It can be a bit daunting using Walnut Ink Crystals for the first time so I thought that I would pass on a few hints and tips that I have used myself for successful staining and dying.
The most important thing to remember is that you must be very sparing with your walnut ink crystals as a little goes a long way and you can always add another sprinkle if you want a darker stain.
I recommend that you use very hot water to dissolve them in and don't forget to stir, stir, stir because they can be a little bit slow to dissolve.
If you are using them to stain fabric for that lovely prim look it is very important that you wash the fabric first to get all of the fabric dressing out If you haven't got all of the dressing out of your fabric the results will be very patchy indeed. They don't work very well on synthetic fabrics so you would be advised to use either cotton, musin or linen but please don't use wool as it will shrink when you set your fabric using heat.
If you are staining your fabric before you make up your doll (or whatever it is you are making) then you can just go ahead and dunk the whole lot into the solution. Remember to wear rubber gloves and either an apron or old clothing because they can stain your hands, clothing and just about anything else they come into contact with, so I would advise you to proceed with caution. I use an opened out dustbin bag to protect my worktop and surrounding area.
If you are staining after you have made up your doll then I would recommend that you use either a wide paint brush or sponge to get your stain from mixing pot to doll. Anything that does this is fine, I use an old pastry brush and it works really well and gets into all of those little nooks and crannies.
So, now we have got our fabric or our doll stained so it's time to set the dye. If you are staining a large amount of fabric you can either pop it on the clothes ine to dry or, if you want it a bit quicker it can go on the radiator. I put an old towel underneath my fabric to stop it getting an interesting radiator pattern on. If you are staining a doll or other finished item you can pop it on a baking tray (put foil on your baking tray first) and give it a little while in a very low over, as low as you can get it. If your oven is inclined to overheat I would advise you to leave the door slightly open. I have deliberately not specified a "cooking" me as the best way to get the results you want isto keep an eye on the oven and take it out when it looks "done". If you find it isn't quite the color you want you can always give it another coat of stain and pop it back in the oven for a little longer.
Another way of setting the color, and this is the one that I use most of the time, is with a haidryer. It's quick, easy and gives excellent results. It allows you to build up your color in layers until you get just the finish that you want.
If you are using your crystals to stain paper tags then you will only need a very weak solution. Once again, apply with a paint brush, or, for a stippled effect, a sponge is great. I would advise letting the paper or card dry naturally so that it doesn't get too crinkled. Of course, you can always ron it whn it is dry but put it in betwee some kitchen paper so you don't dye the iron too!!
I hope that you find this guide useful. If you want any more advise or have any questions You can find me at the following link http://stores.ebay.co.uk/EleLou-Primitives