Dyeing Wood

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We dyed plain wood clothespins red for crafts and decor.  Dyed red clothespinsDye transforms unfinished wood beyond the usual stains and 'dye-staining' wood products is fun, affordable & easy. A wide range of looks can be achieved by using the materials you probably already have at home.  

We used the immersion dyeing technique for the wooden clothespins.  Choose a paintbrush, sponge, rollerimmersion, spray or stencil dyeing technique.  You can protect your work by adding polyurethane or you may choose to sand and leave as is. Each dyeing method will give a totally different personal style. 

Tips for Dyeing Wood with Fabric Dye

  • Tintex is an all-purpose  water based dye that always allows the natural grain to shine
  • Dye is versatile, stain unfinished wood products to match any colour;  compliment the soft furnishing and fabric colours already in your space
  • Dye adds character without chipping or peeling; wood easily absorbs dye dissolved in hot water  
  • Reuse extra dye for a wood project by reheating (store extra solution in glass jars)
  • Softwoods may absorb more colour; hardwoods may use more dye 
  • More layers of dye added produces brighter or more intense colours, Less dye produces lighter colours
  • Finish faster with wicker:  no need to sand wicker after applying polyurethane

The rustic look may appeal to a more casual space or even a modern industrial loft. Brushing on dye is easy for a traditional look. A stencil adds character to a plain piece of wood. A spray of dye solution will produce an abstract look that you can rub in to soften.  The dipping or immersion method is an easy fast-track to an ombre look; it can also be used for an all-over colour update.

Brush/Sponge/Roller Dyeing Technique

  • Ideal for dyeing larger amounts of wood products
  • Use a bristle or sponge brush foam roller, or scrap fabric
  • Apply to solution & evenly spread over entire surface
  • Sanding wood immediately reduces unwanted drips or dyeing errors
  • Air dry and repeat process again to get desired shade 
  • (Optional) Seal with up to 2 coats of polyurethane with a clean brush.  Use fine sandpaper lightly between coats.  Remove dust with a cloth and air dry

Dipping & Immersion Dyeing Technique

  • Ideal for dyeing smaller amounts of wood products (like clothespins)
  • Dip or submerge article for up to 20 minutes
  • Check wood every 5 minutes by stirring dye bath or rotating
  • (Optional) Seal with up to 2 coats of polyurethane with a clean brush.  Use fine sandpaper lightly between coats.  Remove dust with a cloth and air dry 

Spray Dyeing Technique

  • Ideal for an abstract look
  • Fill a spray bootle with dye solution
  • Spray dye solution over the article to create different patterns
  • Let set for 10  through 20 minutes and pat excess off with a scrap piece of fabric
  • (Optional) Seal with up to 2 coats of polyurethane with a clean brush.  Use fine sandpaper lightly between coats.  Remove dust with a cloth and air dry

Stencil Dyeing Technique

  • Apply stencil with tape
  • Use a brush or roller to apply dye, blotting excess
  • Apply dye toward the centre and work outward 
  • After a couple of minutes remove stencil and air dry
  • (optional) Seal with up to 2 coats of polyurethane with a clean brush.  Use fine sandpaper lightly between coats.  Remove dust with a cloth and air dry

Rustic Dyeing Technique

  • Best for a well loved, antiqued look
  • Looks equally as appealing in a traditional country setting or a modern clean-lined space
  • For a layered look with lots of character, use more than one colour
  • The 1st colour should be light the 2nd colour darker
  • Apply 1st colour to entire article with a brush, sponge, roller or scrap fabric cloth and air dry
  • Apply 2nd colour over 1st colour, and air dry
  • Gently sand entire article
  • Repeat dye coats using the darker colour to accent an edges
  • Dry completely between coats and lightly sand to create different textures and colour intensity to mimic wear
  • (Optional) Seal with up to 2 coats of polyurethane with a clean brush.  Use fine sandpaper lightly between coats.  Remove dust with a cloth and air dry

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