash & light fastness higher numbers are better.

Color Color Index # Solubility in
hot water
Scale 1-5
Scale 1-7
Mix 100      
Yellow Sun
Yel 49 150 2-3 5-6 Good
Bright Yellow
Yel 19 50 5 5 Moderate
Golden Yellow
Yel 219 50 5 7 Moderate
Burnt Orange
OR 116 40 5 5-6 Moderate
Pumpkin Orange
Mix 10      
Deep Orange
Mix 10 5 7 Moderate/Good
Mix 30      
Mix 20      
Mix 20      
Red 299 30-40 4-5 5-6 Good
Vio 43 10-20 1-2 5-6 Poor
Cherry Red
Red 266 25-30 4-5 6 Moderate
Fire Red
Mix 30-40      
Mix 20      
Hot Fuchsia
Red 52 100-150 3-4 2-3 Poor
Sky Blue
Blue 129 20-30 4 4-5 Poor
Sapphire Blue
Blue 25 50-60 1-2 4-5 Poor
Brilliant Blue
Blue 62 100-150 2-3 4 Moderate
Blue 7 30-40 3 1 Moderate
Royal Blue
Blue 324 20-30 4-5 5-6 Poor
Navy Blue
Blue 113 20-30 4-5 7 Poor
Kelly Green
Mix 30-40      
Mix 30-40      
Mix 20-30      
Green 25 10-30 4 6 Poor
Mix 40-50      
Aztec Gold
Mix 50-60      
Gold Ochre
Mix 30-50      
Gun Metal
Mix 20-30      
Silver Grey
30-40 4-5 6 Poor
Jet Black
Mix 40-50      

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