Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dyeing in the Kitchen

Hi everyone!
It has been a while since I last posted on my blog because I have been very (thankfully) busy!
2010 has started with a big bang for me and I am so excited to be working on new projects which I will unveil soon and lots of custom orders!

One custom order this week required me to dye a piece of fabric for an iPod case.  I decided to take advantage of the situation and dye a whole bunch of fabric at the same time and then take pictures so I could share the process with all of you!

I love to dye fabric and I love to cook and I have figured out that I dye fabric like I cook food.  This just means that I don't generally follow any rules or recipes.  I love the excitement and mystery of mixing a little of this and a little of that to end up with something delightfully unexpected and wonderful!  This method of working, whether it is for cooking or dyeing, only works as long as you know and understand the basic principles of what you are doing. This process also doesn't guarantee repeatable results but it is so much fun to be inventive and it definitely keeps me from getting bored with what I do!

I started out with fabric that I thought was pretty boring in black and white.

Then I covered all of my kitchen counter space with old towels so I wouldn't ruin anything and get in trouble.  Then I prepared all of my utensils and dyes etc.

After that, I had to decide which fabric I wanted to dye in a particular color.
Next I mixed the colors and immersed the fabric.  Each dye bath needed to be stirred constantly to ensure even dyeing and no splotching.
I use fiber reactive dyes which are permanent and color fast.  You can find them here and directions for their use here.  These dyes are specifically made for cotton, rayon and silk.  I dyed both cotton and silk in this group of fabrics.

After this step is the takes a loooooong time to wash the dyes out of the fabric. (So, no pictures!)

Besides finding out how my crazy color experimentation turned absolute favorite part is discovering how each fabric takes the dye. (I know, I am such a dork for getting so excited about dyeing fabric!)
All fibers take dye differently.  I won't get technical but you'll see from the pictures below that I have grouped the fabrics by the color I dyed them in and some of the results are drastically different!

This is the dark green dye bath.  As you can see, the fabric on the left is silk and it didn't feel like taking any of the blue in the dye at all!  The train fabric is pretty neat because certain parts dyed darker than others and that makes the print really interesting...what a lucky discovery!

This is the blue dye bath.  You can see that some of the stripes in the plaid fabric dyed lighter than the other ones...also a very neat discovery!

Didn't they turn out great! :)

Another reason that I will over-dye a fabric is if the original color is just awful. (according to me)

For example, the red on this fabric was way too bright and light and I hadn't been able to use it because it just looked garish to me.  So I placed it in the same red dye bath as the fabric in the previous picture and I think the new shade of red makes all the difference in the world.  It doesn't hurt my eyes to look at it anymore! :)

So, there it is!  This week I dyed in the kitchen!  Till next time!


  1. Lol, dyeing in the kitchen. It never gets old. "What are you up to?" "Hmm, not much. Just dyeing."

    By the way, Winnie just brought me an awesome Vegetarian cook book that I'm taking home tonight. Yum!

  2. oh my gosh! what an ambitious venture! love that you documented it with photos to share, i always think of doing that AFTER the project is done...sigh, there is just so many things to think about when running an etsy shop! Love the look of the newly dyed fabrics! fantastic job