guest blogger: lynda heines & color magnet tutorial | Smudged Design Studio

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guest blogger: lynda heines & color magnet tutorial

I’m super excited to kick off my monthly Guest Blogging series with a tutorial by the fabulous Lynda Heines of Bloom, Bake & Create. She’s written a wonderful tutorial on how to use Jacquard’s Color Magnet – hope you enjoy it! ~ Lynn

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Materials used in this tutorial:

* Jacquard’s Color Magnet

* Procion MX dyes

* PFD fabric

* thermofax screens

* plastic scraper

* ziploc bags


 Hi! Lynda from Bloombakecreate here. I love experimenting with different products to add to my surface design toolbox. Recently I started playing with Jacquard Color Magnet, a dye attractant for screen printing, stenciling and stamping.

I think I’m in love! I love bargains – you know – the two for one or buy one get one free? With Color Magnet, you get tone-on-tone fabric using only one dye. What a deal!

color magnet


The product works exactly opposite of a resist. Instead of leaving the original fabric color under the design untouched, Color Magnet attracts more color to it. Color Magnet only works with immersion dyeing, it will not work with paints.

I used fiber reactive dyes for this tutorial. When working with these dyes, you can either prep the fabric with soda ash and allow it to dry, or add the soda ash to the dye solution. The dye process I describe here uses this method. However, you can also use Jacquard iDye, which does not involve using soda ash and can be used in the washing machine.

I also recommend using PFD fabric – this is fabric that is Prepared for Dyeing. That means there isn’t anything on the fabric that will interfere with the dye absorption. I worked with fat quarters (18″ x 24″ pieces of fabric) ad pinned them to a padded surface to make printing on them easier:

work surface


Since I’m working with Thermofax screens (or even when I’m working with stencils), I have a pan of water nearby to place them in after use until I’m ready to wash them out in the sink. This is important because this solution is hard to remove from the screens if it’s left to dry on them.

Begin by pouring solution on the screen. Don’t worry that Color Magnet has a yellow color to it, this does not affect your dye color at all. The yellow color helps you see the design on the fabric as you are applying it:



Then pull the Color Magnet over the screen to make a print:



Now we need to wait until it dries. You can dry it quickly with a heat gun or hair dryer but I chose to let it air dry overnight. Here is what my printed design looked like before it headed off to the dye bath:



Once it’s dry, it’s time to dye! The key to having strong contrast between the design you printed with the Color Magnet and the base fabric is to make sure the dye solution is diluted. It also helps to understand how certain dye colors work.

For example, blue (or any color that includes blue) reacts slowly. So they won’t spend all of their strength dyeing the substrate or the base fabric and will be attracted to the Color Magnet design. Reds, on the other hand, are notorious for acting fast and as Jane Dunnewold says, “they’re like the bullies on the playground.” They will dye the base before making it to the design, so the whole fabric with be dark with little contrast.

For my examples, I mixed up 1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of dye per 2 cups of water. I put the fabric and dye solution into Ziploc bags and let them batch for six hours:



After the six hours, I rinsed them in cool water until the water ran clear, washed them in hot water in the washing machine, and dried in the dryer.

These pieces show the difference in contrast according to the differing amounts of dye per two cups of water:



The one on the left using 1 teaspoon of Procion MX 040 Fuschia dye per two cups of water is dark. It’s still pretty, but I wanted more contrast. As you can see, the less dye I used, the more contrast was created between the base fabric and the image printed with Color Magnet. The 1/4 teaspoon produced the lightest base fabric but the higher contrast and that’s the look I wanted to achieve.

Here is another comparison using Procion Strong Orange 202:



With this dye color, the design printed with Color Magnet is barely visible when I used 1 teaspoon of dye. But again, the 1/4 teaspoon of dye per two cups gave me the best contrast results.

Here are three pieces using my Thermofax screen “Sun Spiral” and Lynn’s Thermofax screens “Stone Totem” and “Circle Sprite” with three different dye colors (Pro Golden Yellow #104, Pro Turquoise #410 and Pro Strong Orange 202) with the dye amounts listed on each:



I had a lot of fun working with Jacquard’s Color Magnet and I hope you enjoyed the tutorial – be sure to give it a try! I can see lots of Color Magnet in my future dyeing sessions! 🙂

About Lynda:


Lynda Heines is a Southern Indiana writer and surface design artist. Her love for surface design emerged while writing her “Telling Your Story” newspaper column about local artists. She was so inspired by their work that she decided she wanted to spend more time creating, especially working with fabric, dyes and paints.

Through her experiments, she discovered dyeing with ice cubes which lead to that process being published in Quilting Arts magazine. But her artistic life is not all about playing with ice, she also loves working with other fabric surface design techniques including sun printing, resists, gelatin plate printing and marbling.

Lynda, her husband Dave and two kitties live on a couple of acres they call “Happy Acres.” Between playing with fabric and other art, Lynda helps with their large garden and fruit orchard. They also make soaps and lotions, freeze and air dry their harvests, and there is usually always some fresh baked bread in the kitchen.

Lynda’s artistic endeavors can be followed at and she can be contacted at

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Many thanks to Lynda for such a complete tutorial – I can’t wait to give it a shot! If you are interested in Guest Blogging for Smudged, please send me an email at for more info.

Thanks for joining us! ~ Lynn

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14 Responses to guest blogger: lynda heines & color magnet tutorial

  1. Robbie Payne October 1, 2013 at 7:14 am #

    What a great post! Explanation if process & product were spot on! I have “got to get me some”!

  2. Ellen October 1, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    Great tutorial, love the effects. I see play days in my future.

  3. Lisa Chin October 1, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    Thanks for the great post Lynda & Lynn! It is great to know that the less dye I use the more contrast I will get! That makes it an even better deal and I am right there with you in loving the deals! Thanks!

  4. Marsha October 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    This is very cool! Great tutorial…

  5. upstatelisa October 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    that is so cool!! thanks!

  6. Diane Seamans October 1, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Thanks for the tutorial, very well done Lynda!
    I will be playing with this product soon!!

    • Lynda October 7, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

      Diane, I look forward to seeing what you do with Color Magnet!

  7. Jeannie October 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    Thanks for the great tutorial Lynn & Lynda! I love Color Magnet. I tried it a little bit this year and was in love with the results. I even used it on cloth that I put in an indigo vat. Thanks for always making me want to get out the creating supplies when I should be getting ready for bed. 🙂

    • Lynda October 7, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

      Jeannie, Indigo dye? Wow! What a great idea. Guess I need to try that too! Thanks for the idea.

  8. Wendy October 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    Is it possible to use squeeze bottles, use a tray dyeing technique, and get multicolored fabric?

    • Lynda October 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

      Wendy, I don’t see why you couldn’t use squeeze bottles with different dyes to produce a multicolored fabric. As long as the dyes are on the fabric for several hours, it should work. However, I’ve not tried that. A great idea!! Let me know if you try it and what your results are. Thanks for commenting.

  9. judi November 20, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    Thank you for detailed information!!! Cannot wait t o try it. You saved all of us so much time and supplies with your info. <3 judi


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