Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How To Dye Fabric

I have gotten a few questions on how to dye onesies (or any other fabric of your choosing) so I thought I'd put together a little tutorial. Please note, I am NO expert nor do I promise your results will be perfect. This is just what has worked for me. Ok, disclaimer over, let's get started:

Decide what kind of dye/color you want. There are many different types but I tend to use RIT or Dylon. RIT tends to be easier to find but some find Dylon easier to use...to me there's no difference. RIT comes in liquid or powder form, Dylon is powder. Pick one of each and experiment then decide for yourself which one you prefer. Anyway, just pick one.

Now your fabric. I dye mostly onesies, child's sized t-shirts and burp cloths. One packet of dye is good for 1 lb. of fabric but I have NO idea what that means so here's how I gauge it. One packet of dye is good for a maximum of three onesies OR a t-shirt and a onesie OR two burp cloths OR two onesies and a burp cloth OR a t-shirt and a burp cloth. If you're feeling up to it, go ahead and weigh a lb. of fabric and go with that.

At this point you can follow the directions on the box/packet and you'll be fine or you can keep reading to see how I do it. Oh, you're still reading which means you really want to know my process. Well, alrighty then.

1. Get a bucket or use your sink (but know that the dye might stain) oh and some gloves are helpful.

2. Use HOT water (the hotter the better) to dissolve 4tbsp of salt and your packet of dye. I use some old tongs to stir the water just fyi.
3. Add more hot water to your bucket until it's about 1/2 to 3/4 full. 
4. Rinse your fabric before putting it in your dye.
5. Here's the most crucial step: AGITATE your fabric (with the tongs or your gloved hands) for at least 15 minutes. Yes, this is not fun, but it will keep your fabric from being splotchy in the end.

6. Once properly agitated, you can leave your fabric in the dye bath for at least 30 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. I've forgotten about it for a couple of hours before and it was fine. The first 15 minutes are the most important.
7. Drain the bucket and rinse your fabric out in hot water until it runs (almost) clear. Then rinse the fabric in cold water.

8. Wash with like colors in hot at least once before adding any appliques. Once I add an applique I usually wash in cold a few more times with similar colors before mixing it in with the rest of baby girl's clothes.

Yes, it seems like a lot of information, but it really is an easy process. Once you do it a few times, you'll figure out what works best for you. It's not as time consuming as you might think...remember the first 15 minutes of agitating are the most crucial. Also, I always try to dye on days I need to do laundry...to avoid having to do extra random loads to wash what I've dyed. Ok, long post but hopefully it's helpful. Have fun!

1 comment:

Marisa said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! :) Very thorough and informative! I can't wait to brave it out & try! Hopefully I'll make you proud ;) haha

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