How to Dye Fabric & Clothes: Step by Step Guide

Dying fabrics is a great way to transfer color to your fabrics and clothes. Fabric dye is one of the easiest and quickest ways to add color to a fabric.

You can dye your t-shirts, fabric tea towels, curtains, sheets, and pillowcases, and some other cotton items. In this post, I’m gonna show you how to dye fabric at home step by step.

how to dye fabric at home

So, if you want to dye your fabric at home, read this full content. Hope you’ll be able to dye your clothes and fabrics at home.

Learn How to Dye Fabric Step by Step at Home

Things You Needed:

  • Fabric liquid or powder dye
  • An old vinyl tablecloth or plastic drop cloth
  • Stainless sink or plastic bucket, washing machine. Don’t use porcelain or fiberglass sink, because they might absorb the dye.
  • Salt or white distilled vinegar
  • Warm water
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Metal large spoon
  • Old fabric or paper towels
  • chlorine bleach

Buy Commercial Fabric Dye:

When you decide to dye your clothing, at first buy fabric dye. You can visit your nearest craft or fabric store to buy a fabric dye, hope you’ll get what you want.

But also you can buy fabric dye online as well. Fabric dye comes in liquid or powder, both work fine.

Rit is one of the most popular fabric dye brands and this fabric dye brand is widely available in a large selection of colors, so If you want you can try Rit.

Prepare Your Workplace:

Before you start mixing dye or before dying your clothes, it’s a good idea to cover your workspace.

Take your plastic drop cloth or old vinyl tablecloth and then lay it over the area, where you want to work. Also, you can use an old bed sheet or an old rag, just use something to make sure that you don’t get dyed everywhere.

Prepare Your Fabric to Dye:

To get a better result, you need to start with a clean fabric. So, if you want to dye your old fabric, just wash it before you get started.

But also it’s a good idea to wash your new fabric as well, don’t use fabric softeners.

Dye Fabric in a Bucket or Sink Step by Step:

Step One: Put on Your Rubber Gloves:

Before you start mixing dye put your rubber hand gloves on to make sure you don’t get dyed your hand.

Step Two: Mix Your Dye with Salt or Distilled Vinegar and Water:

At first, mix your dye before you put it into the bucket or sink. To do this, put 2 cups of water in a bucket or small container and then add your dye. After that, add one cup of salt if you dying a cotton fabric or add white distilled vinegar if you dye silk, nylon, or wool, and then use your spoon to mix it well.

Step Three: Add Warm Water to The Bucket: 

Take your big bucket and add warm water to the bucket. Put enough water to cover the fabric that you want to dye.

Don’t put too much hot water or too much cold, nearly to boiling water should be fine.

Step Four: Add Your Mixed Dye to The Bucket: 

Add your mixed dye into the bucket, and mix it well. Use your large spoon or a stick to stir so that you don’t get dye on your hand.

Step Five: Test Your Dye Color: 

Take an old white fabric or paper towel ad then dip it into the dye to test the color.

If you see it’s too light, then add some more dye, but if you see its good enough then don’t add dye. But if you see it’s darker, then add some water.

Step Six: Wet Down Your Fabric and Add to The Dye: 

If you washed your fabric and dry it or you have a new clean dry fabric, then wet down your fabric with a little warm water and then put it into the dye mixture and stir your fabric in the mixture.

Use your metal spoon to submerge your fabric.

Step Seven: Let Your Fabric to Soak: 

Your fabric needs to soak in the dye mixture for at least 12/15 minutes.

But you can leave your fabric in the dye mixture longer. It depends on how dark you want to make your fabric.

Step Eight: Take off Your Fabric from Dye: 

Check your fabric to find out if the color is perfect. If you see it’s good enough, then take it off from the dye mixture.

Step Nine: Rinse Out The Dye: 

In your sink, you can rinse your fabric under cold or little warm water. Do it until you see the water runs clear.

Step Ten: Wash & Dry Your Fabric: 

You can hand wash or wash it in a washing machine as normally you do. And then hang it for air dry or use a machine to dry your fabric.

Step Eleven: Clean up Your Sink or Bucket: 

After that, immediately clean up your bucket or sink, and tools that you’ve used with warm water and chlorine bleach.

Dye Fabric in a Standard Washing Machine Step by Step:

Step 1:

Fill up your top-load washing machine with warm water. Medium boiling water should be good enough.

Step 2: 

Once you’ve added warm water into your washing machine, add your dye and then stir it with your metal large spoon to mix it well.

And then you can add one cup of salt for cotton fabric, or you can add one cup of distilled white vinegar for other fabrics such as wool, silk, and nylon. And then stir to mix it well once again.

Step 3: 

Test your dye color, to do this dip your old clean white fabric or paper towel into the dye mixture. If the color is too light then add some more dye.

But if the color is too dark then add a little more water add then test it again. Make it perfect like what you want.

Step 4: 

At first, if you wash your fabric and it’s still wet then you don’t need to wet it down, but if your fabric is pre-washed but not wet then wet it down with warm water and then add it to the mixture.

Step 5: 

After that, set your washing machine for wash cycle time 30 minutes, for wash and rinse as well.

Step 6: 

Once the washing cycle is complete, you must run another cycle by using a warm water wash and a clod water rinse as well.

Step 7:

Once you’ve done with the washing machine, remove your fabric from the machine, and then hang it for air dry or you can dry it with a machine.

Step 8:

As soon as possible clean up your washing machine. To do this add warm water and one or two cups of chlorine bleach to the washing machine and then run it for a full cycle.

Also, wipe down around the lid and top as well.

Read more: How to turn acrylic paint into fabric paint

Dye Your Fabric Black Step by Step

Step 1: Use a Black Fabric Dye:

If you want to dye a fabric black, which is made out of natural fibers such as silk, cotton, wool, and linen, most of the fabric black dye will work perfectly. But if you want to dye a fabric, which is made out of synthetic fibers such as spandex acrylic, or polyester, select a black fabric dye that is designed for synthetic fabrics.

Step 2: Fill up Your Bucket with Warm Water:

Add warm water to your bucket, make sure to use a large bucket. Also, you should add enough water to your bucket. Don’t use cold water, using warm water will give you the best result.

Step 3: Add Your Dye Into The Bucket: 

Before you add your black fabric dye into the bucket, read the dye label to find out how much dye you should use.

If you want to have a dark, solid black color you can add more dye. And then use a large metal spoon or a stick to stir the dye, and then stir the dye thoroughly with your spoon or stick.

Step 4: Add Salt: 

You can use 60 ml of salt for 0.5-pound fabric. add salt into the bucket and mix it well.

Step 5: Add Your Fabric Into The Dye Mixture: 

If your fabric is not wet, wet it down and then put it into the dye mixture.

Step 6: Stir Your Fabric in The Dye Mixture with a Metal Spoon or Stick: 

Now stir your fabric in the mixture with a metal spoon or a stick, make sure you did it perfectly to get a better result.

Step 7: Let Your Fabric to Soak for at Least 40-60 Minutes:

Just let your fabric soak in the dye mixture for at least 40 minutes. But you can let it longer to get a darker color.

Step 8: Remove Your Fabric from Dye Mixture: 

Once you’ve waited for enough time, remove your fabric from the bucket.

Step 9: Just Apply a Dye Fixative Before Rinsing The Fabric: 

Now apply dye fixative on your fabric, fixative will help the dye cling to the fibers of the fabric, which makes the final color looks more vibrant.

Simply spray dye fixative over the entire surface of your fabric and then let your fabric for 25 minutes.

Step 10: Rinse Your Fabric with Warm and Cold Water: 

At first, rinse your fabric with warm water. After that, rinse your fabric with cold water, do it until you see the water runs clear.

When you see water runs clear, stop rinsing your fabric, and then ring out any excess water perfectly.

Step 11: Wash Your Fabric and Dry it:

Now wash your dyed fabric as normally you wash your clothes, and then dry your fabric.

Also read more: Some tips for using fabric markers

Some Tips and Tricks for Dying Success:

Tip 1: You must never put dye directly on your fabric. If you do this, it will cause the color to be uneven.

Tip 2: To get the richest color, make sure the warm water is at least 140 degrees F. or 60 degrees C.

Tip 3: When you using darker colors such as black, dark green, or deep brown, use some extra dye for a better result.

Tip 4: When you dying synthetic fabrics, purchase a dye that is specially designed for synthetic fabrics.

Tip 5: Use a dye fixative, it will help cotton fabrics to maintain the color for a long time.

Tip 6: After you dying your items, always wash your items separately or with similar color items in warm or cold water. You can add old towels or clean white cloths to capture any loose dye.

Final Verdict:

Hope now you know the right ways to dye fabric step by step. When you want to dye your fabric always make sure that you start with a clean and wet fabric. And before you dye your new fabric, dye an old piece of fabric to test your dye.

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