Fabric Dye Tutorial

How to Dye Natural Fibers the Easy way! I have used this method with Tulip and Dylon brand powder packs, which can be found in chain stores like Jo-Anns, Wal-Mart, etc.

First, select and pre-wash an item of clothing made from natural fibers. In this case, I selected a pair of bright white 100% cotton RTW slacks. If the item is already colored, it may impact the final color, so test first if possible.


Step 2: Prepare your water & salt bath per the instructions. The Tulip dye required 1 gallon of HOT water and 1/4 cup salt. I used my enormous stainless steel pot (as you can tell because that’s one gallon of liquid with all that leftover space). The extra space makes stirring without mess easier. Add the powder pack to the hot water mix and whisk rapidly to dissolve dye. A stainless steel whisk is recommended.
Step 3: Once dye is dissolved, dunk in dry pants. Immerse. Actively press under and stir for 15 minutes trying to remove all air bubbles and keep cloth submerged. After the first fifteen minutes, I set the timer for 15 minutes intervals. I let the cloth set in the dye and stir each time the timer goes off. This second part lasts for 45 minutes. Total time in dye is one hour. Remember to double-check your brand for time and direction variation.
Step 4: Rinse in stainless steel strainer. I do this in two steps. First, I rinse the fabric briefly with cold water. Then I toss it into the washing machine with no soap. This rinses it well. Then I run it through the dryer at the appropriate heat level to speed the drying time and heat set the dye.
Step 5: Admire the final dry color and plan other sewing project to create outfits. Notice that any polyester items like thread, labels, and zippers will not dye. Plan that in to your final design expectations, especially if these items will show.

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