Could be subtitled…
Breaking Bad with Beads
Recently, I had a customer contact me wanting to know if I knew how to color/stain/dye Job’s Tears (Vaijanti).
“I’ve been trying to figure this out for some time now…googled EVERYTHING and all I find is statements that they can be dyed with wood stain (nothing has worked yet). I’m thinking perhaps they need some type of prep prior to staining? I’ve bought stained/dyed seeds (mostly through thrift stores).
I prefer to use eco-friendly stains for many reasons, including the fact that students with special needs in my community will be helping with projects.”
As soon as I read her request, I knew I had to come up with something to help her, help her community! And the chemist in me loves a good challenge like this, and as luck would have it, my kitchen was already stocked with all the necessary chemicals from a previous customer’s challenge.
Here’s what you need in your kitchen to dye Job’s Tears:
For the Solution:
- Bottled, preferably distilled, water
- Salt, common table variety
- Soda Ash
For the Dye Paste:
- Bottle, preferably distilled, water
- Reactive dye, color of your choice
Both the soda ash and the reactive dye color can be purchased online at Dharma Trading Co. I’m sure you can get them somewhere else, but that’s the only place I have ever bought from when in the States. When I buy in India, I have so many to choose from – all my colors come from Tilak Bazaar in Old Delhi (love that place!)
You’ll also need a sauce pan, small electronic measuring scale, stove, at the very least.
Add the beads and bring to boil. Simmer the beads in the soda ash/salt solution for three minutes.
This step kinda reminds me of applying heat to hair to open up the cuticle. But don’t cook too long, or the seed might be destroyed.
While the seeds are simmering, mix the dye paste:
For this experiment, I used 1 tbsp of
I took the seeds out after various times and checked the color of the dye.
The best time was after 20 minutes of soaking in the dye paste.
After testing the various times with the dye paste, I add 1/2 cup of the heated (50 degrees C.) solution to the dye paste, mixed well, and place some untreated, room temperature beads into the mixture of dye paste and heated soda ash/salt solution. After 20 minutes, there was very little color change.
- The best way to dye Job’s Tears that we found was to heat them first in a solution of
soda ash and salt.
- Then add the beads to a prepared reactive dye paste and leave for 20 minutes.
- The seed color is fast, doesn’t rub off. Although it is not uniform, it takes on the characteristics of the underlaying Job’s Tears seed.
- The integrity of the seed is still intact.
- Different color dyes will react differently.
- Long term effects on the beads?
Have you ever tried coloring Job’s Tears? What were your results? Would love to hear about your breaking bad with beads/seeds!