Dharma Pigment Dye

Non-Toxic, Waterbased!

 4.52 ( 64 review )

USE FOR: Silk painting, Serti Technique, watercolor technique, hand painting, non-toxic pseudo Tie-dye and Batik, Crinkle Dyeing, Airbrushing, Spraying, all direct application

USE ON: Silk, Wool, Cotton, Nylon (untreated), Polyester, Synthetics & Blends, paper or just about any other porous material

Product Details 1+
16 oz. Regular Colors

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The Dharma Pigment Dye System...

Dharma Pigment Dye is a concentrated, non-toxic pigment system that when applied to fabrics, feels more like dye than paint. The big thing is that, unlike dyes, you can get wash-fast, dry-cleanable, permanent results without the use of steamers, chemical fixatives, or extensive heat-setting. When you figure how much you can dilute it with water, it becomes more economical too than many products. Just dilute it to taste (we recommend 1 part pigment to 2-4 parts water), apply it, and let it dry and air-cure for at least 24 hours. (If a 24-hour air cure is a problem for you, you can speed up the process with a hair dryer.) We have found that a bit of heat-setting, 20 or so minutes in a home dryer or a quick 1-3 minute run-over with an iron, will produce the strongest colors.

We recommend Dharma Pigment Dyes mainly for direct-application, i.e. hand-painting, tie-dyeing, squirting, dipping, crinkle effect, and even marbling (with the use of a dispersing agent.) It works great on cotton, rayon, silk, silk velvet, and also most synthetics including polyester and nylon. Pigment Dyes are not recommended for solid color dying, as they do not set until they are dry, which means that the color will migrate while drying. Neat effects, but no solids.

On most natural fabrics, especially if you don't heat-set, you get a cool distressed or "stonewashed" look after washing which is unique to using pigments as opposed to dyes. It looks very different than fabric dyed with dyes. It gives results completely different from the usual tie-dye, yet in some ways it's easier to use. Let the garment dry as much as possible while still tied, then hang or lay flat to finish drying. Non-toxic Pigment Dyes are a possible non-toxic alternative to using true dyes when doing projects with small children and/or when you prefer not to work with the chemicals normally used to set the dyes. More like dyes, these are transparent, so best on white and light colored fabrics.

On silk, we have found that a bit of heat-setting is required. Unlike the silk paints we carry, you can heat-set the Pigment Dyes in a home dryer or with a quick 1-3 minute run-over with an iron. The Pigment Dyes don't spread as much as other silk dyes and paints, making it easier to do detail work without the use of resists. Alcohol and salt techniques work as well. On silk velvet we've gotten fabulous results, but you must dilute it, and the setting must be done in the dryer (with iron-setting, too much excess pigment remains and the pile sticks together.)

On nylon, which is very much like silk, we've found that it works best if it's PFP (prepared for printing). Non-PFP nylon often has oils and other substances to make it easier to weave, but that also interfere with the absorption of the pigment and will produce less than optimal results.

On Polyester and other synthetics, we found that this product sticks pretty well, unlike our other dyes.

Dharma Pigment Dyes are available in 12 standard colors, plus white and black. It is also now available in 5 Fluorescent colors, which will glow under blacklight and is great for flags, scarves, backdrops and costuming for blacklit productions. The white is also called a "pastel base." The primaries are yellow, scarlet or rubine, and blue. It is a very concentrated pigment, so a 4 oz. bottle yields approximately 12-20 oz. of dye. The Pearl Base adds pearlescence, and requires iron-fixing in order to be washfast. Thickener makes it more like a paint and must be blended to avoid clumping. Bases should be added to the colors, not vice versa, to achieve desired effects. They may, if over-used, add more to the hand of the fabric.

#80 White Base can be added to make pastels without thinning the dye further.
#85 Pearl Base can be added to make any of the colors Pearlescent. It also thickens the product a bit, making it more like a regular paint.
#90 Retarding Agent is used to slow the drying time down as when silk-screening or when the design idea requires the fabric to stay wet longer.
#95 Thickener is a powerful thickener used to adjust the consistency of the dye to your taste. It must be mixed into diluted dye with a hand mixer. This is normally used, along with the retarding agent above, if you want to use this product for Silk Screening.
The Works contains one 4 oz. bottle of everything except the Fluorescent colors.

Dharma Pigment FAQ


Is there a silk dye that doesn't need some manner of setting?


Yes, we have one called Dharma Pigment Dye. Although, technically, it is a pigment product, like paint, it behaves more like a dye. You just paint it on and let it air-dry for 12 to 24 hours. It bonds instantly with the fiber but does not spread as easily as silk dyes and the colors react very quickly, so you need to work fast. After air curing just rinse to remove excess dye. Quick heat setting with an iron does improve the color retention, though. This product does fade a little after the first washing to give that unique "pigment dyed" stonewashed looking effect.


What is the Pigment Dye System?


The Dharma Pigment Dye System is a highly concentrated, non-toxic, pigment system that when applied to fabrics, feels and acts more like a dye than a paint. Unlike dyes however, you can get washfast, dry cleanable, permanent results without the use of steamers, heat setting, or chemical fixatives. Paint it on and let it air-dry for at least 24 hours. It can be used on silk, nylon, polyester, synthetics and blends. On cotton it gives completely different results from the usual tie-dye and in some ways it is much easier and cheaper to use. It does require some heatsetting though, about 15 minutes in a home dryer or some ironing. Squirting, brushing or dipping produces very good results which have a distressed or "stonewashed" effect after washing. On most synthetics it is very intense with no heat setting at all. On Silk it does benefit from a little heat setting, as on cotton. It spreads very little when painted on silk so you can do more detail work without the use of resists. The salt technique works very well. If the 24 hours to air cure is a problem you can speed it up by using a home dryer or an iron. On nylon the fiber needs to be prepared for printing (PFP). If the nylon is not PFP it has usually been treated with oils and it will not absorb the pigment properly. This is a very concentrated liquid pigment which is used by mixing 1 part pigment to 4 parts water for maximum depth of shade, which makes it more economical. If you require pastel shades, just add more water or white base. It also comes in Fluorescent colors that POP under blacklight!
American Flag Shirt
Our most patriotic tutorial to date. Wear the stars and stripes on your chest, back, and sleeves.

The Retarding Agent is used to slow the drying time down as when silk-screening or when the design idea requires the fabric to stay wet longer.

Product Details 1+
Dharma Pigment Dye - #90 Retarding Agent 4 Oz. $9.49
Dharma Pigment Dye - #90 Retarding Agent 16 Oz. $33.16
Product Details Qty
4 oz. #90 Retarding Agent
16 oz. #90 Retarding Agent
= In Stock = Out Of Stock = Special Order = Drop Ship

Average Customer Review
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I was looking for that classic soft "pigment dyed" look that you get when using pigments instead of paints. Dharma recommended this and it was perfect! Then we did some tie dye with young kids with the fluorescent colors and they loved it! Didn't have to worry about them with chemicals either! I also used it to dye some lace that I was sure was some kind of synthetic and it worked great and did not stiffen the lace.
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30 of 31 users found this review helpful.

I have used this for several years... and found that it seems to fade on silk even when not or rarely washed. ...
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26 of 26 users found this review helpful.

After using Procion MX dyes the pigment dyes are duller in comparison but your website says that upfront. There are many things to do with these that Procion dyes cannot do and I am happy with them.
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21 of 21 users found this review helpful.

This product is amazing! What I loved most about it is that the fabric stays soft yet you apply the dye so easily like paint!I used it on cottonpolyester and it worked great! It doesn't bleed which allows for detailed work (you have to mix it slightly thicker though). I once used it for a prom ensemble and it turned out just how I wanted it but it was tricky. I applied the dye on a black polyester dress however so I layered it on thick I don't know what the results would be if I were to wash it but the colors stayed true and vibrant with steam cleaning.I cannot express how much I absolutely love working with this product though! It's so easy to use and the results are fabulous. It was easy for me to work around difficult materials such as the black polyester with this product because it really does just work like paint! With easier material such as cotton shirts the stonewashed effect looks awesome! It just depends on the washing habits of the material the dye however is perfect!
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20 of 22 users found this review helpful.

I am unhappy with this paint. I used them to paint over 20 scarves over a period of about a month. I followed instructions for setting the color--drying for 24 hours and heat setting in the dryer and tried various parts water (between 2 and 4) and the colors really washed out especially orange and the reds. If you're looking for a stonewashed effect it's great. I finally stopped fighting for good color and just went with the stonewash. I made the mistake of ordering lots of colors rather than just starting with a few. I won't order these again though. The colors were so beautiful when I first painted the silks and I was sick when they faded so much after washing. The other complaint I have about the paint is I did a Jackson Pollock type scarf with a orange background and blues splashed all over. The orange faded to peach while the blue was stiff as a board.
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49 of 55 users found this review helpful.

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