I’ve been wanting to dye fabric for over a YEAR! But have constantly been intimidated by it. Finally, I had a full day without any plans, I decided to go for it!
I dyed a whole HEAP of clothes! However, today I’m only going to highlight one of those items plus give you the rundown of how my process went! I had so much fun, and perhaps I got a little carried away….near the end there, I just ran up to my closet and randomly pulled things out!
First things first, gather your supplies and be sure to do some research! I bought Rit Fabric Dye, so many people use this stuff, even old ladies buy it, so I know it must be good! I checked out their website before heading to the store. I already had some Kelly Green fabric dye that I bought on clearance a year ago, so I wanted to choose 1 or 2 colors that would look good mixed with it. I chose Black because I wanted to dye a few things black or darker black, then Teal because it mixes well with the Kelly Green (which you can read about here in their Color Guide). It looked like I could make all sorts of colors with those, so it seemed a good choice.
I read suggests to use table salt or vinegar, so I made sure to have those handy. I decided not to use them however, so you’ll have to search info elsewhere about that. I read all the tips for dying fabric on Rit’s Techniques page, Stovetop Method like 15 times. Its not my washing machine, so I decided to avoid the possibility of screwing it up.
For the stovetop method you need:
A large pot, (garage sale score $1)
Picnic Tablecloth to protect the floor from drips
1-2 plastic tubs for carrying the wet item around (to outside or whatever)
long 1/2″ wooden dowel, $0.75 for stirring
Measuring cups (optional)
Table salt (optional)
White vinegar (optional)
Pants hangar (optional)
Dish Soap (optional)
Gloves (optional but recommended)
This is how big your pot should be, you need to cover your entire fabric with the dye
I will cover tips and techniques, plus a few insights into things that didn’t go right, on another post. I don’t want this to be long and boring. So I’ll share the first shirt I ever dyed!
Flash Dye Shirt
The only purpose of this shirt being dyed was to test out what I was doing, before I dropped in my main reason for dying. That being said, I still didn’t want it to turn all black (my chosen starting color). So I decided to just drop it in real quickly, like literally less than a minute. I decided to just drop the whole thing in as quickly as I could, then let it completely be covered, and pull the whole thing back out again!
Thats why its titled the Flash Dye Shirt. So it started out light grey and white striped. Read the directions on the bottle and on the website thoroughly before beginning so you have an idea of what to do!! I was expecting maybe a light grey where the white used to be and dark grey where the light grey used to be. I got a totally surprise. I was quite shocked when I pulled it out, how QUICKLY the dye had taken to the fabric!!!
In hindsight, I should have realized the dye would be most potent the first time around, and perhaps I should have placed my intentionally dark item in first. Oh well. It still looks ok. In fact, I might dye it again and see if I can darken up the bottom of the shirt (which ironically was placed in first).
While drying outside
Here you can faintly see the stripes near the bottom, which I still find crazy that I see anything at all. Also, the color isn’t quite so grey. After it dried (no picture, sorry), it had that nice vintage/faded look which I think is fun. However those bottom stripes look too accidental to keep. Maybe I will paint stripes over them instead. How interesting…
I dried everything outside on this partially cloudy day, that may have had some effect to the lightening color. But I didn’t want to wait for it to air dry in the house. I did put almost everything in the dryer after the items were partially dry to attempt the idea of “heat setting” the dye.
Keep checking back for the next installment when I share the piece of clothing I REALLY wanted to dye black!
- Dye in Style DIY Round Up (mjtrim.com)
- Dyeing over sun damage (hoopesparkstudios.wordpress.com)
- DIY Marbled Fabric (instructables.com)
- Dying Clothing with Rite (livinglavidalinda.wordpress.com)