1.10.2011

Dye Job

This experience is about feathers which is "hair" to some so I thought I'd include it in the Hair Month theme. Of course it's much more glamorous picturing us holding wine glasses and laughing haughtily throughout so please feel free to do so:

In November my friend, Andrew, asked how he would go about dying a feather skirt. Of course he was talking about Tick's (last year's Paris convention Sybarite doll from Superdoll) skirts (two white feather skirts, one short, one full length) so naturally I invited him over for arts and crafts afternoon! Never having dyed feathers before, I wasn't sure how it would turn out, especially since he wanted to take the virginal white skirts and dye them pitch black. But it was an opportunity I wasn't about to pass up. How often do you get to "play" with such an item? To his credit, Andrew was committed. It didn't matter what the outcome, he was going to dye these skirts until they were something new and amazing and he didn't care if it took 3 tries and 5 colors to do it. He was in it to win it!

The kind of cooking I'm best at!  

Andrew picked up a cheap aluminum pan along with some black RIT dye and we got to work. The directions called for hot water and salt. We put enough water in the pan to cover the skirts, enough salt to make a horse happy and 1 bottle of black RIT dye along with a dry packet of black RIT dye. I have to admit, watching the inky water devour every last feather reminded me of the BP mess and I got a sudden twinge of the guilts. Reminding myself it was only fashion, I got back to work pushing out air pockets and making sure everything was evenly coated.

Smells delicious!

Andrew, Scott (his partner) and I then spent the next 45 minutes chatting away while our experiment sat soaking. Once the time was up, the liquid was drained, I rinsed the skirts and then soaked them in a half water, half vinegar solution for 5-10 minutes to set the dye and reduce any staining that might take place. It was here that we realized the pitch black idea wasn't going to happen, at least in one session. The feathers still looked inky but the actual skirt had turned a dark shimmery purple/grey. Andrew made the decision to let it dry and see how it turned out before heading right back to the store for more dye. The solution was drained, the skirts rinsed again, they were pat dry with paper towels and I bid Andrew and Scott adieu.

Almost ready! Hope you're hungry!

The next day I get a call from Andrew in disbelief! After letting the skirts air dry overnight they had totally turned colors. The feathers were now a gorgeous mink brown and the underskirt was an opalescent periwinkle! The feathers were unharmed and fluffed up perfectly. It's one of those things I don't think you could have calculated had someone asked for the same results and certainly not when handed 2 packs of black dye. We spent a good amount of time thinking up things to go with his new treasure. In the end he settled on Inque 2 and yes, those are her undies on her head lol.

Perfectly done!

Now bitten by the bug, Andrew set about dying a second set of skirts himself. This time he wanted electric green so he used a bottle of RIT Green Apple. He followed the same steps and used a hairdryer this time. While electric green would have been really cool, the skirt came out the same color as Karma's shirt! It's this beautiful organic color which makes the skirt look like it's made of moss or sea grass and opens up a whole other realm of couture and photography! Who knew??





This is the joy of DIY projects: you never know what you'll get. Sometimes it will turn out just as you planned and sometimes it will twist in a direction so much better than you could dream. It all starts though with the courage to try something yourself! Thanks so much to Andrew for the opportunity to be a part of this fun and I can't wait for our next "project"!