Bleaching and Dying Spey Hackle

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Monk, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. I have been expirementing and am trying to get a really vibrant purple color for a pattern I want to adapt. My purple seems subdued even when it I let it get darker. I am really looking for a striking color that I have seen on a color plate of old spey flies and was hoping someone on here could pass a few tips along that might help get my colors to really pop.

    I was wondering if it had to do with how I was bleaching (with chlorox) neutralized afterwards with baking soda and water. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. :beer1:

    Anyone use anything else to remove the hair from spey hackle?
  2. check your pm.

  3. Monk,

    You could add a little bit (really a sprinkle) of hot pink dye to the purple dye bath, which will give you a very bright, fl. purple similar to the purple Hareline Dubbing has on its feathers.

    You could also go to the pro chemical and dye web site and order their Pro Washfast Dye #817 Brilliant Purple that sells for $7.95 for 2 oz of dye powder, enough to dye about 2 pounds of material
  4. Cool, I'll try that. Thank you both.
  5. I have watched well known expert dyer from Oregon achieve a brilliant purple by a thorough saturation soak with a florescent pink first, followed by a very quick hand dip and rinse of blue. You will have to experiment with the strength of the blue but that is part of the fun.

  6. Cool aid. Thats all I'm going to say.
  7. Although Kool Aid uses as its color producing agent acid dye, which is best for use on protein materials like the feathers, fur, and hair we use in fly tying, it is far more expensive to use than good acid dyes. A 1/2-2 oz jar of good acid dye powder runs from $4.00-$8.00 per jar and since you only need to use 1/4 teaspoon or less to 2 quarts of water (it depends on how much you are dying, an once of material takes 1/4 teaspoon of acid dye powder to dye it), the good acid dyes are far more economical than unsweetened Kool Aid for dying material. Also, the acid dyes come in a lot more colors than unsweetened Kool Aid.

    But if you want to use unsweetened (the sweetened variety has sugar or sweetener added which alters the rate of dye absorbtion and makes it harder to get the color you want), don't forget to put a 1/4 cup or so of white vinegar in the dye bath to make it colorfast, or else the color will start washing out when it gets submersed in water. Also, all feather, fur, and hair dying produces the best color saturation and avoids splotchiness if you get some Synthapol (it runs about $6.00 for 8 oz and can be found at craft stores that sell dyes) and put 1/4 teaspoon or so in the dye bath.

    Kiton, Fly Dye, Wash Fast, and Jacquard's are all readily available acid dyes with very consistent colors. Avoid Veniard's dyes because except for a few colors (kingfisher blue, crimson, hot orange, hot pink, chartreuse, lemon yellow) they are blends of different dye colors which makes it very difficult to get the color you want or to repeat the color. Also, Veniard's dye is more expensive than that from Kiton, Fly Dye, Wash Fast, and Jacquard's.

    Dharma Trading Company (sells Jacquard's), Fly Dye, and Pro Chemical and Dye (Kiton & Wash Fast) all have web sites, have great service, and carry Synthrapol as well as the dyes.
  8. The flies I tied up are the exact color I want to fish with. Im very happy with the color. The packages are roughly 30 cents each and I can dye an entire ostrich feather with it. Which is all I need to tye half a dozen flies
  9. Monk - I have an article about kool-aid dying, I can make a copy for you if you're interested. I've experimented a bit and seen some of the dying that Big K1 has done, and the kool aid method is surprisingly effective.

    However - I'm not sure that it will get you the depth of color you are going for in this case. I agree with the suggestions above re: the hot pink dyebath first.

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