How to Get Amazing Results With Your GourdMaster™ Ink Dyes!
"e;The Top 10 Ink Dye Tips You Need to Know"e;
***Uses and techniques created in conjunction with Maria Dellos***
Tip #1 -
Best methods for applying Ink Dye:
For small to medium sized gourds and smaller quantities (1-5 gourds at a time), theInk Dye Applicator Cubeis ideal. Just fill the pad with the desired color Ink Dye (about 15 drops, distributed evenly over the surface), then rub in a circular motion on your gourd shell. Wipe off excess using a dry tissue. Although it is not necessary, it is convenient to speed dry your Ink Dye using a Heat Tool (see Tip #3 below for more.)
Be sure to seal, protect and bring out the brilliance in your color usingGourdMaster™ Gourd Varnish, unless you are using Gourd Wax (more info below), which acts as its own sealer and finish.
You may want to store your Applicator Cubes upside down so the ink is always at the top of the pad. Write the color name on the lid using a Sharpie® so you can keep track of your colors. The best part about using the Cubes is, they can be recapped and stored for later use so there is no waste!
For larger gourds and/or larger quantities (20 or more gourds at a time), the small surface of the Ink Dye Applicator Cube can make the process rather time consuming. Instead, use a piece of felt to apply your Ink Dye. You will find the job goes much more quickly!
If you find your Ink Dye is soaking in deeply and it takes a lot of Ink Dye to cover your gourd, you more than likely have a dry gourd shell. Use the "e;Better Than Shoe Polish"e; technique described in Tip #6 below -- you'll LOVE the results!
Tip #2 - How to apply Ink Dye in those small spaces:
The Applicator Cube is idea in most circumstances, but what about small spaces or difficult areas like the neck of a bottle gourd?
A small piece of felt is perfect for these hard-to-reach areas! Felt makes the Ink Dye go on smooth with no streaks. Remember, a little goes a long way. All you need is 2 or 3 drops of ink to cover a large area.
For the area near the stem, use a piece of felt or a Q-tip.
For small, intricate designs, you'll LOVE the Microbrush! Just a pin drop of Ink Dye on the tip of your Microbrush is all you need to cover an extended area of your gourd. Plus, you can re-use yourMicrobrushesagain and again!
Simply wipe the tip of the brush on a damp cloth or baby wipe. (Do not try to clean it with a pulling action as the tip may dislodge from the handle). The Microbursh is currently one of the top 5 selling items!
Tip #3 - Spend time creating, not waiting for Ink Dye to dry!
Drying time for Ink Dyes:
For those accustomed to working with leather dye, please do not try to work with the Ink Dye as if it were the same product! They have different characteristics so therefore, a different approach is necessary.
One of the reasons the new GourdMaster™ Ink Dyes are so popular is because they have no alcohol, they will not fade, and the colors do not streak when you apply them!
If you are accustomed to working with leather dye, you will need to change your approach slightly for applying Ink Dye. Unlike leather dye, which dries very quickly (one of the reasons for the streaking problem), Ink Dye has a longer drying time.
We recommend using a heat tool to speed up your drying time. A short 15-20 second blast with aProfessional Heat Toolis all you need to dry an area of Ink Dye.
You can proceed to your next step right away rather than having to wait 20 minutes or more for air dry! (Time for air dry varies depending on climate and the consistency of your gourd shell.)
If you find the wet Ink Dye is coming off on your hands, simply apply it one section at a time, using your heat tool in between.
Using a heat tool also means you are “heat setting” the Ink Dye. Although it is not necessary to heat set the color, it will increase the durability and make it easier to layer other products like theGourdMaster™ Pigment Powdersover the Ink Dye.
A professional quality heat tool is designed for extended use and is high powered, which means shorter drying times than a cheaper model. You save money in the long run because you save time on your projects, plus your tool will last many years.
Try this: Apply your Ink Dye in a circular motion to an area on your gourd and heat set with your heat tool. With the same ink in a circular motion, continue coloring where you left off. Touch lightly with a dry tissue to blend.
Result: No lines or streak marks! (It is best to apply color in a circular motion to prevent a start and stop line.) Pictured right, all 16 colors of GourdMaster™ Ink Dyes, Cherry Red, Blue Green, Artprint Brown, Barn Red, Violet, Pinetree Green, Brown, Port Red, Lavender, Olive, Chestnut, Crimson Red, Mango, Ochre, and Sepia.
Keep in mind, the performance of any product varies with the properties of your gourd shell. For gourds with very dense shells, such as apple gourds, you may want to try sanding the surface first with a very, very fine grit sand paper so that it “takes” the color more easily.
Tip #4 - How to blend your Ink Dyes on your gourd:
Laura Cunningham created this beautiful gourd (pictured left) by blending Olive, Crimson Red, and Art Print Brown Ink Dyes together for a desert sunset effect!
Here's how to get yourInk Dyesto blend easily into one another on the surface of your gourd:
Apply your Ink Dye with anApplicator Cube, a piece of felt, or a cotton swab, then apply thesecond color next to the first color. Drag the colors together into each other as you apply them.
If the colors go on very wet, use a dry piece of felt to drag the colors. For smaller areas, use a clean cotton swab.
Pictured right, leaf design by Mary Segreto using two Ink Dyes blended together.
"e;I have been experimenting with the new ink dyes and am very pleased with the results! They blend beautifully with such dramatic effects, I plan to use them in my Gourd Leaf Bowl class. ...the dyes translucent like leather dyes, streak free, and easy to use, as promised"e; -Mary Segreto, artist and instructor
Tip #5 - Blending Ink Dyes on dry or very porous gourds:
If your colors are not dragging easily, it means the shell of the gourd you are working with is either very porous or just dry from weathering. Unfortunately the dragging technique mentioned above does not work very well on these gourds. Here's how to fix it!
Simply apply a coat ofGourdMaster™ Gourd Waxbefore beginning your Ink Dye application.
Gourd Wax is a special, professional quality, lightweight wax designed specifically for use in conjunction with the Ink Dyes and other GourdMaster™ products. It provides a very professional finish without bleeding or altering the colors.
You can see the incredible difference Gourd Wax has on just plain gourds!
Pictured above right, Gourd Wax has been applied to the left side only of this plain gourd (no Ink Dye or color added)..
Pictured left, 2 sun bleached gourds, the bottom one has been treated withGourd Waxand the top one has not.
Tip #6 - Better than Shoe Polish(another great solution for dry or porous gourds!):
Have you ever tried using shoe polish on gourds? You generally end up with a thick, goopy mess that smears on your gourd without soaking in very well. The quality and intensity of the color leaves much to be desired, and the low quality of the wax products (not to mention the toxicity of many of the products in shoe polish) gives disappointing results.
Now you can create an art grade product WAY better than shoe polish that takes to the gourd shell smoothly and evenly with riche color and no staining of clothes and fingers! Simply mix 1 tsp. ofGourd Wax(pictured right) and 10 drops of InkDye to create a gorgeous wax paste of your color choice that goes on smoothly and can be buffed to give you a final finish.
It will not fade, and the wax penetrates below the surface of the gourd, protecting it and sealing it. (Best applied using a piece of felt.) You control the shade by using more or less Ink Dye, and best of all, you can select from the whole line of Ink Dye colors!
This "e;Better than Shoe Polish"e; mix is also another perfect solution for dry or porous shelled gourds.
These gourds can soak up your Ink Dye quickly, creating a deeper stain than you may have wanted. With the "e;better than shoe polish"e; mix, you have complete control of the density of color being applied. Use less drops of Ink Dye for lighter color and more drops of Ink Dye for deeper color. Try a mix of 1 tsp. to 5 drops Ink Dye to start, and apply using a piece of felt.
Pictured above and right, gourd with "e;better than shoe polish,"e; made usingGourdMaster™ Gourd WaxandGourdMaster™ Chestnut Ink Dye.
Tip #7 - How to “lighten” the color of your Ink Dye:
The easiest way to achieve a lighter color is to mix it into the Gourd Wax as described in the "e;Better Than Shoe Polish"e; method above. However, if you are applying a varnish over the top, you will want to avoid the use of Gourd Wax or a Gourd Wax mix underneath, as it may cause your varnish to flake or peel off. An alternative way to lighten your color is to apply your Ink Dye, then immediately wipe the area with a soft cloth or facial tissue.
Tip #8 - How to "e;lighten"e; the color on dry or porous gourds:
As mentioned above, gourds that are dry or extremely porous will soak up the Ink Dye more quickly, often turning the color very dark and unappealing.
The “wipe off” method for lightening the color does not work as well on these gourds. Here is how to fix it! Simply apply a light coat of GourdMaster™ Gourd Wax to the surface of your gourd first. Rub the wax in with a piece of felt, then apply your Ink Dye right over the top of the wax.
With the base coat of Gourd Wax, the Ink Dye will not soak in so quickly so you have much more flexibility with the color!
You can wipe off to achieve a lighter color, or blend colors with ease.
Pictured above left, blue Ink Dye applied (1) straight to unwaxed gourd, (2) applied to unwaxed gourd then immediately wiped with tissue, (3) wax applied first, then Ink Dye on top and immediately wiped with tissue.
Tip #9 - How to dilute your Ink Dye:
Although Ink Dye is water based, its specific chemical make-up does not allow for dilution with water. If you would like to dilute your Ink Dye, please use extender. Extender is used with paints and can be found in the artist department of any craft store.
Tip #10 - How to keep your Ink Dye colors from turning dark when applied on the inside, the rim, or a carved surface of your gourd:
If you have ever tried applying any kind of dye to a carved area of your gourd, to the inside of the gourd, or any area where the porous surface is exposed, you have seen how the color soaks in and turns very dark, almost black.
Here’s how to keep your Ink Dye color vibrant on the porous surface! In a separate mixing cup, mix a tablespoon ofGourdMaster™ Gourd Varnishwith about 10 drops of Ink Dye.
You can add as much dye as needed to create your desired depth of color. Stir thoroughly and apply with a paintbrush. This dries very quickly but you may speed dry with your heat tool.
As seen in the photo, left, Red Crimson Ink Dye applied directly to the rim of a gourd bowl (left side) turns dark, but when mixed with Gourd Varnish it stays bright and vibrant (right side).
Pictured right, Ink Dye mixed with Varnish being applied to the back side (inside surface of gourd) of a gourd pin.
Not only does the Ink Dye retain its rich color on the porous surface, because it is mixed with the Gourd Varnish it forms a hard, durable surface resistant to chipping and peeling.
For best results on inside of gourd, recommend sanding first to create a smooth surface.
GourdMaster™ Productsmix and match very well with each other so don’t be afraid to explore on your own. For more great tips and ideas for GourdMaster™ Ink Dyes and other products, see the line of DVD's available featuring the use ofGourdMaster™ Products--click here!