How To Dye Clothing

Tie-dyed fabric

Dyeing clothing and other material is a fairly simple process. It doesn't take a lot of work and the amount of work it takes often depends on what type of dye you purchase.

Some dyes on the market are easy to use. Rit dye is one brand for example where you fill you washer, add the dye, insert the clothes, let them sit, and then wash as normal. It is really easy. However, for most dyes a dye bath will work the best. This includes natural dyes that you make yourself as well as many boxed dyes, or natural dyes that you can buy on the market. Natural materials such as wool, cotton, and silk will be easier to dye than artificial material such as polyester. A 50/50 blend usually does well though.

If you're dying fabric instead of ready-made clothes, the process is still basically the same.

Here's how to dye clothing:

Step 1

Wash the material. The clothing item or cloth should be washed well and let dry. This will help to remove things in the fabric that aren't good for the dying process. It is also a good idea to skip any chemical fabric softeners because they leave a film on the clothing that can make it harder for the dye to fix.

Step 2

Simmer the material in a fixative. There are lots of fixative options, but some are easier then others to get your hands on. Add eight cups of water to a large pot and then your fixative. Choose 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup of salt, or 1 tablespoon of alum. Mix well. Add your material and simmer for an hour.

Step 3

Wring the material out and prepare your dye bath. You will want to wring the material out well and set aside as you get your dye bath ready. If you have made natural dye then it should be waiting. If you are mixing boxed dye you will need to follow the directions to mix the color you desire and the darkness you wish. Your dye bath will need to be in a pot donated to dyeing. You will want to put it on medium heat.

Step 4

Add your material and simmer. Add your material to the dye bath and simmer it for about an hour. After that check it every ten minutes. Keep in mind that the material is darker wet then dry, but you are looking to find a color pleasing to you. Once that color is achieved turn the dye bath off and let cool.

Step 5

Remove from dye and hang up to dry. Using rubber gloves carefully remove the material and hang it up to dry.

Step 6

Laundering tips. Most boxed dyes will have directions for washing the material after it has dyed. For those that don't you should wash in cold water separate of colors it could damage if the dyes leak.


Dyeing clothing can be an inexpensive and easy way to make a fresh new outfit or to add some color to material. In a matter of a few hours you can have a brand new color waiting for you!

 

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