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Coloring a Tyvek Suit
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David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 10/30/2013 15:15:37 MDT Print View

I remember a previous thread, and since I wanted a cheap, ultralight wind/rain layer, I ordered a Tyvek suit from Amazon for less than $8 (first picture). Thing is, I look like the Michelin Man or the Pillsbury Doughboy in it and took quite a ribbing the first time I used it camping. Plus, that ultrawhite Tyvek material shows every bit of dirt or stain.

So I got some black Rit dye, Kiwi leather dye, and some acrylic ink. Per the previous thread, the Rit dye barely did anything (second picture), and the suit came out a very light gray. So I tried the leather dye, and it worked OK for a darker gray (top part of the third picture). But the acrylic ink worked best of all, and came out nearly black (bottom part of third picture). Plus, it is much easier to brush on than blotting on the leather dye with the little sponge applicator on the bottle. The acrylic ink is $8 for a 5 oz bottle from Amazon.

Hopefully this is not all old news, but I wanted to share it in case it's not. $16 for a windproof, waterproof, breathable, ultralight, head-to-toe rain suit. Haven't decided yet whether I will keep the booties on and wear them inside my shoes, or cut them off.

.suit

rit

dye and ink

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Re: Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 10/30/2013 15:27:42 MDT Print View

Not sure if that suit has a waterproof zipper -- if not, you could always glue on a storm flap (inside or outside).

Also, I suspect that diluted acrylic hobby paint (the type used for painting pictures) would also work like the acrylic ink, and it can be bought in any local Michael's/Jo-Ann's, etc.. Diluted hobby paint is permanent on most wool, cotton, and poly fabrics.

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 10/30/2013 15:33:26 MDT Print View

A storm flap. Great idea. What kind of glue would you use?

I will make a trip to Michael's and try out the acrylic hobby paint too. Maybe I'll do a camouflage suit too. Thanks for the tips.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Glue for Tyvek on 10/30/2013 16:32:16 MDT Print View

Folks on this site have recommended 3M Super 77 glue for tyvek. I haven't tried it myself, but it seems to be the most often mentioned product...

Justin McCabe
(justinmc)

Locale: Southern California
Re: Glue for Tyvek on 10/30/2013 19:09:57 MDT Print View

I like Super 77, just be careful on the overspray, it gets everywhere.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 10/30/2013 20:05:47 MDT Print View

I'm not sure that kind of tyvek fabric could be considered waterproof by any means, perhaps moderately to highly water resistant.

Yes, i did the same thing, but i cut off the lower leg parts. Haven't used it too much because it needs to be pretty cold for me to use it and unfortunately VA doesn't get too cold much of the time.

I also don't mind the color, i like white, so haven't tried to dye it. Good for blending in the snow. Cool that you found a way to dye it though.

It's fairly fragile material, so any kind of bushwacking is kind of a no no.

William Safley
(wsafley) - MLife

Locale: Eastern NC
Re: Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 10/30/2013 20:16:47 MDT Print View

I have played around with coloring tyvek using acrylic ink. I found that Speedball brand burnt umber produces a very nice color, more natural than any of the greens or blues I tried.

The only problem with the acrylic ink that I found was that it can tint what it is rubbing up against (e.g. skin or a white shirt). This is another benefit of the burnt umber color - it doesn't make you look like a Smurf. And while I didn't test it for a long period of time, it seemed to hold up fairly well to abrasion, unlike some of the other coloring methods I played with.

tyvek colored with Speedball burnt umber acrylic ink

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 10/30/2013 20:44:50 MDT Print View

>" I look like the Michelin Man or the Pillsbury Doughboy"

Claim to be from the 101st Airborne in winter-camo gear.

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 10/30/2013 21:23:20 MDT Print View

"Claim to be from the 101st Airborne in winter-camo gear."

I like it. I just need to cover up the DuPont label on the left breast. Maybe if I stitch on a piece of material with my name on it...Tyvek man

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 10/30/2013 21:29:33 MDT Print View

"The only problem with the acrylic ink that I found was that it can tint what it is rubbing up against (e.g. skin or a white shirt)"

William, did you try washing the tyvek suit? It would be interesting to know if the color survived and whether it reduced or eliminated the color rubbing off. I'm planning to hand-wash mine when I'm done coloring it, to see how colorfast it is and to hopefully eliminate the rub-off issue.

alex hansen
(holden425)
Instead of glueing storm flap on 10/30/2013 22:37:01 MDT Print View

Instead of glueing storm flap, I used tyvek tape to seam seal and creat a two sided storm flap on my tyvek jacket, also, packaging tape would probably work fine

For the inside seams, I cut 2" tape in half lengthwise to create 1" strips, then applied them to all seams

For the flap I took 2" tape and folded it in on itself 1/3 of the way, then taped in down the zipper line, repeated process on the opposite side so the flap closes both directions.storm flap

I also recommend a zip tie to elongate the zipper pull .

I made mine into a pullover jacket with 1/2 zip weighs about 3.5 ounces

edit: uploaded image.

Edited by holden425 on 10/31/2013 10:28:05 MDT.

William Safley
(wsafley) - MLife

Locale: Eastern NC
Re: Re: Re: Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 10/31/2013 11:28:18 MDT Print View

I should have specified I was playing with homewrap, not one of the suits. I did not wash it in a washing machine, but I soaked it in water and used wet paper towels to intentionally try to scrub off the color. The first couple of times I tried, moderate amount of bleeding of the color was evident. But afterwards the tyvek still held color and only very small amounts of color bleeding was evident.

I have not tried it in a real world environment, though. I did start to color a tyvek bivy but due to stupidity on my part, I ended up abandoning that particular project.

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 10/31/2013 12:07:43 MDT Print View

"I'm not sure that kind of tyvek fabric could be considered waterproof by any means, perhaps moderately to highly water resistant."

Put the suit on and got in the shower this morning. Definitely not waterproof. Just ordered some silicone fabric spray to try. We'll see how that works with another shower test.

david b
(db90)
Hydrostatic Head on 11/02/2013 13:36:58 MDT Print View

Unfortunately the water resistance of soft tyvek is about 50 inches compared to normal Gortex with hydrostatic head of 1100 inches. There are many different types of tyvek and lots of good (yet confusing) info in the old posts.

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Done Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 11/02/2013 18:51:44 MDT Print View

Finished coloring the suit. 2 applications of acrylic ink producing a dark charcoal...er...graphite gray. Next I'll try the silicone spray waterproofing, then give it the shower test again.tyvek man dark

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: Done Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 11/02/2013 20:20:53 MDT Print View

Wow that looks great David!

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Done Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 11/02/2013 20:42:14 MDT Print View

Thanks! $8 worth of ink and 3 hours of labor.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Done Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 11/02/2013 22:08:22 MDT Print View

Looks very nice.

Interested in if the silicone spray will stick to the tyvek or not.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 11/02/2013 22:15:55 MDT Print View

Dupont does make them in colors other than white.

Tyvek® chemical suits are available depending on the design in the colours white, blue and green.

Blue

http://www.safetysourcenortheast.com/products/PROTECTIVE%20CLOTHING%20AND%20FOOTWEAR/BLUE%20TYVEK%20COVERALLS.aspx

Edited by kthompson on 11/02/2013 22:30:54 MDT.

William Safley
(wsafley) - MLife

Locale: Eastern NC
Re: Done Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 11/03/2013 06:38:08 MST Print View

That looks so much better than the bright white. What brand of acrylic ink did you end up using?

Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
Silicone spray on 11/03/2013 07:22:12 MST Print View

Nice job on colors but like Ken said colors have been available for a while in the chemical sector.

As for silicone spray sticking , it will. I have sprayed my tyvek ground sheet until saturated with sil spray.
Let it set in the sun for a few hours and it is good to go!

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Done Coloring a Tyvek Suit on 11/03/2013 11:51:35 MST Print View

The ink brand is "Liquitex". Ordered from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Liquitex-Professional-Acrylic-5-1-oz-Carbon/dp/B004RGINNE/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1383504145&sr=8-4&keywords=liquitex+acrylic+ink

It's also available in other colors: Dioxazine Purple, Naphthol Crimson, Phthalocyanine Green, Prussian Blue, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, and yellow/medium azo. And they can be mixed to get particular shades or hues. I may try making a camo suit next.

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Silicone spray on 11/03/2013 11:59:12 MST Print View

Good to know the silicone spray will work. I guess the last thing will be to seal the seams.

I wanted to have a black suit, and haven't been able to find that color ready-made. Although I am thinking now that my black may have turned out blacker if I had started with a blue suit. I'm also guessing that the colored "Tychem" suits may be more water resistant, since they are advertised as having "splash resistance".

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Concern on 11/03/2013 22:00:32 MST Print View

Any dye I've ever applied to clothing has a nasty habit of bleeding forever more onto under and outer garments .

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Concern on 11/03/2013 23:28:45 MST Print View

A legitimate concern.

The Liquitex ink is advertised as permanent and water-resitant, but we'll see how that goes. I plan to give the suit a wash in cold water on gentle cycle with a swatch of white cotton in the load, to see how much ink washes and bleeds out, before I apply the silicone. Then after the silicone is applied I will give it the shower test wearing a white tee shirt, and see what happens.

William Safley
(wsafley) - MLife

Locale: Eastern NC
Re: Re: Concern on 11/04/2013 05:52:48 MST Print View

In my homewrap experiments, it seemed like after the first couple of times of trying to rinse and buff the color off the tyvek, the colors seemed to be pretty waterproof. But any surface rubbing on the colored surface continued to pick up small amounts of the tint from it.

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Another Suit to Try Coloring on 11/04/2013 20:21:22 MST Print View

While doing some internet research on colored Tyvek suits I stumbled across Kimberly-Clark's "Kleenguard A70" suit. It’s made for chemical spray protection, with 1.5 mil polyethylene film coated spunbound polypropylene fabric. It has a wick-away lining, liquid-resistant extra long zipper, softer and quieter fabric, a taped storm flap, and taped and bound seams. It’s also supposed to be breathable. Ordered one from Amazon for $15 to give it a try and see how it does in the shower test. If it passes that test, we’ll see how the acrylic ink works on it. Bright yellow is just as bad as bright white for stealth camping.

a70

Edited by GearMaker on 11/04/2013 20:22:09 MST.

Gregory Allen
(Gallen1119) - M

Locale: Golden, CO
Re: Another Suit to Try Coloring on 11/04/2013 21:38:58 MST Print View

That would look awesome walking through a high meadow in spring full of wild flowers. Bees and hummingbird attacks might be an issue! Those hummers could really screw up the waterproof thing. The visual in my mind makes me laugh!

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Tyvek on 11/04/2013 21:41:43 MST Print View

Have you considered cutting the suit into a separate pair of jacket+pants?

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Suit vs. Jacket and Pants on 11/04/2013 22:01:22 MST Print View

Justin,

I considered cutting a suit into jacket and pants, but from my experience skiing and motorcycling there is nothing warmer and more weather-proof than a one piece suit. For hard hiking with a pack in the rain, for the best ventilation, I typically use a polycryo poncho/ground sheet I made. The suit is second choice for that use unless conditions are extremely cold and/or windy, but first choice for rest stops, after setting up camp, and for winter/snow camping.

Also I can't sew, so it was an easy choice.