Sodium Alginate is a pure type of dried, ground kelp (seaweed) - it's commonly used to thicken food. It is the most economical thickener for Dyes of all types and it works as a thickener for other liquids as well. Use whenever you want to use dyes more like a paint. You can then brush the dyes on and they will stay put. Also use for stamping, stenciling or silk screening the dyes. Dyes are more work than Paint to use in these methods, but the reward is, they leave absolutely no feel on the fabric the way paints can. You can also add a pinch to your dye mix for tie-dye to make the dye stay put rather than bleeding through the fabric. This is used to get more control over the tie-dye patterns, for crisper lines, etc. You can thicken dyes enough to print, silk screen or stencil with too.
Sprinkle the thickener into the chemical water or liquid dye slowly, mixing continuously. (You can also use a blender - add the alginate very gradually through the top with the blender going). Let sit for at least an hour or two, as it will continue to thicken before use. Refrigerate to store. Don't over-thicken, thinner is better. For paint-like consistencies, use ~1 - 4 tsp / quart water, depending on how thick you need it. For tie-dye use ~1/8 -1/2 tsp per 8 oz bottle of dye to slow or stop bleeding. Experiment, because each situation can be unique.
We have two kinds: High viscosity, low solids for cotton (HV), and Low viscosity, high solids for silk (LV). The silk one allows you to draw finer lines but requires you to use more. You can use them interchangeably. Specify which one you prefer. High viscosity gets thicker than Low.
*Warning! - occasionally hard or impossible to remove from silk if steamed
*Store in a cool, dry place for best shelf life! Heat and humidity can cause it to go bad as it is an organic product.
Not recommended for thickening Paints. This is an organic product, and paints are composed of synthetic compounds.