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I need to dye two couch covers that are denim; midnight blue. If I use 1#/3gallons then I need 45TBSP or 22.5 ounces of dye. If I use the 3-5% rule, assuming that I want the darkest at 5%, then I need 36 ounces of dye for 45 pounds of fabric. And I can't figure out at all how much soda ash and salt I need.

The solution is where I'm getting stuck. Are the measurements of dye dependent on the fabric weight or on the gallons of water? Are the other solutes dependent in the same way?

It is likely that I will have to do each cover separately and will find a big tub, but does that mean I need 3 gallons for every pound of fabric?  If I use a bath tub, and synthropol, will it remove the dye from the tub, or will it be forever stained?

Thank you!
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Jacquardmod Jacquardmod
Great question.  

So, the covers are really 45 lbs of fabric?  It seems like that is too much.  

Are you using cobalt blue procion?  That would be my suggestion.  

The answer to the question is that 

The amount of dye is determined by the amount of fabric you want to dye.  Yes, 5-6% is a good idea for dark color.  So 36 oz is correct.  You could likely get away with with 32 oz, which would be 2 lb sizes.  Lb sizes can be hard to find, not everyone carries them all the time.  Hyatt's is  the one I know that does.  Cobalt  is a deep color so you should be fine with 32oz.  

https://www.hyatts.com/search.php?q=procion+dye&x=9&y=1

You have to go to the last page for lb sizes.  

The amount of soda ash is determined by the amount of water.  The amount of water is determined by having enough water so the fabric can move freely.  For deepest color, you want 1 cup of soda ash(450 g) per 3 gallons of water.  

You are going to want to use salt for this dyeing.  The order goes dye first, then fabric, then soda ash, then salt.  Salt should be added in one cup increments at 3x the amount of soda ash.  That means 1 cup per gallon.  The soda ash fixes the dye on fabric, the salt drives the dye onto the fabric so it makes it dark.  You cannot get a really dark immersion from procion without the salt.  Keep that in mind. 

Stir stir stir between additions.  You are at most risk of cloudiness/streakiness right after the soda ash is added.  Salt is also one that should be thoroughly stirred in.  Because procion is a cold water dye, that means there is less movement in the water because of lack of heat.  That mean striing is more important for even color.  

So, Dye amount is determined by weight of fabric

Soda ash and salt are determined by the volume of water.  

Make sure to follow your protocol the same as you possibly can for the covers, especially how much time they spend in the bath.  You can often tell the difference between something that is dyed for 30 vs 35 min. 

Your bathtub will be fine.  Even if it is no longer smooth and has lots of scratches on it, you can always remove the dye with something with a little bleach like comet or another cleanser.  Really it will most likely just all wash down the drain.  

Remember the amount of water doesn't really matter as long as the fabric can move freely.  Min water you can use and maintain movement of the fabric is best to get the darkest color.  


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