Want the Facts Wed - Dyeing Wood

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Valentines day is almost here and we wanted to find more fun ways of using Scarlet Red fabric dye (our series of posts featuring red dye projects).  We decided to dye plain brown wood clothespins red as place card holders.  Of course this is just one of many ways to use dyed clothespins to accent your home decor.  Dyed red clothespins

Dye 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 go through the benefits of using fabric dye on wood and the easy steps that transform basic brown clothespins into something much more appealing for Valentines Day. 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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