Sennelier Tinfix Design Silk Dye

French Silk Dye

USE FOR: Silk Painting - Serti silk technique, water color, alcohol and salt effects, Tie-dye & Batik on silk, silkscreening (thickened)

USE ON: Silk and wool

Sennelier Tinfix Design Silk Dye
4.65 star rating 4.65 ( 100 review )
Product Details 1+
100 ml. (3.5 oz.) -100 ml. (3.5 oz.) $11.39
500 ml. (16 oz.) -500 ml. (16 oz.) $39.49
Product Details Qty
Color Chip / Item imageColor Chip 100 ml. (3.5 oz.) 010 Saffron Yellow
This product is sellable
Color Chip / Item imageColor Chip 100 ml. (3.5 oz.) bottles 029 Red Violet
This product is outofstock
Color Chip / Item imageColor Chip 100 ml. (3.5 oz.) 039 Opera Purple
This product is outofstock
Color Chip / Item imageColor Chip 500 ml. (16 oz.) 010 Saffron Yellow
This product is sellable
Color Chip / Item imageColor Chip 500 ml. (16 oz.) 029 Red Violet
This product is outofstock
Color Chip / Item imageColor Chip 500 ml. (16 oz.) 089 Van Dyck Brown
This product is sellable
All prices calculated in US$
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Clearance Disclaimer

Sennelier Tinfix Design is unfortunately DISCONTINUED. We have a few bottles left and they are priced for clearance. The colors are highly concentrated and therefore very vivid and intense. . As with all dye, fabrics remain soft, supple and transparent. Another great thing about these dyes is that each color is coded for it's resistance to light and responsiveness to salt techniques to help you choose.


1. When steam-set in a professional or home-made steamer, Tinfix Design is as good as or better than any silk dye in the world in regard to brightness & strength of color as well as wash and lightfastness.

Jacquard Dyeset Fixative. This works, but the colors come out much less rich and bright than when steamed in a steamer.

Not intended for use by or for products for children 12 and under. Lead free, but not certified.

Made in: FRANCE (FR)

No measurements are available for this item.

Silk Painting Techniques

Serti Silk Painting Instructions

The Serti (closing or fence) technique is the silk painting technique where designs are outlined with gutta or water-based resists, which are applied to white silk that has been pre-washed, dried and stretched (on a stretcher). Once the gutta or water-based resist has dried, it acts as a barrier for the dye or paint; keeping the color within the outlined areas of the design and allowing you to achieve sharply defined borders. After the dye or paint has been properly set, the clear gutta or resist is removed and a defining line the color of the original fabric remains. Colored guttas and resists are also available that are meant to remain in the fabric.

Shopping list:

Silk Paints or Dyes

Paint Brushes

Gutta or Water-Soluble Resist

Gutta Applicator Bottle for the resist

A Stretcher Frame or a home made frame and hooks or pins

A white silk item to paint on

How it's Done:

Prewash Your Silk

Pre-wash your silk by hand or in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with warm water and Kieralon. Rinse, dry and, when still slightly damp, press with an iron set to the silk setting.

Prepare Your Design

The Serti Technique lends itself well to designs with enclosed areas where the color will be contained within the resist lines.

Sketch out your design

Draw your design to scale on a piece of paper, first in pencil and then go over it with a black marker, this will be your template. Lay your silk on top of the template and with a pencil or vanishing marker, lightly draw your design onto the silk. With thick silks you may have to draw free hand but having your template will still help.

Making a Stretching Frame

You will need a frame to stretch your silk and suspend it off the table.

Use a frame

There are a variety of types of frames you can use, depending on the size of the piece you are painting, your budget and what is available. Artist's canvas stretcher bars work very well and are sold at most art supply stores. Your frame needs to be soft enough to allow push pins or 3-pronged tacks to be pushed into it OR you can create a 'trampoline' effect with rubber bands and hooks or silk clips (see below). The last method is best if you are painting a piece that has pre-finished edges, make sure that the inside measurements of the frame, are at least 2-3 inches larger than the silk to avoid leaving bleed marks on the hem.

Frame in use

In a pinch, you could also cut out a frame from a cardboard box.

Stretch your silk onto your frame with pins, silk thumb tacks or hooks spaced every 4-6 inches along each side. If need be, you can link rubber bands together for extended lengths. Rubber bands are great because they will maintain the tension of the silk for you.

The goal when stretching your silk is to create just enough tension so that the silk remains taut while you are painting but not so tight that it tears. Your piece may sag a bit once it becomes wet with dye or paint so you may need to adjust the pinning as you are painting. Placing upside down plastic cups or wood blocks underneath each corner of your frame will raise your frame a few inches above your table so that the silk does not have anything touching it.

Apply the Gutta or Resist

(see discussion of Guttas vs. Water-soluble Resists to decide which to use)

Using Resist

Fill your applicator bottle with resist and make sure the tip is on properly. Hold the applicator bottle vertically with the tip touching the silk. Using even pressure and a steady hand, draw your resist lines. Be sure there are no breaks or gaps in the lines, or dye will escape. Also check the back side of your piece to make sure the resist has penetrated all the way through. If it hasn't, dye can bleed under your resist lines so you will need to apply resist to the back side as well (this is more often necessary when working on silks heavier than 12 mm). Let the resist dry before painting (you can speed up the drying time with a blow dryer or heat gun).

Apply Your Dyes or Paints
(see discussion of dyes vs. paints to decide which to use)

Applying the paint

Dip your brush into the color and apply the dye or paint sparingly to the center of an outlined area by touching the brush to the silk. Let the paint move to the resist line - do not apply the paint too close to the resist as water-based resist may begin to dissolve if the line becomes too saturated. If there is a gap in your resist line that you didn't notice and the dye or paint starts escaping, you can stop the movement by drying it quickly with a hair dryer and then patch up the line with gutta or resist and let dry before resuming. When painting large areas such as backgrounds, work quickly, applying wet to wet to avoid unwanted lines.

Set the Color
When you have finished applying dye or paint to silk yardage or a scarf, note that it is not permanent until you "set" or "fix" the color. In other words, the color will all wash out if it is not "fixed". The method of "setting" or "fixing" the color depends on the chemistry of the dye or paint you are using. Before purchasing any dye or paint, you should read the directions thoroughly to determine if the required procedure fits your project and situation.

Setting for your silk dyes and paints

Setting Dyes With Steam (Sennelier Tinfix Design, Pebeo Silk (Pebeo Soie), Jacquard Silk Colors (Green and Red label), Dupont French Dyes, Jacquard Vinyl Sulphon Liquid Reactive Dyes, and Dharma Acid Dyes)
Of the two methods for setting silk dyes, the steaming method produces the most brilliant colors. Some people don't want to go this route, but those who do are usually very happy with the results. Read detailed steaming instructions.

Setting Paints With Heat (Dye-na-Flow, Seta-Silk, Dharma Pigment Dye)
Allow to dry 24 hours before heat-setting the paints with an iron. Iron each area of your piece for 2-3 minutes, face down on your ironing board with a press cloth between the silk and iron. You may want a protective cloth on the ironing board as well. Work in small areas at a time, moving in a small circular motion so as not to burn the silk, but also so that each section retains the heat for a long enough duration to actually set the paint.

Setting Dyes With Chemical Fixative Jacquard Dyeset for Jacquard Silk Colors (Can also be used with Tinfix Design)
If you don't want to go the steaming route, Tinfix and Jacquard have liquid fixatives for their respective dyes. They can be painted on top of the dyes, or the project can be submerged. Although much easier, the colors will not be as brilliant and may not be as colorfast as they would if set by steaming. Follow the manufacturer's directions for using the chemical fixatives.

Finished example

Removing clear gutta or clear water-based resist (not used in this example)
Once the dye or paint has been properly fixed, it's time to remove the gutta or resist. Clear gutta is removed by dry cleaning.

Clear water-based resist is removed by rinsing in warm water. It comes out easily when used with iron-set paints, but some brands can be very difficult, if not impossible, to remove after steam-setting dyes. Once the resist is removed, hang dry, then iron lightly while still slightly damp. See our "Gutta vs. Resist" page for more details.

If colored guttas have been used, do not dry clean (the color will come out with the gutta)! They are meant to stay in the silk, and there will be some "hand" or "feel" to the lines in the silk. Some people prefer to use the colored guttas on wall hanging pieces only, rather than on wearable art.
If colored water-based resists have been used, follow the manufacturer's instructions for heat-setting with an iron before painting on the color. See our "Gutta vs. Resist" page for details. The colored resists are meant to stay in the fabric, and there will be a "feel" to resist lines.

Other Basic Silk Painting Techniques:

Detailed patterns without resists can be achieved by priming the prewashed and stretched silk with a stop-flow primer which is left to dry before painting on the dyes or paints. Stop-flow, or No-flow primers cause the color to stay put rather than migrating. This allows for freehand painting without gutta or water-soluble resists. Think of stop-flow primers as starch-like sizing to prepare the canvas with. They wash out in the end.

Watercolor Effects can be achieved by applying dye or paint to silk that has been pre-washed and put on stretcher bars whether or not you are using resists (but not if you are using stop-flow). Dyes or paints are applied to the silk with a paint brush, mist sprayer, eye dropper or other tools to achieve abstract effects. Spraying the silk lightly with water before adding color increases the flow of the dye or paint. Sprinkling silk salt on the piece when still wet and leaving until completely dry before brushing off the salt, produces interesting textural effects. Applying alcohol to dye-painted silk can also create beautiful effects.

Steam Setting Silk& Wool dyes Dyes

When you have finished applying the dye to the silk or wool yardage or scarf - it's not permanent until you do something else. You have to "set" or"'fix" the color so you can wash or dry clean the piece without all the color washing out.

The method of "setting" or "fixing" the color depends on the chemistry of the dye you are using. Before purchasing any dye you should read the directions thoroughly to determine if the required procedure fits your project and situation (time or space available, inclinations i.e. lifestyle). You will also learn how that particular dye or paint needs to be fixed (set, made permanent).


  • The flowable paints (Dynaflow, Setasilk) - only ironing or a No-Heat additive.
  • Jacquard Silk (Green Label only) can be set using steam or a special liquid fixative but will yield deeper richer colors when steamed as opposed to being fixed with the liquid fixative.
  • DupontVinyl Sulphone and Acid Dyes require prolonged steaming to set the color. 

Steam fixation is essential for the last group of dyes and preferred for many others. They need to be steamed to achieve adequate color intensity and washability. The high temperature heat and pressure produced by steaming bonds dye and silk molecules together.

Best results are achieved using a professional home steamer. Dharma carries two types: the upright electric self-contained steamer and the stove top steamer. Smaller pieces can, however, be steamed successfully on the stove much like one steams vegetables, and we have directions for making a steamer out of a household pot here.


When steaming it is important that the fabric does not touch itself at any point. If it does, the dye will transfer from one place to another and cause smearing. Also, water from the steaming process can never be allowed to come into contact with dyed silk. This will create spots and smears and designs you may not desire. To prevent these unwanted effects the fabric must be wrapped or rolled in paper and protected from itself and condensation from the steamer.

Rolling the fabric for the electric steamer or the stove top steamer.

The silk should be rolled between sheets of newsprint or similarly absorbent material - the paper or material you use must be porous enough to allow the steam to penetrate. If you use newspaper, the ink must be completely dry, at least six weeks old.

Roll a few layers of paper onto the pole you are using. Then begin rolling the fabric onto the poll between the layers of paper while keeping it smooth to prevent wrinkles from developing. The paper should extend at least two inches beyond the silk at each end. The length of the paper you use is not important as it can be overlapped. You can roll one piece of fabric or many scarves. Continue rolling until all the fabric is on the roll. Finish by wrapping an extra two layers of paper around the fabric and secure the roll with tape. Place the roll in the steamer and you are ready to start.

Steaming Time

The length of time required to set the dyes depends on the type of dyes and the amount of fabric on the roll. Generally, steam time will range from 30-45 minutes (for reactive dyes like Vinyl Sulphone) - after the water is boiling - to 2-3 hours for the French dyes and Jacquard Silk.
The larger the roll of fabric, the more time necessary, as the steam must penetrate to the center of the roll. Be sure to keep the temperature steady and constant.
Check the directions of the dye you are using for the correct/ appropriate steaming time and then adjust for the amount of fabric being steamed- the more fabric, the longer the time.


Silk Dye Product Approximate steaming time at least 212 F
Jacquard Green Label (not a concentrate) We recommend 1hr or dye set after 24hrs min
Jacquard Red Label (concentrate) 1 hr - steam only
Vinyl Sulphone (concentrate) 30-45 min - steam only
Sennelier Tinfix (concentrate) 2-3 hrs or dyeset 10 min after 24 hrs
Dupont (concentrate) 2-3 hrs - steam only
Acid dye paint on method 45-60 min - steam only
Colorhue (concentrate) air cure only - no steaming


Building Your Own Stovetop Silk Steamer

Also see our Stovepipe Steamer Instructions

Exploded view of the stove top setupHere's a quick and easy method for steaming a small quantity of silk (2 to 4 scarves or under 2 yards of fabric). Building your own steamer is somewhat time consuming but not difficult. The object is to subject the dyed fabric to a steam filled environment for a specific period of time without water drops landing on the fabric.

  1. How to layer paper and silk then rollOn a work surface lay 2-3 layers of clean, unprinted newsprint. Next, lay your dry, dyed silk (design side up) on the paper with 2" allowance all around. If placing scarves side by side be sure they don't touch each other (at lease 2" apart).

    Then place 2-3 more sheets of paper on top of that. Start rolling into a tube. Be sure to smooth out any wrinkles as you roll (this is very important, or you may unwittingly be steaming wrinkles permanently into your silk!). You can try using a small diameter pole (broom handle) to facilitate rolling into a neat, tight roll. When completely rolled, tape everywhere you think it could come unrolled. Remove pole. Flaten the roll a bit, tuck in the opening nearest you and seal with tape, and then roll like a cinnamon roll, into a coil.

    Tuck in the other end and seal with tape and then secure the coil with tape or tie gently with string. The final flat roll must be small enough to fit into the pot, on top of the stand you will make below.
  2. In a large pot (a canning pot is ideal), put about 2 inches of water or whatever mixture the instructions for the dye you have used call for. 
  3. To keep the fabric out of the water make a stand using a tin can with both ends removed and an aluminum pie pan or wire rack on top. On top of the pie pan place a dish towel or several layers of newsprint cut into circles to fit. This is to absorb moisture and avoid a puddle. The aim with all of this is to set up a situation where your wrapped silk can be steamed but at no time get wet!
  4. After placing on the stand, cover the wrapped coil with 4-5 more layers of newsprint circles. Place a piece of aluminum foil over the coil and lightly crimp it around the edges of the pie pan. The foil will protect your piece from any condensation that may collect on the inside of the lid.
  5. To pad the inside of the lid, cut a stack (3/8-1/2") of lid-size circles from newspaper. Place the paper on a thick cotton towel and the lid on top of that. Gather up the sides of the towel and fasten securely over the top of the lid with clothes pin or safety pins. Place the towel-covered lid on the pot making sure that no part of the towel is hanging down in danger of being near the flame or heat from the burner. Weight the top of the lid with something heavy to build pressure inside. (Careful this is not intended to be a bomb. The steam needs to escape or it will explode. A brick or two or an upside-down heavy pot will do just fine). Stay near the pot during the steaming process so you can ensure that all is safe!
  6. Begin heating the water to a boil, then turn heat down to an even, constant simmer. The amount of time needed to steam-fix the dyes varies depending on the type and amount of dye used, the weight of the fabric, and the amount of yardage. This can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours. Follow the dye manufacturer's suggestions. Try to have enough water so that you don't need to add any along the way, but if it is necessary, do so with boiling water so you don't loose as much time and temperature.

  7. After steaming, remove and unwrap the roll carefully; it will be hot to the touch. Hang fabrics so that the fabrics don't touch each other, wait 24 hours, then wash in synthrapol. Blot with a clean towel, and iron dry with a cool iron.

Some notes:

  • Wrinkles will set when steamed. (Actually that is how designer crinkle-silk is made.) So be careful to keep your silk smooth and flat while you roll it.
  • Condensation in the steamer creates drips of water that can water spot your work if you you don't carefully protect it.
  • Gutta may stick to the newsprint, but the bits of paper that stick to the clear gutta will be removed with the gutta during dry cleaning.

Other Techniques

Page 1
Page 2
Salted Silk Scarf Project
Step by step tutorial for creating a beautiful silk scarf with Tinfix Design Silk Colors and Jacquard Silk Salt.
Average Customer Review
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5 star rating
Fabulous dye!! Beautiful colors and so many colors too. I've been using Tinfix for years and still love it. As a professional silk painter I've gotten the best results using steamable dyes and I've found Tinfix and Dupont silk dyes are the best.
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19 of 19 users found this review helpful.

5 star rating
I just completed a two-day workshop using these incredible dyes and I'm hooked! Magnificent color! I may never go back to watercolor! I love the way the dye moves on the silk and blends so beautifully for value changes. Some in the class had other silk paints from other workshops and to me they were not nearly as vibrant as the Tinfix! Love it! I feel an order coming on! KRS
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12 of 12 users found this review helpful.

3 star rating
Does anyone have the same problem as me? Dyes are gorgeous but after steaming and with time the colors fade. I love the way these dyes turn out only after time the brilliance fades and all my hard work is for naught. Anyone have any ideas on how to keep colors from fading? Should I be doing anything in addition to steaming?
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8 of 8 users found this review helpful.

4 star rating
I wish I could give it a 4.5. I only had trouble with the coral turning orange when the salt technique was used. However when it came to purple especially turquoise and green the effects were so spectacular they defy words...
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6 of 6 users found this review helpful.

5 star rating
Tinfix is my favorite as the colors don't bleed out after steaming as much as the others I have tried and the colors are so vivid! I try others but always come back to Tinfix.
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5 of 5 users found this review helpful.

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