Dyeing tips and tricks

topic posted Wed, March 15, 2006 - 4:20 AM by  Unsubscribed
Hello all, just joined this tribe! I'm a professional fabric dyer and would love to offer any advice that involves dyeing fabrics/clothings/trims/etc.
I've been doing it for 17+years in NYC.

ask away!
posted by:
  • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Wed, March 15, 2006 - 6:31 PM
    Okay, I'll take you up on that: Can I use my left-over coffee grinds, and if so, how?
    • Unsu...

      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Wed, March 15, 2006 - 7:24 PM
      I don't do natural dyeing because of the toxicity of the mortants you need to adhere the dye unto the fabric. Not all natural dyes need them though, but my job uses strictly chemical dyes.

      But if you want to use left-over coffee grinds..the only color you will get is a light tea stain color. Some people use it to tint a white to off-white.

      Boil some water and the coffee grinds. Strain the grinds. Then dip your fabric/garment/itrim into the bath, stir often. You should get a slight tint. Works better with fresh coffee though. :-)

      For general home dyeing, I recommend RIT or TINTEX dyes. Use as directed. Will not dye polyesters or arylics well.

      I hope I answered your question.
      • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Wed, March 15, 2006 - 7:42 PM
        I don't know what "mortants" are, but they sound toxic, indeed.

        Seriously, though, thanks. Your answer was what I expected--that I'd have to waste my precious precious coffee if I wanted a dark stain rather than a dirty one, but hell, my whites look dirty already (--how DID my momma keep my whities so white??), so maybe intentionally dirty dye is better than just dirty.

        I've used RIT with moderate success, but the colors are never truly vibrant and they seem to fade so quickly. I've never tried TINTEX, but I will, and will gladly post my results if folks are interested.

        thanks again.
        • Unsu...

          Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

          Wed, March 15, 2006 - 7:59 PM
          Tintex is the same as RIT. I recommend using Direct Dyes for Cottons/Rayons/Linens/Jute. Acid Dyes for Wool, Silk, Nylon. Disperse for Acetate and Nylons. Fier Reactive dyes works best for Cotton/Rayons, the most brillinat colors. It also takes the most time.

          Drama Trading sells these dyes as wells as Pro-Chemical, Aljo Dyes. Ask for directions for them. If you are serious about dyeing, these are the types of dyes I use.


          Morants fix the dyes into fibers, so the dyes sticks permanently. Alum, Copper, metals....all toxic.
          • Unsu...

            Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

            Fri, March 17, 2006 - 2:09 AM
            ive tried the rit dyes and i have not had good another posted stated they are weak and fade so quickly...are there any tricks to use with rit? there a mordant for these dyes?..

            does coffee stain darker than tea?..

            seems like chemical dyes would be toxic,

            hope i havent gone over my "question quota"...thanks

            ps...(sota voce) its "dharma trading"
            • Unsu...

              Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

              Fri, March 17, 2006 - 3:55 AM
              RIT and tintex dyes are a combination of Acid, Direct, and Disperse dyes mixed with acetic acid and salt. Acetic acid is needed to aid the acid dyes, and salt is needed for direct. (mortants= acetic acid( or citric acid) and salt are safe to use)

              To get the best results with RIT or TINTEX is to heat the dye bath.

              1. wash fabrics/clothing, set aside.
              2. mix dyes with hot water to dissolve. ( I boil water and then mix the dye into that for better dissolving.
              3. Using warm water in a large pot on the stove at a low heat, pour dissolved dye mix through a coffee strainer(metal kind) in the pot.
              4. stir well.
              5. add wet fabric/clothing into dye bath
              6. keep stirring! and bring the heat up slowly....the more heat, the better colors get deeper and more intense.
              7. If you fabric/clothing is Cotton, Rayon, Linen, add more salt....Rock/table salt. about 1 cup for item. This keep the dyes stay in the fibers.
              8. once you reach the color desired, take out of bath, rinse in lukewarm warm first, then cold. Keep rinsing well.

              TIPS: The more dye you use, the more intense the color gets. For deep/intense colors, you need to keep the dye bath going for about an hour. Bring the temp of the dye bath to almost a boil.

              Chemical dyes are much less toxic because you only need to add either salt or acid to the dye bath. Natural dyes are misleading You would like they are safer, but because you need mortants such as Cooper and other metals, it's not so safe to do at home.

              Please read the above I posted about what types of dyes to purchase for true brillint colors. You can get these at those places I mentioned.

              Aljo Dyes sells a fixitive for cotton and nylon dyes. After you dye using Direct dyes for cottons, you emerse the dyed, wet fabric/clothing into a fixitive bath. This keeps the color from fading and running off. You can also use them for RIT/TINTEX

              RIT and TINTEX will not dye Polyesters and acrylics, only tint them. Fake furs are made from those fibers and not recommended to dye, as any heat wilt the fur and it looks like crap afterwards.

              Chemical dyes are safe as long as you use a dust mask while mixing dry dyes.

              Cofee vs, a test! French Roast? LOL

              Dyeing is complicated. When you dye garments, most of the stitching will not dye because it is made from Polyester. Zippers might not dye as well. Using high heat also can shrink the fibers.

              Next time you wanna dye something, tell me exactly what it is and I can then help you.

              PS: I suck at spelling. :-)

        • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

          Wed, June 6, 2007 - 9:27 AM
          I try to be environmentally responcible as I can when it comes to crafts and such.
          Mainly because they tend to be highly toxic and unenvironmental. (Glues, dyes, petro).
          I was thinking about the coffee dying and I think it is not worth it. I like that it is natural
          but (globaly) economic....? Coffee in the U.S. can be cheap but in some contries
          (and most often the ones who grow it) don't even have coffee to drink.
          Maybe look at natural dyes using herbs and such that we grow here and have a lot
          more of. Does anyone know about henas are they plentyful and nice to us?
      • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Wed, February 7, 2007 - 2:51 PM
        it helps to have the incoming fabric wet and iron it after it's dry. I once dyed an entire flower girl dress, satin, crinoline, lace trim and all with this method
    • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Thu, May 10, 2007 - 1:08 AM
      I just saw that there was a video about that on threadbanger. I haven't watched it yet, it sounds easy enough without a video, and you may not want to do that anyway, but I love these how to videos on that site and this is a relevant place to post it so here is the url anyway:
      • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Thu, May 10, 2007 - 1:14 AM
        Dang----I thought I was posting my above link up there under the question about dying with coffee grounds!

        Oh, btw, thanks miyo for offering your advice about dying. I will need to spend some more time reading all the tips you have posted on this topic. It is very helpful.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Thu, March 16, 2006 - 9:03 AM
    How about dyeing fur...I think it is lamb lining a canvas mens pea coat that wants to morph to a vibrant tie dye look.

    Do you think I can 'paint' this coat and let the dyes bleed to each other?

    Thanks for the advice! I have been wanting to do this project since November and you have inspired me to work on it.
    • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Thu, March 16, 2006 - 9:12 AM
      Can you tell me about dyeing shoes? How would an amature go about this?
      • Unsu...

        Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Thu, March 16, 2006 - 4:57 PM
        Dyeing shoes depends on the fiber used.

        If the shoes are leather, you have a couple of options. You should go to a large shoe repair store, where they carry 2 types of dyes. One is a spray and one is an alcohol-based leather dye. Both are messy, so carefully read the directions.

        If the shoes are cotton, I recommend buying fabric paints. They should be premanent. Use a brush and paint on. Let dry and then using a hair dyer, set on HIGH HEAT and aim at the painted areas to set it more.

        Hope this helps.

    • Unsu...

      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Thu, March 16, 2006 - 4:53 PM
      Real Fur is tricky, as you need very high temps to reach any crilliant color using Acid dyes. In most cases , you really need professional fur dyer, which I am not.

      Also you can't dye fur and cotton in the same bath.The best bet is to remove the fur, try to dye it in acid dyes and reattach. There's no paint that will dye the fur, only coat it so it's stiff and not very pretty.

      Boy, these are tough questions!

      You could paint the fur using acid dyes, but then you have to steam it, very complex. and it won't dye the cotton.
      I personally advise against it, unless someone else has done this before.

      • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Fri, March 17, 2006 - 7:38 AM
        Does it matter what kind of recipient you use on the stove?
        The only pot large enough that I have is Aluminum and I was wondering if that would effect the dye/process.
        • Unsu...

          Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

          Fri, March 17, 2006 - 9:20 AM
          Nope it doesn't. I use stainless steel, enamel, whatever. I just Soft Scrub it afterwards. The bigger the pot, the better you can dye.
          You must keep stirring the dye bath inthe pot! If you leave it alone, the fabric/clothing will mottle (crackle), unless you like that effect.

          Keep the pot only for dyeing. And also a strring stick only for dyeing.
          • Unsu...

            Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

            Sat, March 18, 2006 - 12:27 PM
            Actually.. it does matter... If you use and iron pot, the iron will act as a mordant & affect the colour..
            • Unsu...

              Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

              Wed, March 22, 2006 - 2:13 PM
              Well, I don't think the iron pot will affect chemical dyes. I'm sure it would using natural dyes. I could be wrong, but even finding an large iron pot to dye in is difficult and it's not worth it pricewise. Any pot used for dyeing should never be used for cooking food.
      • Unsu...

        Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Fri, March 17, 2006 - 4:59 PM
        Thank you for the direction and thoughts! I shall continue my research and ponder the possibilities and give dyeing real fur a whirl. Nothing like a challenge to keep my mind creative!

        I am thinking painting fur with acid dye and find a way to steam. Then maybe some paints for the cotton canvas. In another month I hope to be able to send you some pics that are not a muck of fur, color, and paintballs.

        Thanks again!
      • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Wed, February 7, 2007 - 2:54 PM
        how about Design Master spray paint ? it's in craft stores for dyeing silk flowers, very soft finish, and I've used it on shoes, but never on fur
      • Dying Faux Fur?

        Mon, August 13, 2007 - 6:52 AM
        Saw the question re dying real fur....but can you dye faux fur? I have a faux fur jacket in a very light beige colour and would like to make it you think this would be possible?

        By the way.....thanks for the advice on dying by duvet lime green - it worked perfectly and I'm really happy with the result.

  • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Wed, March 22, 2006 - 10:12 AM
    Miyo, Do you happen to know the best UV reactive dyes for dying silk? I'm in the process of creating some UV reactive silk flags and found some resources at They suggest

    Dharma Yellow from Dharma trading company.

    Jaquard Acid dyes
    612 Lilac
    620 Hot Fuscia
    623 Brilliant Blue
    627 Kelly Green
    628 Chartreuse
    639 Jet Black

    Aljo dyes
    Fluorescent Rhodamine B
    Fluorescent Blue G
    Fluorescent Violet
    Fluorescent Flavine Yellow
    Lily Rose

    • Unsu...

      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Wed, March 22, 2006 - 2:10 PM
      I use and like ALJO's Flourescent Blue, Flavine and Rhodamine. The Flavine mixed with Blue will give you a Bright Green. You can mix them for other colors. omg.they have a flourescent violet now? I must buy some immediatey!
      Just go to aljo online or call them to buy it. Herb and Robin are the owners. Tell them Miyong sent you, they know me!

      Their Lily Rose is awesome!.......warning...use a metal coffee strainer after you mix the dye with hot water before u put into a bath. The lily Rose is stitcky. Same for their Violet. I also recommend their Rhodamine G....more orangy than B.

      clean afterwards with soft scrub, bleach....

      I've dyed feather with those colors......glows in Black light......awesome.

      Jaquard is a name brand, they also carry good dyes, but since aljo is in NYC, I've used them for 17+ years.

      Remember to buy some citric or acetic acid to add to your bathwater. It's a MUST! Vinegar is a cheap option, but you need alot of it, where citric acid you can buy at the grocery store in the food canning section.
      • Unsu...

        Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Wed, March 22, 2006 - 8:53 PM
        oooo I love the thought of glowing feathers.. thanks for the inspiration, Miyo!
        • Unsu...

          Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

          Thu, March 23, 2006 - 3:55 AM
          you are welcome! works great for making pasties. Dharma Trading also carries Glow in the Dark paints.....I always wanted to try it, painting on clothing.
      • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Thu, April 19, 2007 - 2:04 AM
        funny story, i was on tribe, wondering about uv reactive dyes, so i went to google it, and where did i find the best info, right back here in a tribe that im already a part of, and ironically enough, one of the people talking about said topic is a friend! thanks!!!
  • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Wed, January 24, 2007 - 10:38 AM
    I have a question, i unfortunatly had a black bic ball point pen in the dryer and it of course ruined all of my clothes, i am probably going to just dye them to a dark blue color (only the shirts) because most of them are you have any suggestions? i've never used a clothes dye before so want to do it right.

    • Unsu...

      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Thu, January 25, 2007 - 3:25 PM
      Before you try dyes, go to a dry cleaner. For the white garments, there's a chemical that removes ink stains which only dry cleaners have. Think it's called Yellow Go. Can not be bought by the public.

      If they don't come out, remember that any stitching will probably not dye as most threads used in garments are polyester and not dyeable using standard dyes. they might tint a bit but that's it.

      here are some places to get info and dyes:
      Aljo Dyes
      Dharma Trading.

      The dye that is most colorfast are Fiber Reactive dyes. You can do this in a large tub. You'll need salt and soda ash to activate the dyes. Follow directions provided by the dye houses.

      You can also use Direct Dyes which dye cottons well, but are not color fast and require high temps with lots of salt.
      You can use RIT or TINTEX dyes which all all fibes except acrylics and polyesters. Best results are if you heat the dyes on the stove and not in the washer. Not color-fast.

      Aljo Dyes sell Fixitives for cottons dyed with Direct dyes and/or RIT/TINTEX. requires a bit of acid - citric acid, acetic acid or white vinegar. Helps keep dyes from running in the wash.
      • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Fri, January 26, 2007 - 3:05 AM
        Here's one for you.
        Some how, my wonderful husband got a bleach stain in the form of a hand on the back of a black shirt.
        I initially tried liquid dye but there remains a difference in the two blacks.
        DO I HAVE TO "untint" (bleach) the original garment and start from zero?

        another question.
        How do you keep dies from running.
        Ie., a black shirt with a white collar.
        I had initially tried to set the die with a salt/cold water bath but one washing in warm water (grease stains) turned the collar gray. =(
        • Unsu...

          Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

          Fri, January 26, 2007 - 9:04 AM
          Liquid dyes work best if you heat them on the stove to boiling, esp for blacks. But I would use Direct dye in Blackm\, eaht to boiling with salt, then use the fix bath. See above for fixitives to set.

          If the black shirt has a white collar and is running, there's nothing you can do. Bad dye job sounds like it.
    • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Thu, August 9, 2012 - 8:25 AM
      Hair spray dissolves ordinary ball point ink. Soak the ink stain with hair spray and blot it up with a paper towel. It might take a lot of hair spray and towels and some time.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Sun, February 4, 2007 - 6:54 PM
    Hi Miyo. I can't find any black gloves for a 3-yr old girl for a wedding. Can I dye white gloves?
    Thanks, Irene
    • Unsu...

      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Mon, February 5, 2007 - 4:44 AM
      you can dye it if it's nylon, acetate, cotton. not polyesters or arylics. Acid, Disperse, even RIT/TINTTX works. dye it using very hot water on the stove.
      • Unsu...

        Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Mon, February 5, 2007 - 1:30 PM
        OK, Miyo, Thank you so much. I'll try it and see what happens!
        • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

          Tue, February 6, 2007 - 7:41 PM
          Hey Miyo, how much do you know about bleach stop? Does it really stop? I bought it from Dharma, but am a little hesitant to guarantee my customers that it won't eat away at the fabric still. : ( I would hate to have them come back later.

          basically I am trying to bleach it out...then dye it again....well paint/dye actually a pattern. It might be easier to batik, but removing the wax seems like a really big
          • Unsu...

            Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

            Wed, February 7, 2007 - 2:59 AM
            It works. It's doing a chemical reversable of bleach. I also use citric acid to stop the bleachiing processand it works as well. I've done it to countless Broadway costumes; bleaching and dyeing fabrics and it hasn't fallen apart yet. :-)

            If you want to remove color without damaging the fabric, you can get a discharge paste which is safe for fabrics. This paste is thick and you can paint it on, then let dry and iron or steam it which takes the color away. It doesn't get completely white though.

            also if you want to remove color a safer chemical Thiourea dioxide. This is what I use at work. It smells horribly, so ventilate! I bleach bleach as a last resort for color removal. I also use Thiourea. Wear a mask!


            As for batiking. An easier way to remove the wax is to take it to a dry cleaner. The chemicals they use remove the wax. Or take your waxed piece, using paper towels and an iron, start melting the wax off. Takes time. I'm not a fabric painter/batiker so someone else might kow better than I.

            good luck!
            • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

              Thu, February 8, 2007 - 12:04 AM
              Thanks Miyo! Well that's encouraging! I did also buy the discharge paste, but the bleaching has a much better effect. So many processes to get through. I was a little eager on a trial and didn't go through the right steps, so my pants have small holes from the bleach. The fabric just isn't as strong in that area any more. Which is why I was worried.

              I am somewhat impatient for results. : )
              • Unsu...

                Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

                Thu, February 8, 2007 - 4:45 AM
                Bleaching does make it whiter but you need to stop the bleaching process. I'm pretty sure Dharma sells an anti-chlorine chemical to rinse the bleached fabric.
              • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

                Thu, February 8, 2007 - 8:57 PM
                I've been drawing on black t-shirts with a mr. clean. bleach pen. it's got a big end and a little end, and it doesn't bleach out to pure white, more like an ivory color which is fine with me. I'd never heard of discharge paste before, but now if I need large areas or a rubber stamp or something, I will go get me some!
                • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

                  Thu, February 8, 2007 - 10:24 PM
                  I actually tried the discharge paste again tonight. It definitely works. I tried it on a brown cotton lycra...beautiful! A plum cotten lycra...not too bad, but the most important anything. : (
                  But the bleaching worked fabulous on the black and pretty good on the other colors. So with the discharge paste...what procedure would I have to do in order to dye/paint it the discharged area?

                  I'm trying to create some funky designs on t-shirts for re-sale.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

                    Fri, February 9, 2007 - 4:04 AM
                    Black fabrics go trhough a very strong dyeing process and is impossible to get a true white by discharging. Also some black fabrics work better than others. I found that bleaching does work better for blacks but neutralize it afterwards.

                    Once you are done with discharging, In order to dye colors into it, simply overdye the entire piece. It might effect your black color slightly, shifting it towards a warmer black (reds) or cooler (greens). You could paint the bleached area using a fiber reactive dye paste but the procedure is long.

                    For more dyeing prodecures go to Pro Chemical and ask for their dyeing and painting information pamplets.

                • Unsu...

                  Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

                  Fri, February 9, 2007 - 3:56 AM
                  Rpwen, it very important once you have finished bleaching to stop the process. Take your piece, and rinse with cold water, then dip in a bath of water with some vinegar or citric acid. This will neutralize the bleaching.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

                    Fri, February 9, 2007 - 12:17 PM
                    Thank you Miyo! I will do so on my next shirt. The last one had airbubbles in the thick bleach line and I spent way too long poking bubbles. then, on the lines I had missed, there were these cool, tiny rings where the bubbles were. cute and unexpected.

                    Got another question for you while I'm here, d'you think I could dye my couch? the entire thing? I saw it on Trading Spaces one time. They used Rit liquid dye applied with some kind of sponges. my couch is very textural, and I don't think it would be a problem with some blotchiness. what do you think?
                    • Unsu...

                      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

                      Fri, February 9, 2007 - 3:23 PM

                      <Got another question for you while I'm here, d'you think I could dye my couch? the entire thing? I saw it on Trading Spaces one time. They used Rit liquid dye applied with some kind of sponges. my couch is very textural, and I don't think it would be a problem with some blotchiness. what do you think?>

                      my opinion...NO WAY! and they used RIT? omg. I am shuddering. :-) I'm guessing they never discussed what happens if someone wearing white sits down or if a liquid is spilt on it.....

                      Don't do it! RIT is not color fast and the problems you will come across will be very worrisome indeed. It'll rub off. I swear I'm gonna call them now...... ;-)
                      • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

                        Fri, February 9, 2007 - 6:19 PM
                        so, I'm guessing the couch they spray painted probably didn't work out either, huh?
                        lol, I knew that wouldn't work. They did a lot of things on that show that I knew wouldn't work, but I watched just for the sheer outrageousness of it!
                        You are a precious resource on our forum, thank you so much!
  • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Fri, February 9, 2007 - 4:15 PM
    Thanks for all of your tips. Such good advice. I have been tie dyeing since 1981 using fiber reactive dyes on cotton (mostly purchased from Pro Chemical). Tie dyeing is my therapy. I would love to share how I dye. I don't immerse my fabric and shirts in the dye however. I have the dye mixed in squeeze bottles and apply from the bottle to the fabric. I don't want to take away from your thread but would love to share how I tie dye if you or anyone is interested. Please let me know.

    • Unsu...

      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Tue, May 22, 2007 - 8:01 PM
      hey Davorra, please share your technique!!! i don't have time to use reactives in bottles.
      • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Tue, May 22, 2007 - 8:32 PM
        Here is how I do my dyeing. I will try to keep it informative but concise.

        I use PRO MX REACTIVE DYES available from Pro Chemical or Dharma. Salt - Kosher salt is prefered. ARM & HAMMER Super Washing Soda Detergent Booster is my fixer and of course water.

        First step is mixing the dye. I mix my dye in two liter soda bottles. I use a funnel and put about two or three teaspoons of dye in the funnel. I add hot water to get the dye powder into the bottle. I then add a cup of salt. Top off the bottle with hot water and then shake hard. This dye will last for weeks. Be sure to experiment with strength to your own personal taste.

        So now the dye is made and now we move on to the dyeing process. Get a gallon milk jug and pour in two or three cups of the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. Add hot water and shake to dissolve.

        Now take your piece of fabric or article of clothing and soak in hot water for at least a half an hour. Wring it out and then tie it to your preferred style. Throw the tied article into a plastic bucket and pour the Arm & Hammer solution over it. Wait one hour........

        Next step is to the sink. I use a rack such as something that is in the oven so the fabric is not touching the bottom of the sink. Go to the bucket and get the piece of fabric that has been soaking in the fixer for an hour. Wring it out gently. Use gloves. Put the fabric in the sink. Pour your dye from the soda bottles into squirt bottles. Start dyeing. Squirt the dye on the fabric. Be liberal. Have fun. Experiment. When you are done dyeing place the dyed fabric in a plastic bag and wait at least two hours. Over night is better.......

        After you have waited get a tub or bucket of hot water and start rinsing. Switch to cold. As you see less color coming out you can then hang the fabric (not in the direct sunlight) to dry.

        Then wash in a washer and dry.


        I hope this helps. If you have any questions please feel free to pm me or ask here.
  • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Sun, April 15, 2007 - 12:39 PM
    What a nice offer! I'm going to take you up on it too. I have a very light gray skirt that I'd like to dye because I accidentally ruined it with a bit of bleach in one spot. I figure I can cover it by dying the whole thing a dark or vibrant color. Do you think this will work? The skirt is 100% cotton with a silicon coating. Underneath is a 100% cotton lining.

    Thank you for any advice you can give me!
    • Unsu...

      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Mon, April 16, 2007 - 4:17 PM
      I don't know if the silicon will prevent the dye from penetrating through. I would give it a very hot wash with soap and try dyeing it. The stitching probaby won't dye as most clothing nowadays are stitched with polyester thread which is not dyeable unless you use a special poly dye which is very toxic and not recommended.

      I dye old clothing all the time. besides the thread, sometimes the zippers. buttonholes won't dye either. If you've already washed it, it shouldn't shrink anymore.

      why not try, you can't wear it as is. :-)
      • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Fri, April 20, 2007 - 7:01 PM
        Thanks, Miyo! That's exactly what I'm thinking--even if I were to wreck the skirt, it wouldn't really matter at this point. I'll give it a try and let you know what happens, and if it's not too disastrous I'll post a picture! Thank you for your tips.

  • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Wed, April 18, 2007 - 12:25 PM
    I really want to dye some jeans orange; I'm almost ready, but they're Levi's and I don't want to dye the stitching on the back pocket if I can avoid it (pedantic, I know). Is there anything I can do to leave the pockets undyed?
    Thanks :)
    • Unsu...

      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Tue, April 24, 2007 - 6:57 AM
      you are in luck. the thread on jeans are polyester and might just tinit a tiny bit but will pretty much stay in tack, esp if you use straight Direct dyes which only dyes cotton/rayon (cellulose fibers)
      • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Wed, April 25, 2007 - 3:54 PM
        you are so sweet to offer up your excellent advice. a year later and still hanging in there. thank you, good job, pip pip.
        • Unsu...

          Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

          Wed, April 25, 2007 - 4:49 PM
          wow I didn't know this post is over a year old. :-) time sure flies....... still dyeing for my job, currently working on Little Mermaid for Broadway this Winter as well as a slew of shows gearing up for the Tony Award cut off date. busy season.

          love helping out if I can. thanks!
  • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Fri, April 27, 2007 - 11:08 PM
    Thanks so much for offering your wisdom! I know you've mentioned that acrylics will only tint with a dye process, but even so, what would you recommend as the best method for a 100% acrylic "rag" coat? It's a boring cream color, and if I used a dark red dye & ended up with a light pink after washing, I'd still be happier. A photo of the coat is in my tribe album... have you had any luck with acrylics at all? Thanks!
    • Unsu...

      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Mon, April 30, 2007 - 4:37 PM
      The problem I encountered with dyeing acrylics is that once it gets heated in the dye bath, it loses it's shape and gets wrinkly. There is a dye called Basic Dye that is for acrylics but man what a mess!

      What I would try is Disperse dye and not get the dye bath too hot, keep it warm only...the more heat, the worse it gets. Sure it'll get darker but the shape gets weird. I would even try using RIT or TINTEX dyes.

      Are you willing for the possiblity of ruining it? That's what I tell my clients who want to dye their clothing.

      I just checked out your coat.......tricky call for me. If you simple hate it cream and won't wear it as is, give it a go.

      remember, rinse rinse rinse whe you are done. oh yah add some vinegar in the bath to intensify the color.

      good luck!

      ps.....the little mermaid is prob one of the most challenging fabrics I am dyeing. like a billion colors for each mermaid. wish designers would keep it simple....would sure help ME out. ;-)
      • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Fri, May 18, 2007 - 12:11 PM
        Just wanted to post my results for attempting to dye my acrylic coat... I used 3 packages of RIT dye (2 scarlet & 1 purple) and a cup of vinegar in a very warm bath (NOT hot). I let the coat soak for an hour, and then after rinsing until the water ran clear and then putting it through the washer's delicate cycle, it came out a light bubblegum pink. It certainly isn't a bold color, but I'm very happy with it considering I thought the color might just rinse out completely. Success!!
  • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Tue, May 15, 2007 - 7:30 PM
    Has anyone ever used INKO dye. It is a clear liquid that is developed by heat. The most phenominal use of it is to wear an article of clothing such as a t shirt that has been dyed with it. Go dancing. You start the night wearing a white t shirt. By the end of the night your body heat develops the dye.
  • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Tue, May 22, 2007 - 4:41 PM
    Thank you Miyo for sharing your knowledge! :)

    I have a project in mind I am wondering how to do. I have some cotton velvet fabric with a bit of stretch, in a washed out olive green color, and would love to make a coat out of it, and spot dyie it in parts. I was thinking of hanging the coat over a pot of dye, and letting the capillary action "draw" the dye into the bottom part of the coat. I am thinking it would be kind of like an "ombre" effect, which is what I would like. Question is, I imagine the water will cool off as it goes through the fabric, so the dye might not set. Is there a cold-dye you might recommend for something like this? I would also like to add designs to the coat with dye in different parts... Any advice would be very helpful!

    • Unsu...

      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Tue, May 22, 2007 - 7:49 PM
      Lucky you! I am ombreing a ton of fabrics for The Little Mermaid. It's time consuming, but beautiful. Ombres can go from light to dark, from one color to another. More colors means more time and gets more difficult as well.

      Cotton can be dyed with direct dyes using salt and heat. You should probably also get some Pro-Fixitive from Aljo Dyes to set the color after you finish dyeing.

      Firstly wash your fabrics.
      You will need a BIG pot on the stove.

      For each piece of fabric I use the plastic hanger technique. If your coat has a lot of yardage. I would cut them into pieces; front, back and sleeves. Don't cut out the pattern but leave the fabric whole.

      Get 2 plastic hangers (per piece of fabric), overlap them about 6 inches, using strong plastic packing tape, tape them together. Then tape the bottom of the hangers. I run a long piece of tape on one side, flip the hanger and tape across again, so they tape together.

      You need big safety pins. The pins will attach the fabric to the taped bottom part of the hanger. Since yardage is wide. I fold in half, then pin to the hanger.

      Now mix your dyes with hot water and strain using a metal coffee filter.

      In the BIG pot, have lukewarm water on low heat. Add some dye (not a lot).
      Wet your fabrics on the hanger.
      Start dipping the fabric slowly into the pot.
      Add more dye as you go along.
      Keep dipping. If you want it light to dark, dip less and less.
      the heat will get the dye bath hot which is good. Never boil!

      It is gonna take time so be prepared for the long haul.
      If you want it faster and sharper looking, you can use a hot dye bath with heated water off the stove. Dip what part you want and leave the rest out of the pot. You will have to watch this as some of the fabric will pucker up from the bath. Use a long wooden spoon to poke the exposed fabric down.

      After you are done, rinse well. You can use your shower to do this (just bleach your tub afterwards)
      Remove the safety pins.
      Have a hot fixitive bath ready to put fabric into. Follow the directions.

      I might have that direction above in past posts.

      any qs, ask away.

      I've been sick for months and might not be clear with these directions, but hope it's good enough. Mermaids are killin me!

      • Unsu...

        Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Tue, May 22, 2007 - 7:56 PM
        Pour dyeing or Mottle dyeing is another technique.

        wash and keep fabric wet in a tub or pot. Scrunch up the fabric evenly.
        Have boiling water ready.

        Mix dyes strong with boiling water, strain, then add salt.
        Pour dye into spots of the fabric.
        You can shift the fabric around to expose more areas and pour dye again.
        This technique allows for multiple colors to be poured on.

        The best dyes for this on natural fabric is reactive dyes. Pro-Chemical has directions on how to do this. It's a much longer process because reactives take longer But it is the best for color-fastness.

        I don't have time at work to use reactives when pour dyeing so I use Direct for natural fibers, then set it with a fixitive bath.
  • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Sun, May 27, 2007 - 3:29 PM
    Hi Miyo,

    I have an acid green sweater (new and never been washed) -- 95% cotton, 5% poly -- that I want to fade out (severely) to a light green, or at least a non-fluourescent version of what it is. I've heard that it's possible to do this wish a hot salt wash...? how much salt? should I soak it? Is this even possible, or do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance!
    • Unsu...

      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Mon, May 28, 2007 - 3:00 PM
      salt won't do it.
      RIT sells color remover BUT you have no control of what color it turns into. safe rthan bleach which is what I would use. bleach, rinse in cold water.Dip in a vinegar bath afterwards to stop the bleaching process.
      • trouble bleaching silk

        Tue, May 29, 2007 - 9:48 AM
        Hello Miyo, thanks for all your good advice. I bought a bunch of second hand silk shirts of all colors, and I want to make them white or ivory or light grey (whatever --for a ghost costume). Bleaching discolored them, but didn't get color out. You wrote earlier that silk needs acid dye. Does bleach not work on silk because it is a base? can I still use bleach or do i need something else?

        If you can give me some tips on this, and on fast distressing of silk, I would love it. Thanks! You're great!
        • Unsu...

          Re: trouble bleaching silk

          Fri, June 1, 2007 - 9:50 PM
          Dex, do NOT USE bleach for silks. It will eat away the fibers.
          Get either Color remover made by RIT or TINTIX or something called thoix sold at Pro-Chemical and Aljo Dyes, both of them are online as well.

          This will smell, but will remove most of the color. Getting them pure white is almost impossible for a home dyer. It'll turn a greyish/yellow at best. You will have to use high heat...stove top color removing is best. PLEASE ventilate, open a window. it will smell like rotten eggs. and use a face mask if possible.

          follow the directions provided both by Pro-Chemical or Aljo. If you use RIT or TINTEX, follow the box directions.

          afterwards after rinsing in cold, dip in a cold water bath with some vinegar to neutralize the bleach.
          • Re: trouble bleaching silk

            Tue, June 5, 2007 - 7:16 AM
            Also ammonia will remove color from silk, but not get it white. And will stink terribly! Chlorine bleach will react with the fiber and the chlorine will give it a greenish cast....manufactureres use an oxygen bleach process.
  • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Tue, May 29, 2007 - 3:09 PM
    hello, I´m starting an small bussiness about re dying black t shirts with heavy metal prints. What´s the process? what kind of materials do I have to use to avoid damaging the prints?
    • Unsu...

      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Fri, June 1, 2007 - 9:51 PM
      Firstly is the print already on the shirts? or ar you printiing afterwards.

      lemme know before I can give you my advice.
  • Sand/Ivory to Lime?

    Tue, June 12, 2007 - 12:31 AM
    I have a duvet cover which is a 'sand/light beige' colour on one side and 'ivory' on the other. It no longer goes with my bedroom colours and I would love to dye it to match my green colour scheme...I was thinking a lime coloured dye - would this work?
    • Unsu...

      Re: Sand/Ivory to Lime?

      Tue, June 12, 2007 - 5:13 AM
      Melanie, what is the fiber content? If it's Cotton, the answer is yes. :-)
      • Re: Sand/Ivory to Lime?

        Wed, June 13, 2007 - 4:51 AM
        Thanks - Yes - its cotton - but I wasn't sure what shade of colour it would take on the darker beige/sand side of the duvet cover....I suspect the ivory will go a lime colour, but what colour would be produced from lime dye and beige/sand base?
        • Unsu...

          Re: Sand/Ivory to Lime?

          Wed, June 13, 2007 - 8:33 AM
          it will be a more creamy lime. If you want the brightest effect of color, use fiber reactive dyes. if you use direct dyes, it wont be nearly as bright as even less so using RIT/TINTEX dyes.

          one way to test it is to go inside the duvet and take a small snip of fabric and dye it. don't boil it though.
  • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

    Sun, July 22, 2007 - 9:23 PM
    I don't know if this has been addressed and I am too lazy to go through all these posts. Just yesterday I purchased a way discounted pair of dark colored Seven Jeans in Marshalls. Wore it today only to have the dye press onto my cotton tote bag. I have gone through I don't know how many washes, hot water/cold/detergent/no detergent/salt added. I have finally given up on waiting to have no dye come off the jeans. Should I throw it in the drier for like one hour at high heat or return it to the store in defeat? I have already contacted the Seven Jeans company to complain.
    • Unsu...

      Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

      Sat, August 4, 2007 - 2:40 PM
      sorry it took so long for me to post.

      I would do this. In cold water wash cycle, add a cup of bleach, then add soap and jeans. the jean dye is very strong, as you witnessed and you will only lose a tad of color. do a quick wash, dry in dryer, and see if that works.
      • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

        Sat, August 4, 2007 - 6:01 PM
        do you think that doing a cold water wash with vinegar would help to set the color in those jeans?
        • Unsu...

          Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

          Sun, August 5, 2007 - 12:38 PM
          not really. it's a quick fix that doesn't really work. bleach in cold water doesn't fade the jeans much. It takes GALLONS of bleach to get a dark pair into a fade light blue.

          hey all I'm prob not going to be posting much as it's that time again....burning man frenzy.
          • Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

            Sat, October 20, 2007 - 11:17 AM
            Hi!!! I am really tired of a winter coat I bought just two years ago. I want to DYE it!!! I don't think I'll wear it again as is and I realize that I could end up ruining it. However, I hate getting rid of something that I could alter and end up liking it again. I KNOW polyester is not suitable for dying, but it can be tinted right? Description of the coat: shell and lining: 100% polyester, 100% polysester. Trim: genuine coyote fur. Filler:down and feathers (70% down cluster, 30% feathers) It is a cream/off white color. The buttons, zipper and a few designs are gold.
            I know this will be difficult. However, it shows dirt so well. It looks so old and dirty around the end of the sleeves and around the collar. I have never died anything but a t-shirt. I was planning on doing this is my bath tub. (is that a mistake? will it stain the tub?) I also thought a dark brown shade would be best since it will only tint polyester and it may come out a tan/mocha shade maybe???? If you could please give me tips and a complete description of what I need to do in order to make this come out as best as possible, I'd appreciate it. I have another winter coat. But I would like to revive this one and have it as an option. I know its risky! I'm prepared for the sacrifice!!! lol

            Thanks a bunch!!!
            • Unsu...

              Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

              Sat, October 20, 2007 - 10:52 PM
              It will likely tint only, as you thought.. in which case all that crappy dirt will still show.

              Your tub will possibly be stained, especially if it's an old one that's etched (not shiny any more) from years of cleaning.

              I'd remove that coyote before you start.
              • Unsu...

                Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

                Mon, October 22, 2007 - 4:05 AM
                yes I agree as well. I have never dyed in a bathtub.
                I would rather use a washer, fill with very warm wtaer and diluted dye mix and hand stir.
                but mostly likely the dirt will show or the dyeing might make it worse by bring out stains not seen visibly.

                if you are willing to let the coat go, give a go.
                • Unsu...

                  Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

                  Mon, October 22, 2007 - 10:26 AM
                  You could try soaking the coat in something Iike Oxyclean or Biz first to see if you can get any of the stains out. It's what we use on antique & vintage clothing at the costume house I worked at, & it gets out an amazing amount of stuff you thought had become part of the garment.

                  Making sure, of course.. to wash the coat afterwards.. rinse it well to get out of the soap.. & dye it while it's stil wet, but not drippingly so.

                  If you use the washer method.. run a couple of loads of stuff similar in colour, or old towels to help clean out the machine..
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Dyeing tips and tricks

                    Mon, October 22, 2007 - 3:56 PM
                    and add some bleach. that's how I clean my washers. I dye stuff in my washers all the time, bleach afterwards.
  • dyeing loop terry

    Mon, November 12, 2007 - 12:35 AM
    hi miyong!

    thanks for offering your indispensible advice regarding dyeing tips = )

    i bought a white loop terry dress (Loop Terrycloth 80% Cotton, 20% Polyester , with extra thick fleece rib) from american apparel and would like to dye it into a pale yellow.

    1. what kind/brand of