A Guide to Safe Practice in Art & Design

6.4   Textiles

6.4.1    Working with Dyes
6.4.2    Storage, Preparation and Handling of Dyes
6.4.3    Acetic Acid and Solvents
6.4.4    Hot Wax
6.4.5    Mercury Vapour Lamps
 

6.4.1    Working with Dyes

General safety precautions are normally sufficient for work with textiles, but there are potential hazards in the use of some dyes, mordants and other chemicals (see section 7.9). Some dyes are water or oil emulsions and have to be fixed by placing the fabric in a warm oven. Unless the fabric is thoroughly dry, vapour from these dyes can ignite. Care should be taken to ensure that dyes are stored in a cool place. When mixing dye powder, it is sensible to mix a whole packet at a time. Preventing inhalation of dye powder by wearing masks, opening the packet under water or using a glove box is also sensible. Protective gloves should be worn.

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6.4.2    Storage, Preparation and Handling of Dyes

The storage, preparation and handling of dyes, acids and solvents should always be in strict accordance with manufacturers' instructions and legal requirements (see sections 6.3.2 and 6.3.3, section 5.2.7 on storage, and section 7 under Materials).

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6.4.3    Acetic Acid and Solvents

The use of concentrated acetic acid can be avoided by using vinegar instead. Solvents such as methylated spirits carry a fire risk and can be dangerous, especially to the eyes and if swallowed. Dyes requiring boiling water can be hazardous because of the risk of scalding - these should be used only in suitable working conditions.

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6.4.4    Hot Wax

The use of hot wax for various processes can be a serious fire hazard. It should always be heated slowly in a specially designed pan suspended over a larger one partially filled with water. Care should be taken to prevent water getting into the hot wax container. The working surface should be firm and free from obstructions and the pan must be accessible without the user having to lean across other heating devices.

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6.4.5    Mercury Vapour Lamps

Care should be taken to ensure that all proper precautions are taken when using ultra-violet and mercury vapour lamps for exposing screens. It is essential that appropriate eye protection be worn.

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