Fabric Dyeing 101 Checklist
What are some of the most important things to know for a first time fabric dyer? First off dyeing fabric is easy. There are only a few supplies needed. In fact, you probably already have everything at home right now. Before you dye weigh your fabric to know how much product to use; double the normal amount for dark or bright colours (ex: black , navy, scarlet red). Always start with clean, wet fabric before dyeing.
Amount of Dye Needed:
- Small Boxes: Use 1 32g compact box for just over half a pound of cotton, linen, silk, spandex & viscose; use 2 compact boxes (64g) for just over a pound of nylon, acetate, rayon & wool.
- Classic Boxes: Use 1 regular 55g box for 1 pound (454g), of cotton, linen, silk, spandex & viscose; use 2 regular boxes (110g) for 1 pound (454g), of nylon, acetate, rayon & wool
- Bulk Size: Our professional line will dye up to 80 pounds of fabric
Before you begin, make sure that you have access to a clean, flat surface. If you are working on the kitchen or laundry, remove any other unrelated clutter from that could interfere with your project. Ideally you want to have enough space to spread out. You want to be able to have enough space for all of your materials. Unless you are working in a special studio reserved only for dyeing make sure to cover the work area with plastic. Wear rubber gloves; while it is possible to remove dye from hands, why would you want to have to do that? Wearing gloves protects your hands from staining, so it’s always a good idea to keep a pair handy.
Fabric Dyeing Materials:
- Tintex Fabric Dye
- Plastic or rubber gloves
- Plastic cover for work area
- Dyeing container (plastic bucket, glass or stainless bowl etc.)
- Measuring cup
- Table spoon and/or teaspoon
- Elastic bands (optional, for tie-dye)
- Paint brush or sponge brush, pencil easer (optional, for creating dots, lines or other designs)
There are many containers that can be used for dyeing fabric (and other items). Tintex is not food-grade so don’t use pots, bowels or containers that will later be used to prepare or serve food. Tintex is a hot water dye; you will always get better results with hot water. For heated water: use the tap or for better results, boil water in a kettle, pot or microwave and carefully transfer into a stainless steel sink/bowel or glass bowel. You can also use plastic containers to heat water in a microwave.
Completely dissolve Tintex in hot water and make sure it is mixed well in the dye bath. Constant agitation in the dye bath helps get the most even colour. You want to make sure to have the fabric covered completely (unless you are doing a dip dye, ombre or tie-dyeing effect). The areas that are covered will be dyed, the areas that are uncovered will stay the original colour.
Rinse fabric until water runs clear. While hand dyeing you especially want to make sure that all of the extra dye is rinsed away. Washing freshly dyed fabric alone or with similar colours will help with colour transfer. When in doubt, don’t wash a newly dyed red T-shirt with a white towel, (unless you like pink towels).
Clean up asap after dyeing with soap, water and bleach is needed; if you have properly covered your work area there won’t be much clean up after a DIY fabric dyeing project.