After 1+ years of creating these Wink dresses with a discharge paste (& breathing in lots of crazy fumes), I think I’ve finally mastered this dye technique. I want to share with you my basic process and all the tips & tricks I've figured out along the way.... Enjoy!
[ ] Natural Fabric (ie. Cotton, Linen, Silk, Wool)
[ ] Textile Detergent + Fabric Softener like Synthrapol + Milsoft
[ ] Discharge Paste like Dharma DeColourant
[ ] Respirator specifically for gas/vapor/fumes
[ ] Foam Brushes or something to paint with
[ ] Unvented Goggles
[ ] Gloves
[ ] Iron or Steamer
STEP #1: WASH + DRY THE NATURAL FABRIC.
I use Synthrapol or another textile detergent like Dharma Detergent.
TIP! After you wash, you might want to pre-treat your fabric with a commercial fabric softener, like Milsoft from Dharma Trading. This will prevent “bleeding” when you apply the discharge. If you don’t use fabric softener, the fabric may get extra dry and "thirsty" in the dryer (so when you apply the discharge later, the fabric pulls the water from the discharge paste and can bleed around the edges). This used to drive me absolutely nuts, so you're welcome. ;)
STEP #2: APPLY THE DISCHARGE PASTE.
The discharge paste I use is Dharma DeColourant. Make sure your space is WELL ventilated and take all safety precautions. Discharge paste bleaches out permanent dye from fabric, and you don’t want that in your body! It does not feel good... trust. Use a respirator specifically for gas/vapor/fumes. Use unvented goggles. Wear some gloves.
I apply with foam brushes, but do whatever you want! I also put a layer of cardboard underneath, so the discharge doesn’t get on anything else.
TIP! After applying the paste, I let it dry in front of a space heater for about 15 minutes. From my experience, you don't want to let it sit for more than 6 hours. I’m not quite sure why, but the discharged area starts to turn weird colors and becomes inconsistent.
(This step is probably optional, but after all my trial and error, hands down, this works the best to get the whitest, most consistent discharge out of the fabric).
STEP #3: IRON OUT THE DISCHARGE PASTE IN AN OUTDOOR SPACE.
You’ll still want to wear your safety gear for this step. Also, try to iron on a hot, dry day! Make sure it’s not raining at all... Any drops of water on the discharge will create a spot on your discharge.
That being said, one of the trickiest parts of this process is getting a consistent even steam from your iron without any actual water spillage. This sucks, too. A quality iron, or better yet, a professional steamer is highly recommended! I use a Rowenta Steam Force and it does the trick for the most part.
Once you're finished, wash again in warm water with a commercial detergent, et voila!
What are you discharging? Do you have any additional tips/tricks or need any more from me? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.