Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How I Dye Clothes

I've been doing this off and on, and thought I should write down my method and tips because it is actually a thrifty way to freshen up tired fabric (and because I'm getting so old that I forget my method inbetweentimes).

Things I have dyed:
1.  faded red cloth napkins: RED
2.  Genevieve's stained white school shirt:  LIGHT BLUE
3.  two faded black sweaters:  BLACK
4.  faded tablecloth:  BLUE

Genevieve now has a light blue school shirt with permanent paint stains on it.  I'm going to try dyeing it navy when I get the dye.  The shirt is useless now, so I'm going to see if a few bucks of dye can make it school-worthy again.

1. I dye things in my big enamel canner on the stove.  I heat up 3 gallons of water plus a cup of salt. 
2. Pour in the dye - either liquid or powder. 
3. Separately, wet the cloth thing that you want to dye.  Have a stainless steel spoon nearby to stir, and then lower the wet cloth into the dyebath. 
4. Stir well, being very careful not to splash.  Keep the dyebath hot and stir often for 30-60 minutes.  5. Carefully pour off the hot dye in a stainless steel sink (porcelain or composites could be dyed!).  Use the spoon to get out the hot dyed cloth, or gently dump it in the sink.  Don't splash!!! 
6. Put on latex gloves (unless you fancy your hands dyed).  Rinse the dyed cloth under cool water until the water is mostly clear. 
7. Transfer to the washing machine and wash in cold water.  Dry on high heat to help set the dye.  I have also just run the dyed cloth through the rinse and spin cycle, and then put it in the dryer.
8.  Be careful to wash dyed things with very similar colors the first few times you wash them as some of mine have bled a little bit then.

I accidentally overdyed this toweling when I washed it with my blue tablecloth.  Luckily it turned out nicely!

1 comment:

Christian - Modobject@Home said...

A timely and helpful post as I am about to dye a pile of faded navy blue school uniform pants. Maybe I can put a little more life in them.