Saturday, February 11, 2012

How to dye fabric

Do you have an item that you like but you hate the colour? Why not dye it?

For most of this project, you need to follow the manufacturers directions. I used one package of black fabric dye, a large bucket, hot boiling water and a large Dutch oven pot, a wooden spoon, a ratty old dishtowel, rubber gloves, 2 dark or ratty towels, an iron and an apron.

This is one of the two pillowcases that have serious bleach damage so I decided to dye them - the project for the dyed fabric is coming.

I set everything up by the kitchen sink and put the fabric in the plastic bucket. i put on an apron to protect my clothes then I boiled a full large pot of water on the stove. Once it started boiling, I poured the water into the bucket with the fabric.

I added the dye packet to the hot water and stirred vigorously as the instructions said. So, I turned on the music and stirred for half an hour as best as I could. As you can see, it turned my wooden spoon black!

After 30 minutes, I dumped the water out and started rinsing the fabric under cold water. At this point, I put on the rubber gloves so that I didn't dye my hands. I started first by dunking it into a filled bucket of water then ran the fabric under running water until it ran clear. Then I set up two dark towels in the bathroom so that I could allow the fabric to drip dry -- without accidentally dying my towels or my tile floor. I then used the ratty dishcloth to clean up the sink in the kitchen as there were dye spots everywhere.

Once it was dry, which happened overnight, I ironed it to set the color in the fabric. Done! Now the fabric is ready for my next project.

Estimated time for this project: 8-10 hours (including drying time). The actual hands-on time is something like 45 minutes.

  • This turned the tan-coloured fabric a lovely slate grey. It wasn't completely black but I didn't expect that. And, the bleach stains were gone. 

  • If you have a pair of jeans that faded over too many washes, why not dye them indigo again? There is jean dye out there. 
  • I read in a craft book one time that you can dye patterned fabric. It won't be a uniform result but it's an idea!

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