Do you save your dyes from year to year or do you make new ones every year? if you store them, how do you recondition the colors?
- Some people work on eggs all year long and continue to use the same batch of dyes. Always check to see that dyes are not moldy. Some people strain the mold from the dyes and then heat and reuse it. Tymothy wrote to me and said that he "save dyes more than 6 months. All dyes usual stay in cooling room year-around".
- I prefer to mix up a new batch and am certain that the jars that I use are sterilized in the dishwasher. I never mix fresh dye powder into old dyes. There could be cross contaminants in the old dye. As a rule, if I am working for several hours on penciling in a design, I don't want my Pysanky to be ruined by weak dyes. So I make sure that all the dyes are strong. I see no need in saving dye from year to year. We work in an art where the dye product is so cheap. I also keep in stock those tried and true colors that I love using, so I have them when I need them.
- If you only write eggs a couple of times a year, mark the month/year on the jars when you mix them. Each time you use it, you may need to add 1 Tbsp. vinegar to recondition the dye .
- Cyn says: "When I make new dyes I dump the old, scrub the jar in hot water and start again. I don't add new dye to old mainly because I work on duck eggs, which I think contaminate the dyes more than the chickens eggs do. I also have a theory that as the dye molecules come out of the dye, they do not do so evenly, so what is left is not quite the original color. I have seen this with greens that over time become blue. Also I think duck eggs pull a lot of dye out of the solution, further weakening the dye bath".
I teach pysanky classes and so I make up new batches of basic colors at the start of the season. I use 2 packets of each color per jar + 1 Tbsp. of vinegar. My dye table for teaching consists of 2 jars of yellow(as there can be a backup on the yellows), orange, traditional red(UGS Scarlet+ UGS Red), turquoise, deep blue, purple, brick red and black. As people are beginning to learn the art, I want the colors to be vibrant for their eggs; and not have disappointed students.
ADDITIONAL ISSUES WITH DYES
- BLUE DYES
Some blue dyes will not keep their original shades longer than a few weeks/months. You can still use, if you like the shade that it colors or mix a new packet of dye.
- ORANGE / GOLD DYE
The best orange which I have settled with is TANGERINE, from pysankyusa.com
as it has no issues with the vinegar, and is a strong orange.