Okay, elementary school art class brush-up!
Well, I had nearly a whole bottle of red dye leftover after the last adventure. What to do with it?
I grabbed a purple, knit skirt that I LOVE, but for the cut, not the color. The purple was definitely too bright for my tastes (I’m more of a jewel-tones kinda girl), but unfortunately brights seem to be in right now. Also grabbed a pair of grey heather leggings – thought it would be interesting to see what happened to the heathering in the dye. Took pictures of them in the bathroom because I figured that would be the easiest place to duplicate the lighting with before and afters.
Dyed in my kitchen sink this time, as I wasn’t sure both items would fit in the trash bin. After a twenty-minute-ish soak (supposed to be 30, but I’m impatient), rinsing, washing, and drying for 24 hours, they did emerge a different color:
Sitting next to the leggings, I honestly couldn’t tell if the skirt had change changed color that much, so I grabbed a shirt that was nearly the same color that the skirt had been.
Okay, yes, color changed. Not dramatically, but definitely into a color family I liked more. Don’t even know what color to call the skirt now. Wine, maybe? Regardless, I’m thrilled with the result.
So after two dyeing ventures, I came up with some tips for y’all in case you want to try dyeing something, too!
1. The color something looks in the dye bath is NOT indicative of the final color. You’ve just got to wait and see. Really, the dye bath for these guys looked disgusting – blackish brown. I couldn’t even tell which item was which.
2. Even though the instructions say to wet the fabric before putting it in the dye bath, I would skip this next time. Remember as a kid at the pool playing with your swimsuit? Wet fabric becomes like a balloon. For dyeing, this means you need to constantly be pushing it down, moving it around*, flipping it so that all fibers get about equal time in the bath – but then the air bubbles just move someplace else. Grrr.
* Yeah, the instructions say to stir constantly anyway, but I’m always on the lookout for shortcuts.
3. Rit dye smells. Not bad or strong, but there’s definitely a chemically odor. Open a window or do this outside.
4. Will it dye your metal sink? Yes. Badly? No. A little Comet on a sponge, some light rubbing, and things are good as new. The dye DOES like to settle into the scratches, though, so those areas will take a bit more work.
5. Will it dye your hands? Yes. I wasn’t stirring the bath with my bare fingers, but I did have to rinse and wash the clothes afterwards. With red dye, this wasn’t a big problem because your hands just get a bit pinker – like you’ve been clapping a lot. But if you’re using green or blue, well, might want to pick up some gloves.
6. “Rinse until the water runs clear.” Grr. I think most of us HATE instructions like these because you KNOW it’ll take FOREVER for the water to run clear. I probably drained half of Barker Reservoir with the water needed to rinse these items until the water ran (almost) clear. But don’t skip this step! I had to keep reminding myself it was either rinse now, or have my legs turn red later.
7. Most thread is nylon and therefore doesn’t absorb dye. So if you’re trying to take a white shirt to black or grey leggings to red, keep this in mind.
I love how about an hour of work took something from a color I don’t like to a color I do. I highly doubt this’ll be my last venture into dyeing, and I suggest you give it a whirl as well.