Thursday, 10 January 2013

Makie "Skin Dyeing" Experiments

My "Bag of Scraps" arrived yesterday morning, so I got busy making some dye baths and testing a few ideas I had... I have a few more ideas I still want to try out on this skin, so that when I get a Makie I will not have any "mishaps" when it comes to doing the "Face Up" or any other customisations I get the urge to do, for the purpose of this post, I've restricted the "Experiments" to "Skin Dyeing" as this seemed to be the main thing that most "Makie Parents" wanted to know about in the forum.

Makies - Bag Of Scraps
I Posted my results as well as some tips on the Makie Forum , On  09- 01 - 2013) for the benefit of other users,  But I think it's also worth my keeping a record of them here as when the time does come for me to "Adopt a Made Real Makie of my own" I'll be able to refer to them easier, also they may be of benefit for other's who do not use the forum often or whatever...

Firstly, I have to say how impressed I was by the Makie skin, it feels just like porcelain, I was expecting a more rough possibly even bumpy finish from what I had seen in some of the photos on the MakieLab Blog (see my last Makie post - Head with Ardunio Lilypad inside, if you don't know what I mean; link here: Makies Dolls by MakieLabs, London ) also, I did a bit of research while I was waiting for the Scraps to arrive, and I couldn't help being worried for some of the other members when I (mis) read (it turned out) that Dying  SLS Nylon in Tea can lead to brittleness, as there had been several experiments with this medium as a dyeing aid posted in the forum, so I posted a "Word of Warning", turns out I was completely wrong to be worried however, due to my misreading, I say misreading, but what I'd really done is either not noticed or not taken in a couple of works that made all the difference, duh!

 Anyhoo, I'm very contrite especially since SULKA HARO (CDO) from MakieLabs, replied in the forum with this: "Tea dyeing SLS Nylon is most definitely possible, and at least so far we've not seen any adverse effects on durability. Note that nylon is plastic - it's a branding DuPont users for certain polyamides. Objet is a type of a printer. They use a proprietary material for the prints, where it's entirely possible that tea causes brittleness."

Bag Of Scraps Contents

I just hated the idea of all those cute little Makies turning pretty shades of brown, getting new face ups then one day snapping somewhere, but typical me, worrying over nothing and of course I've also began to digress again!                                    

 Back to the "Skin" in the "Bag of Scraps", I'm a big kid I guess that's pretty obvious from the fact I collect toys and dolls in particular, and I've always had this weird problem when I get hold of anything that feels like it might be ceramic, I can't help putting it in my mouth!

- Not in the same way a child does, but in a check for porosity type way, it's not only dolls I do this too, I did it all the time in Ceramics Lectures in College too, to check on firings etc - Anyway, the weird thing about this "Skin" was it felt like porcelain too!

 I had expected it to be more not pitted exactly but definitely rougher, bumpy even, and perhaps needing a light sand down, but no, it's stunning and as smooth as a baby!!

But finally after all that preamble, I better hurry up and get to the "Experiments", so here goes:


RIT Dye Experiments - Take 1

Colour achieved by mixing Rose Petal Pink with Peach in powder form prior to adding water, as this is the same way I recolour sun faded or “ghost” plastic doll heads.

I expected the colour tone to come out completely different due to the difference between SLS Nylon and Sindy / Barbie Vinyl, although is didn't hold true at all, it was identical!?!

Long limb (Leg)  was placed in a bath of  dye mix and just boiled from  kettle water and stirred constantly for 3 minutes.

**The limbs were dyed a darker shade than is "natural" this is because, I dye all my heads etc, a darker shade than I wish them to be as RIT Dyed dolls tend to fade slightly over the following weeks / months, again, my knowledge of this is Vinyl based only, so it will be a good lesson to see how this transfers to Makie Skin over time!**


Rit Dye Experiment  Take 2

Limb (again a leg was used) this time I  placed  it in a cooler, weaker dye bath (added cold water to dye bath, after it had been left approx 5 minutes since kettle had boiled) and stirred constantly for 1 and a half minutes.

The colour obtained on the second leg is shown on the right of pictures 1 and 2 and on the left in picture 3.


Rit Dye Experiment  Take 3

This time I used a Liquid Rit Dye in Tan and the “Stove Method” - again the limb was in the bath for no longer than 3 minutes and again it was stirred constantly, before being removed from heat, then dye - this is shown on the left of each picture.

The Arm section (smaller limb on right of each picture), was placed in a weaker solution of the same dye, although this time it was not subjected to the “Stove Method” but a watered down (cold water) removed from heat, bath with the same dye and again, it was submerged for 1 and a half minutes and stirred constantly.

In picture 3 you can see the difference in shades between the Tan and Pink dyes - I'll be uploading a picture of all the dyed parts as a collective in a few minutes…


Rit Dye Experiment  Take 4.

This time, I went back to using  powdered  Rit Dye, this time in Cocoa Brown Chocolate (I love this colour!).

I dyed the leg first using the "Worktop Method" and soaked it for 3 minutes, stirring constantly - (Larger limb on right in picture 1 and left in picture 2).

The Arm piece was soaked, again in a weaker, colder dye solution for 1 and a half minutes, again stirring constantly - this is shown on the left of picture 1, left and right of picture 2.


As promised, Here they all are together, so you can see the differences between soak times, and dye shades obtained from weaker and stronger dye baths.


Makie " Spray Dye" Experiment  Take 5 (But also 1!)

And lastly, I thought I'd give spraying a go, to see how well this adheres to the Makie's "Skin", as I had some Acrylic based spray paint I bought to use on another doll and it seemed a great way to find out if the colour is the right shade I had in mind for her and also, to see how well it works on Makie Skin.

 I only sprayed one side as I had an idea I'd like to try something else at a later date with this piece and I only gave it one coat as I wanted to see just how well it would be absorbed, and I didn't think this would be possible if the entire piece was coated.

It looks hideous!!

But on the plus side, I have discovered that Acrylic based spray paints work really well on SLS Nylon, not mine though, as I didn't build up the layers like I normally would or use my directional nozzle for the spray and the colour is pretty ugly too, which certainly didn't help!


Points to note:

 1) For the “secondary dyes” that I did of each colour, the temperature was lower, the first and darker dye baths were “straight from kettle” but for the secondary ones, it was around 5 minutes later and I added cold water to the dye bath, so the Temperature would have been significantly less.

2) The colour is very similar though, only a hue or so difference... but I'll have more colour information on these parts to share in about a week when the dye has time to fade - if it does on Makies Skin!!

3) Poklfil (Another Forum Member and Makie Parent ) informs me that, "The problem Makie lab have found with any heating method is the Nylon parts shrink a bit which means parts may not fit all back together!"

4) Personally, I think this is due to the water temperature (and not an issue with prolonged submersion for example), as I've discovered from looking at other companies that use SLS Nylon for 3D printing, that they keep the dye bath temperature to around 90 Degrees. While I'm not 100% as to how hot the water in my kettle is when boiled but I think it may be slightly under this temperature, if so, the “Worktop Method” of dying shouldn't cause much of a shrinkage effect, and there is even less chance of this if the dye bath is made with boiling water, to dissolve the dye, and then topped up with cold or cooler water when the doll parts are added.
I was worried about the “Stove Method” though, so if dying by Rit, I would recommend using it in it's powered form and not the liquid variety, also, I would make sure it is well dissolved before adding doll parts, otherwise small particles of dye will stick to the “skin” and make the doll look like it has a few varicose veins!

** I wonder ... **  Another Forum User (sadly I can't find the post now or remember who!),  told me that over time the joints tend to grind down slightly, so perhaps a dye bath leading to slight shrink, would actually solve this issue?

After all, the problem with the parts fitting back together is that the doll is is pieces  but if it was dyed whole, with the head  only removed, the joints would then contract slightly and perhaps counteract this "wear and tear"? ***

5) Rit is the dye most customisers use to dye plastic as it gives very good coverage, and is relatively cheap also, seeing as you only need a small amount for one doll!

6) I have read that Acid dye is a good dye for dyeing Nylon fur ans well as real fur, so this is worth noting, if you're a wig maker, or are planning to try it.

7)  Spray paint would also work to colour limbs and face of a Makie doll as well as Vinyl dolls, but only if you're 100% sure you want her that colour for ever, because it's next to impossible to remove without a hell of a lot of sanding and serious amounts of chemicals.

8) For a more “Human tone” - I'd go with the Rit, it should work out if you leave it to cool slightly after making it up, then place the parts inside… And add the cold water after stirring it, then continue stirring in a    cold bath.

** I think the thing with it is, it needs the heat to dissolve the powder, but once dissolved the temperature only has an effect of speeding up the dying time, so there is no reason why you couldn't dye parts “cold” although the temperature may in factor in intensity of colour, this seems especially the case when the object being dyed is a type of plastic, fabric however responds well to cold dye baths, which is why I used all my baths today on tie dying 2 tops and they turned out pretty good! ***

9) Personally, I think the best way to get an even "human type skin tone" would be really to add dye while the SLS Nylon is in it's “Powdered form” however, this may not be cost effective and also, I have no idea how easy that would be or whether they'd need different machines to do it.

10) Poklfil suggested several links to various articles and blogs which deal with dyeing SLS Nylon... after looking at them, I was  pleased to note someone else has had the idea of Acrylic Spray Paint, so it's good to know that this won't damage the “skin” in any way...

11) Another experiment I will be conducting soon, is to try to remove it soon, which is another reason for my only giving the Makie leg one coat!

12) Another of the links given to me by Poklfil used  the same process I used for all but the liquid Rit as it only had instructions for washing machine and stove so I didn't know if it would work if used with kettle boiled water only (Most likely it would, but I only had one chance to try, so I went for the safe option and used it as per the instructions) -  As I've only used powdered Rit before, but as I'd been given this to dye a doll's body I bought from an online friend, it made sense to finally try this dye, when I had an excuse!

**However, I am not sure if the plastic dyed is the same type of 3D Printed Nylon as is used for Makie Dolls... The end product looks like the Makie skin did in the pictures I saw on the MakieLabs Blog,(prototypes possibly?) but no where near as smooth as the bits I received, so I'm a bit confused  **

13) In a week or two, once I have found out if fading occurs on the pieces I've dyed, I'm going to try removing the dye… that should be fun!!

14) Another way to dye plastic and Nylon Fur wigs/ Barbie type Doll Hair, is to place the item in a solution of watered down Acrylic Ink - this will however, produce a much lighter shade than the "neat" Ink does

15) I've been doing some figuring out, and I know now why Warhammer paints are giving a much better effect and coverage than the acrylic ( presumably neat? / straight from tube/pot etc) on the Makie Skin, so I can definitely see why everyone seems to love using them (me included), this is obviously due to this type of paint already being premixed with water! - I can't believe I didn't think of that before!

I can't help wondering how many pots it would take to do a whole doll though, or how much this would cost!

 I think in future I should confine all my experiments to my blog pages instead and just provide a link back to them in the Forum if requested, although at present I'm not totally sure I'll be using that section of the site for much longer.

Anyhoo, I hope at least some of this may be of use to someone reading it, any questions or comments, please let me know, and I'll do my best to answer them!