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Color Changing Fabrics and Objects for Home

Updated on October 6, 2015
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Melissa lives in Downtown Albuquerque. She loves sharing her local discoveries with fellow travelers and explorers.

Fabrics that Respond to Temperature

I am a child of the seventies. Mood rings and mood jewelry are part of my internal consciousness.

They fascinated me then and they still fascinate me. But I have gotten older (shhh! don't tell anyone) and so my fascination is a bit more sophisticated than it once was. Yes, friends and family might tell you I am not sophisticated and that I still act as goofy as ever. However, they aren't here right now and so I get to explore this topic a bit differently.

Bigger, Better

So what could possibly be bigger and better than mood jewelry? Mood Fabrics!

Mood clothing has made an appearance before but recent improvement on the idea is about to change the face of mood textiles.

This isn't a tilt it and it will change type of product. This type of product is temperature sensitive and changes color as it is handled or worn by a human or comes into contact with something radiating temperature.

Where do you find these fabrics? Can the public purchase them? Why would you want a "mood fabric"? Any ideas?

Let's explore and see what we can find out.

Thanks to iprole for use of this photo.
Thanks to iprole for use of this photo. | Source

It's Called Thermochromic

The mood fabric, or any color changing textile for that matter, is called "thermochromic". Thermochromic simply means the color changes as the temperature of the fabric changes.

The most recent thermochromic fabric to hit the marketplace does not change to a whole range of colors like a pschydelic dream. Instead the textile changes within a particular pre-established range of colors.

You can see some of the colors by visiting the Chameleon International website. See a description of the product here and learn about the magical color changing raincoat.

If you want to use color changing material in mass produced wallpaper, floor mats or art, this manufacturer is the company to contact.

Color Changing Bean Bag Chair in Green
Color Changing Bean Bag Chair in Green

Looks like this bean bag was made with the ChroMyx heat sensitive product.

The color may not be something to put in your living room, but a kid or teen room would be a perfect spot for this conversation piece. Anywhere the body touches the fabric will start the heat/color changing process.

 

Commercial Thermochromic Coatings

Can you do this at home?

Military Use

The military uses thermochromic coatings to detect ammunition that is exposed to high temperature. Ammo over-exposed to heat can be risky to use, may not perform correctly and could compromise the users safety. (odd concern if you stop to think that the receiver is in danger whether the thermochromic coating is used or not, hmmm.)

Thermochromic Inks

Temperature sensitive inks are used on products to decifer the temperature of the contents. Beer manufacturing plants are using them on beer cans (nothing worse than a beer that gets too hot and then gets cooled down!). They are also used on medical devices, battery testers and temperature gauges. And where would medical thermometers be if it wasn't for thermochromic inks that read body temperature?

Using the Ink

Looks like you need to create products on a large scale to warrant purchasing this kind of ink. Plus you may need to mix it with binders and other products to use it properly. Printing companies (as in screen printers and the like) appear to be the ones using the ink.

Source

Make Your Own Mood Fabric?

Let me begin by saying "I have never tried this." However, the thought is fascinating to me and I may just have to make some mood changing fabrics of my own.

It would seem pretty logical to do:

  1. Buy fabric
  2. Buy thermochromic dye
  3. Dye the fabric with the thermochromic dye
But there are probably some glitches such as:

  1. What type of fabric works best with what brand of dye?
  2. Do I have a way to dye the fabric that won't dye my kitchen, bathroom, laundry room or craft area along with it?
  3. Does the dye set in the fabric or do I need to heat set or use some other substance so it doesn't wear off or rub off?
When you dye big swatches of fabric you have to have a washing machine or vat that can hold all that fabric AND have enough space left to allow the dye to flow through. Otherwise you can get blotchy results.

You would also need a large space to dry the fabric and/or machines that would do that for you. Seems like small (very small) batches might be best for home dye projects.

Source

Where to Buy Mood Paint

This is the only place I have found thermochromic paint (not dye) for home use in the US. Paint with Pearl is the name of the company.

The product can be mixed with pearl paint colors to produce a variety of color changes but the basic product is just a black and white color change which for me is just as great an idea because I am a black and white fiend!

The Electronic Crafts website explains how to use the crafty version of this paint (i.e. small amounts and not a dye) by using silk screening methods.

Are Mood Fabrics Cool?

Are Mood Fabrics Nifty or silly?

Love 'em.

Love 'em.

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    • TAIBAH AKHTAR 7 months ago

      Best article ever for someone who's in year eight =-O :-D :-P :'( ;-) :-\ :-( O:-) :-) :-[ :-! :-$ B-) :O :-*

    • miaponzo 4 years ago

      They seem amazing! I have never seen them before!

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Absolutely nifty and cool!

    • curious0927 5 years ago

      Absolutely Nifty and Cool!

    • Thrinsdream 5 years ago

      BRILLIANT!

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      a very interesting material I wish they'd bring back!

    Ridiculous waste of human ingenuity

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      • TAIBAH AKHTAR 7 months ago

        This is a good article about textiles and has helped me with my homework a lot so thanks!:)=);)

      Color Changing Tile - Love this!

      Use this in the shower and enjoy the irridescent color changes from the water temperature. The company name is "Moving Color" and the product style is called "tye dye" and the tile changes colors as its temperature changes.

      Chameleon Camouflage

      The Air Force is aiming to outfit its troops with a color changing camouflage fabric that changes color and pattern.

      The company making the color changing camo is HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp.

      You can find a list of the 34 countries HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp. is working with and get a glimpse of their production schedule at their website.

      Crazy stuff. They are even painting planes with camouflage.

      Wonder how long it will be before this hits the retail market?

      Thermochromic Film

      Looks like we are still in the early stages of developing actual home and building products that use thermochromic materials. The Consumer Energy Center talks about thermochromic windows of the future but does not tell us who is going to be making them. I suspect every window manufacturer at some point will have such a product.

      The Future of Window Film

      Another promising alternative is a thermochromic window film that lets light in but blocks heat. The heat is simply reflected away from the window once the temperature reaches 29 degrees Celsius (about 84 degree Fahrenheit for us Americans).

      Pleotints is actually making and selling thermochromic film. Check them out at pleotint.com.

      Durability seems to be an issue. Just think of all the Victorian era windows that still exist. Could the film have held up all these years if it had been available back then?

      Ideas for Using Color Changing Technology

      What about something that changes color to warn about an oncoming heart attack? seizure? Maybe a patch that detects infection?

      Are Color Changing Fabrics...

      See results

      Any Ideas On Ways to Use Mood Fabrics? - Maybe something beneficial instead of entertaining?

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        • aesta1 profile image

          Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          You can change covers and curtains depending on the season or the holiday celebrated.

        • TrentAdamsCA profile image

          TrentAdamsCA 5 years ago

          Amazing -- I enjoy all your specifics of the different types of products and materials that can create this color changing effect. Your mention of mood rings took me back! The shower tiles look fun -- now I want clothes and pillows in this...

        • Thrinsdream profile image

          Thrinsdream 5 years ago

          This is just brilliant! I want some . . now!

        • curious0927 profile image

          curious0927 5 years ago

          Wonderful! I really love all the knowledge you shared here. Beneficial? Maybe window fabric that changes with the "mood" of the weather, conserve energy? Great lens, Blessed.

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          I think I could be easily in the "mood" for chameleon products, how fascinating and I think that's beneficial by being both functional and entertaining at once. I'm wondering if we'll be seeing a thermochromatic fabric dying lens by you. I like how you consider some of the problems one has to solve along the way. This is just fun!

        • profile image

          miaponzo 4 years ago

          Very cool idea! Blessed!

        • Linda Pogue profile image

          Linda Pogue 4 years ago from Missouri

          This is interesting. Blessings!

        • profile image

          moonlitta 4 years ago

          I would be startled by something that changes color without any interference...anyway, sounds amusing:)

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