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Author Topic: fabric dye and kites?  (Read 512 times)
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underthewind
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« on: June 20, 2014, 07:41 PM »

I saw where somebody used sharpies on a kite and it looked really good.
Does fabric dye work on kite fabric?
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fidelio
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2014, 11:47 AM »

so you don't go without an answer, here are a couple of thoughts, but i have not personally tried it, so someone else may have different information, and i would welcome them to share their experience.

fabric dye would likely have some effect, but not likely your intended effect.
most kite fabric is made from oil based synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester. these fibers are what's called hydrophobic, meaning they don't absorb water. water can sit on them, or get between the fibers, but the water doesn't penetrate the fibers themselves.

so you could distribute a fabric dye in a solution of water into the spaces between the fibers in a kite fabric. as the water dried it would leave the dye behind, but since the dye was in the water, which is unable to penetrate the fibers, the dye would just be a residue on the surface of the fibers.

sharpies on the other hand, are an ink which adheres to the surface of the fibers without a need to penetrate them.

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Fdeli
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2014, 12:43 PM »

Their are some older post on kitebuild.com forum about tye dye, but as Fidelio said not an easy process.
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underthewind
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2014, 04:10 PM »

Thank you,
 I didn't think we would get that lucky.
How well do the sharpies hold up ?
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etully
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2014, 12:31 PM »

There is an article on the very subject of dyeing kite fabric in the current issue of the AKA magazine. Wink
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nckiter
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2014, 01:32 PM »

If you are talking about dyeing ripstop nylon to build a kite with, it is a fairly simple, straightforward process, but it can be messy. Jacquard acid dyes (just vinegar) or the iPoly dyes both do quite well when dyeing small pieces up to a few yards. You will get some wrinkles but some or most can be ironed out if ironed before letting the fabric dry after dyeing and rinsing. Both dyes have web sites with good instructions.

If you are talking about dyeing a kite that is already built another color, it is a possibility but the results may not be what you had in mind. For a ready made kite, I would stick to the sharpies or the Design Master spray paint like Scott Hampton uses.
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