Brushes, ink, pigment, and paper are the primary materials used to produce Chinese paintings. Ink used in Chinese painting is carbon based and was originally extracted from pine soot. Because Chinese ink was originally painted on silk fabric and can last for thousands years, the researcher/designer assumed that Chinese ink could be a natural dyestuff for submersion dyeing and silk painting medium. 


This study investigated the feasibility of Chinese ink for submersion dyeing 100% cotton and 100% silk fabrics and hand painting on silk organza and silk charmeuse via color analysis and colorfastness testing due to its natural and biodegradable properties. The result from the color fastness tests indicated that the color strength and the hue (K/S values) increased as a function of increasing salt concentrations from 10% to 20% of the weight of dry fabric for both cotton and silk. As a result the deterioration in change of color in the wash fastness tests was observed at high salt concentrations for all four types of fabrics. The results from the hand-painting tests demonstrated that both silk organza and silk charmeuse had excellent color fastness to light. Hand-painted silk organza samples showed no color different by hand laundering testing at low temperature. This background research provides valuable information and confidence in the use of Chinese inks in the creation of the textile and wearable arts.

Equipments for the submersion dye
weight the salt
heat up the dye bath
cool down the dye bath
leave the dye bath over night
air dry the samples over night
prepare wash fastness test
wash fastness test

Submersion Dye

hand paint swatches
hand paint three times
blow dry the swatches
prepare for steaming
cover by foil paper
steam the swatches
wash the fabric with white vinegar
air dry the swatches
wash fastness test

Silk Painting