Bespoke Sequins

Sequins coloured with alcohol inks by artist Nicky Perryman

Colouring Sequins

I have been trying out ways to colour sequins because sometimes it's hard to find the colour you really need or you just want more subtlety of shading. I bought a few alcohol inks to try out; they are Tim Holz Adirondack alcohol inks. I bought some metallic ones too but I didn't like these as much as the plain colour ones. The inks are intense...a little goes a long way and they are very hard to control in their application. They move very quickly, being very thin and watery in consistency. They are easier to apply by dropping and pouring rather than brushing them on. I found brushing didn't really do an awful lot. For smaller sequins I created little pools of ink in the shallow wells of a paint palette and simply dropped the sequins in there. Most of the time the ink dried off quickly and left a small pile of re-coloured sequins. They stuck together a bit and I had to spread them apart and lay them out to dry properly on some kitchen towel. The larger sequins were easier to deal with and I just loved playing around by dropping the inks on them and watching the colours of different inks merge and blend across the surface. I stuck with silver and clear sequins mainly to start off with so I could see what effect the inks had on a "plain" surface. It was all a bit unpredictable but some of the results were lovely and I will definitely try to recreate them. I need to learn more about mixing alcohol inks into more predictable colour blends so I don't waste them.

Durability of the Colours

I chose alcohol inks because I'd read that they colour plastics really well and don't rub off. The colours seem to be quite well adhered to the surface of the sequins and once dry, don't smudge or flake off. So far, so good. I haven't actually sewn any onto any fabric much yet. I'm not sure how well they would stand up to rough handling or anything sharp like pins or needles catching on them. I'm going to experiment with sealing them with varnish or some such and see what effect that has on them. Currently I have no idea how well these alcohol inks will hold up to light exposure. I'm sure some colours are more lightfast than others, like with most pigments. I think there is an index but I didn't really pay much attention to that for these experiments. I was more interested in the different shade possibilities. It's important to ensure that the sequins will retain their colour over time, although that doesn't necessarily hold true for normal self-coloured sequins. I've seen those fade and lose their colour with continual washing and perhaps exposure to bright light. Perhaps the dyes used in the manufacturing process are not lightfast either. It is difficult to find this out.

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