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I bought a kit of 12 colors of leather dye and used some on a gourd I was working on and it didn't react like I thought it would. The white was "thick" and dried before I could paint the flower petal all the and it wasn't transparent, it was chalky. Have I bought the wrong thing? I'm wondering if I should have gotten ink dyes. I guess I need a coloring class!!

 

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Linda, that's the way the white is. I did the same as you when I started and bought the white. Never used it since. And, from my experience, leather dyes fade. I had one that I did for my mother in law and it never saw sunlight. She didn't open her drapes ever. When we moved her here where we live, and she put it out on a table, it was very, very faded. I had used the alcohol dye technique on it, so the dyes were put on heavy. It now has a very unusual finish. :=) My suggestion is to use them for practice and then change to TransTint wood dyes, or memory inks for the transparent look.
The problem is that there is no such thing as white dye...in the world of dyes white is the absence of color. I simple use acrylic when I want white.
Very true about white! Besides acrylic, you can also use colored pencils with a fixatif coating, Oil or watercolor pastels or pencils with a fixatif coating, absorbent ground (a gesso-like product). But they will all be opaque not transparent. I don't know of a transparent white product? But you can try a wash of any of the above instead of using the products as is.
Just remembered...there IS a transparent white on the market. It's by Minwax and is called Pickling White. It's actually a wood stain and comes in the little cans. You can see wood grain thru it so no doubt you can also see the gourd mottling if that's what you're going for.
I use white acrylic thinned with a medium or oil paint with a medium. You can get a little bit of translucency with either.
Bonnie, Judy, and Lynda,
Thank you for your replies. It helps everywhere except in my wallet. The dye kit and extra white dye was a lot to have spent to have learned a lesson. I sure should have (I hate those 2 words) asked before buying!!! I like to woodburn and "paint" dogwood so need a white. I'll try the Minwax, thanks Bonnie. Do you think TransTint Wood Dyes are available locally, or do I have to order them over the computer. Are there any special things I need to know to use them, special clean up, don't get it on your skin etc.? As I'm finding out there aren't instructions for use on gourds with many of the supplies we use. I have had a number of "happy accidents" but more frustrations with trying to figure things out. All in the learning process, I guess.
Linda, the TransTint dyes come in a concentrate form. I buy the liquid. They are expensive up front, but in the long run are cheaper than leather dyes. You want to dilute them with Denatured alcohol for best results and lightfastness. I use a 16 oz plastic bottle to mix in. I use 1/4 to 1/3 of the bottle of dye and then fill the rest of the bottle with the denatured alcohol. I use the 1/3 ratio for all the warm colors. Of course, if you want a stronger color, use a little more. But, for most uses, this formula works just fine. Clean your brush with the denatured alcohol and then soap and water. Make sure you have good ventilation. Seal with a lacquer spray like Deft, my favorite. Be sure and don't let water get on your work before you seal it. The water will cause it to spot or run. But, after sealing, it's just fine. I spray several coats with lightly rubbing with 0000 Steel wool between coats. Hope this helps.
Just paint thinner to clean up after Pickling White. Same rules for cautions as with any oil based product. Judy will know all about Trans-Tint dyes. She works with them a lot, teaches and sells them as well.

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