How much dye to make?


I'm trying to (reasonably) match a color. I'm using some powdered dyes. I've made a couple of very small batches that are moving in the right direction.
But...
These powders are very concentrated. A small amount more or less will make a large difference. I doubt my ability to measure accurately enough to scale up a "successful" test batch to make enough for the whole project.
I figure I'll have to estimate a "formula" for the full batch, then try it out repeatedly on scrap as I tweak it. When I think it's close enough I'll apply it to the project. My question is, how big a batch should I make? There's about 30 square feet of surface on my project.
I'm anticipating that someone will tell me I won't really know what the color will look like until the test pieces dry. That brings up my second question: How long will the dye solution be usable after it is mixed? Hours? Weeks? Months?
Thanks in advance.
Greg Guarino
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Greg Guarino wrote:

Won't a series of twofold dilutions of small amounts get you where you want?
You only need to be able to measure one amount consistently each time, if you start with two times the end volume in the first batch, then remove exactly half that into an equal amount of diluent. Mix that and remove exactly half to another equal amount of diluent (...and so on to very dilute).
Then mark which one is the proper dilution, and you know it is a 2^n dilution of the undiluted stock.
er
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You don't know how it will look until it is varnished (or whatever). Dyed wood changes pretty dramatically.
Since you are talking about drying, I assume this is water dissolved dye. I have been using some I made up 2 years ago with no problems. Haven't any idea what its actual life is, but certainly long enough for your project.
I make up a test solution. Add a little more A, dilute it some, add some B, etc. until I get what I want, and then just use it. The bottle makes up so much that I have no concern about wasting it.
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Greg Guarino wrote:

Hee hee! You think you won't know what the dyed pieces will look like UNTIL they dry?? You won't have a CLUE what the final color will be, once they dry. The wood will look funky when dry and only when you apply a finish , will you know what color you'll get. You need to practice on a piece of scrap to see what I'm talking about. Dyed wood is not going to give you a "preview" like when you apply pigment stains.
As long as the dye doesn't start growing nasties, you can use it for months. Don't forget to stir or shake it up if it's been sitting around for a while.
Dave
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