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  #1  
Old 01-05-2011, 11:40 AM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Best fabric dye for cotton? Polyester?

The coffers are a bit bare this year, and my wardrobe is looking a bit drab. While some things will ahve to be replaced, many would be fine if they weren't fading just a bit. So I want to do some dying, especially of my dark clothing.

The majority of the fabrics are cotton or mostly cotton. I have used "RIT" fabric dyes in the past but was unimpressed. There really doesn't seem to be a lot of choice in the local stores, although I haven't yet made it over to the megacraft (Michael's) to see what they might have.

So: Question 1 is What dye brands have you been particularly happy with for dyeing cotton fabric? The colors are mostly dark navy blue and black if it matters.

Question 2 would be is there any cotton fabric dye that should not be used on a polyster blend? (I understand that the polyester fibres won't pick it up, I just don't want them to disintegrate.)

Question 3 is it actually possible to home dye polyester at all? If so, brand recommendations?

Question 4 What don't I know that I don't know? Enlighten me!

Any on-line sources if you have them would also be greatly appreciated!

Thanks Dopers!
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  #2  
Old 01-05-2011, 02:55 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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I have heard of, but never used, Jacquard dye for cotton:
http://www.pacificwoolandfiber.com/J...0MX%20Dyes.htm
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  #3  
Old 01-05-2011, 03:07 PM
ENugent ENugent is offline
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My go-to store for dyeing (and all textile projects) is Dharma Trading. Their Procion dyes for cotton are excellent. That said, black is hard to achieve. I've not tried their polyester dyes, but generally all of the information and products I've found there have been good, so I would assume that they are, too.
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  #4  
Old 01-05-2011, 03:08 PM
Lasciel Lasciel is offline
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It is nearly impossible to dye artificial fibers in a home environment.

RIT is the mainstay for natural fibers, and that is all that you'll find most places.

Check sites like www.dharmatrading.com for more information about home-dyeing different types of natural fabrics (and even some info on artificial fibers, but like I said, that's really difficult and usually expensive).

This page: http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/3246-AA.shtml in particular is quite helpful.

There are some really great dyes out there, but they can get really expensive when you're looking for more permanent and more vibrant options than RIT.

I don't know that home dyeing is really a market for broke people trying to extend their wardrobes any longer, sadly.
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  #5  
Old 01-05-2011, 03:58 PM
cwthree cwthree is offline
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Jaquard brand Procion MX fiber-reactive dyes in combination with soda ash fixer are very good for dyeing cotton and other cellulose-based fibers, such as rayon, tencel, and hemp. ENugent is correct that black is hard to achieve. Jaquard sells several shades of black (warm black, jet black, etc.), but I wouldn't expect any of them to completely cover a different color or pattern without some show-through. However, if you're simply trying to refresh the color on a garment that was originally solid black or dark blue, you should be able to get a satisfactory result with Procion dyes.

As Lasciel said, it's next to impossible to dye artificial fibers, such as polyester, at home. I have dyed cotton blends with Procion. The cotton component of the fabric took up the dye just fine, but the polyester didn't take it up at all. The dye didn't harm the polyester, though - I just ended up with a kind heathery-looking fabric (dye color + white). Don't try this on garments stitched with white polyester thread unless you want the stitching to be very visible when you're done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TruCelt
Question 4 What don't I know that I don't know? Enlighten me!
When the directions warn you to weigh the fabric before you start, they're serious. Dry weight is the best way to calculate the amount of dye to use.

When the directions advise you to use what seems like a ridiculous amount of dye for certain colors (usually darker shades such as purples, dark blues, and blacks), they're serious.

You will get more even dyeing if you use LOTS of water so that the fabric can move around in the dyebath.

Don't be alarmed at the end of the dyeing process when you pour off the water and it looks like there's still a lot of dye left in the water. A little excess dye goes a long way adding color to water. As long as you followed directions, you are not throwing away perfectly good dye.

Wear gloves when handling dye and dyestuffs, unless you want to explain to your co-workers why you have green (blue, pink, whatever) fingernails and cuticles. Ask me how I know this!

If you're dyeing a garment made of a patterned fabric, consider using a dye color that will harmonize with the existing colors rather than trying to obliterate the pattern with a very dark color. As mentioned before, it's hard to really cover up a pattern with Procion blue or black.

Last edited by cwthree; 01-05-2011 at 04:00 PM..
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  #6  
Old 01-05-2011, 04:04 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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If I'm doing a set of navy blue, and a set of black, should I do the navy, leave the dye in the vat, and just add the black dye to it? Or would I actually be working against the goal of getting the black as dark as possible? I would prefer a "bluish" black over the other options in ENu's link.

Las, you're right int hat it's more expensive than I though, but still much cheaper than replacing all those socks and slacks. I have trouble wearing most fibers, so everything has to be cotton based, and thus fades long before it wears.
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  #7  
Old 01-05-2011, 04:09 PM
ENugent ENugent is offline
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Socks? Socks are probably not going to take dye well at all. Most will have lycra in them that you cannot dye at home.

Dharma does sell white cotton socks that take dye very well. I have no idea what kind of magic they perform to get this to work.

Start over with a new vat for the black. If you're tub dyeing with a Procion dye, the directions will have you mix in soda ash to "fix" the dye. The leftover soda ash in the bath will interfere with the next color.

Oh, and follow the directions about water temperature, too.
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  #8  
Old 01-05-2011, 04:12 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Thanks everyone!

whoops! Ninja'd by C3


Yes, just refreshing, not trying to make any changes in the pattern etc.

More questions:

The directions I've seen in the past always say to wet the fabric first. This is counterintitive. It would seem that the fabric sucking in the dye bath would dye more deeply/completely if you start with the fabric dry. Can anyone explain why wetting the fabric first is a good idea?

Am I correct in thinking that I need to wash the clothes first if they have been dried with softener sheets?

Last edited by TruCelt; 01-05-2011 at 04:12 PM..
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  #9  
Old 01-05-2011, 04:14 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Do I need to be careful how I dispose of the dye afterwards? Can I just pour off the tub in the yard, or is it hazmat?

Since the socks started out black, I'm guessing the lycra in them is already black too. I'm just trying to re-dye the faded cotton part.

Last edited by TruCelt; 01-05-2011 at 04:14 PM..
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  #10  
Old 01-05-2011, 05:01 PM
cwthree cwthree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
The directions I've seen in the past always say to wet the fabric first. This is counterintitive. It would seem that the fabric sucking in the dye bath would dye more deeply/completely if you start with the fabric dry. Can anyone explain why wetting the fabric first is a good idea?

Am I correct in thinking that I need to wash the clothes first if they have been dried with softener sheets?
The "wet before dyeing" thing seems counterintuitive, but it works because it slows and equalizes dye uptake. Dry fiber and fabric tend to absorb dye unevenly. Have you ever tried to wipe up a spill with a totally dry rag or sponge, only to have it leave behind lots of liquid? By contrast, if you dampen the sponge or rag first and wring it out well, it will actually soak up the liquid better. The same principle applies to dyeing.

Do wash the clothes in hot water and detergent before dyeing. The residue from the softener sheets will interfere with dye uptake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
Do I need to be careful how I dispose of the dye afterwards? Can I just pour off the tub in the yard, or is it hazmat?

Since the socks started out black, I'm guessing the lycra in them is already black too. I'm just trying to re-dye the faded cotton part.
Procion dyes are supposed to be non-toxic. I suppose you could pour it on the ground away from food plants and away from anywhere that animals might lick it up. I've always poured the exhausted dyebath down the drain on the assumption that "non-toxic" means "non-toxic to humans in incidental quantities." My home drains to a sanitary sewer, not a septic tank. I don't know if that's a consideration for you.

If the socks started out black, it's quite possible that the lycra is holding its color just fine and it's the mainly the cotton that's fading. In any case, a trip through the dyebath will freshen the color and make them look less faded.
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  #11  
Old 03-15-2012, 11:58 PM
SwedishAngel1 SwedishAngel1 is offline
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Fabric Dye for Polyester...

I dyed 1 100% Polyester White Lace Curtain Panel to Pink by:

* In a large Bucket
* Put in 2-4 tins regular Dylon fabric dye (pink or desired color)
* Pour in 4-6 full bottles of rubbing alcohol (with alcohol as first ingredient) = (NOT hot or heated)
* Pour in full medium pot of boiling hot water
* Stir
* Sit in bucket for 2 hours and Stir occasionally
* Hand Squeeze fabric by hand with gloves on
* Put item in dryer alone on cool temperature in the dryer for 30 mins (don't rinse and don't wash)

Color came out nice and even and fabric was soft and did not stink...
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  #12  
Old 03-17-2012, 11:29 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
Question 3 is it actually possible to home dye polyester at all? If so, brand recommendations?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasciel View Post
It is nearly impossible to dye artificial fibers in a home environment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwthree View Post
As Lasciel said, it's next to impossible to dye artificial fibers, such as polyester, at home.
I beg to differ. I do it all the time. What's more, I do it with non-toxic materials. Check out this 100% polyester polo shirt tie-dye. Sorry it's such a bad photo, but the only camera I have right now is my phone.

Since I've told dozens of people IRL about this, and since no one ever bothers to use them besides me, I'll share my secret with any Doper who reads this thread. I've been using these products to tie-dye for over 25 years now.

The iridescent ones are tricky to use, and the transparent ones don't work well at all, but all of the opaques and fluorescents work equally well on cotton, silk or polyester. They are water-based, so diluting them is easy.

I've used them to dye a few items "whole cloth", and that is kind of tricky because you have to make sure that the dye gets applied evenly and stays that way as the item dries. I usually dilute in a bucket, let it soak for a day or so, then dry it flat. If there are still anomalies, I repeat the process. Black is still difficult, but can be achieved by diluting as little as possible.

Once the article is dry, you just have to iron it to get the dye to set.

These colors will never fade once they are set into the fabric, btw.

Now that said, these aren't cheap. You can find them at some fabric/hobby stores and prolly at a real art supply store, or you can order them online. I get mine from Dick Blick Art Supplies.

For tie-dying, the small 2oz bottles will do colors for 4 or 5 shirts, as long as you dilute them a bit with water. You really have to do this, so the color will spread thru the fabric and not just blot up where you apply it.

For whole cloth dying, I get the 16oz bottle. I use roughly half at once and dilute it as little as possible while still being able to completely submerge the article of clothing.

Again, whole cloth dying is hard because it's difficult to achieve a flat, uniform color with this media. I keep meaning to get a sprayer and try that, but so far I've not bothered; I wear a lot of tie-dyes.

But, if you want to do some creative dying, and want to use easy, non-messy (cleans up with soap and water), non-toxic media that will produce vivid non-fading colors, this is the way to go IMO.

If anyone wants, I can post pics of other shirts (cotton & poly), silk scarves, etc.
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  #13  
Old 03-18-2012, 05:26 AM
Corcaigh Corcaigh is offline
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I've used Dylon dye to some success on clothes, I've a black hoodie that was going grey, which darkened back nicely, same with indigo jeans. I've dyed a pair of grey jeans black, but they look a bit peculiar and the thighs look brown

I've tried dying polyester cotton blend sheets several times, and it never works properly - a white sheet dyed black came out grey, a light blue sheet dyed navy came out two tone blue, a white sheet dyed 'bahamian blue' came out with a tie-dyed effect.

I've never had anything come up the same colour as the 'patch' on the box, they always come up lighter.
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  #14  
Old 03-18-2012, 10:56 PM
F.Pu-du-he-pa-as F.Pu-du-he-pa-as is offline
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While we're on the subject of dying, have any of you tried dying silk? How did that go for you? I do a lot of home sewing, and I thought that buying white silk crepe de chine and dying it would be a more inexpensive way to go than buying it pre-dyed. I don't need to shoot for a specific color; most shades of the colors I usually use (blue, green, purple) look good on me.
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  #15  
Old 03-19-2012, 10:45 AM
ENugent ENugent is offline
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I've dyed lots of silk scarves for play. The easiest way to do it is to soak them in vinegar, then use Procion dyes, then put them in a plastic bag and microwave. I forget how long I zapped them, but I was following instructions from the Dharma site. Beautiful, vibrant colors that are very long-lasting.
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  #16  
Old 07-24-2015, 05:40 PM
Sphinx81 Sphinx81 is offline
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Please Share Your Tie Dye Process

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
I beg to differ. I do it all the time. What's more, I do it with non-toxic materials. Check out this 100% polyester polo shirt tie-dye. Sorry it's such a bad photo, but the only camera I have right now is my phone.

Since I've told dozens of people IRL about this, and since no one ever bothers to use them besides me, I'll share my secret with any Doper who reads this thread. I've been using these products to tie-dye for over 25 years now.

The iridescent ones are tricky to use, and the transparent ones don't work well at all, but all of the opaques and fluorescents work equally well on cotton, silk or polyester. They are water-based, so diluting them is easy.

I've used them to dye a few items "whole cloth", and that is kind of tricky because you have to make sure that the dye gets applied evenly and stays that way as the item dries. I usually dilute in a bucket, let it soak for a day or so, then dry it flat. If there are still anomalies, I repeat the process. Black is still difficult, but can be achieved by diluting as little as possible.

Once the article is dry, you just have to iron it to get the dye to set.

These colors will never fade once they are set into the fabric, btw.

Now that said, these aren't cheap. You can find them at some fabric/hobby stores and prolly at a real art supply store, or you can order them online. I get mine from Dick Blick Art Supplies.

For tie-dying, the small 2oz bottles will do colors for 4 or 5 shirts, as long as you dilute them a bit with water. You really have to do this, so the color will spread thru the fabric and not just blot up where you apply it.

For whole cloth dying, I get the 16oz bottle. I use roughly half at once and dilute it as little as possible while still being able to completely submerge the article of clothing.

Again, whole cloth dying is hard because it's difficult to achieve a flat, uniform color with this media. I keep meaning to get a sprayer and try that, but so far I've not bothered; I wear a lot of tie-dyes.

But, if you want to do some creative dying, and want to use easy, non-messy (cleans up with soap and water), non-toxic media that will produce vivid non-fading colors, this is the way to go IMO.

If anyone wants, I can post pics of other shirts (cotton & poly), silk scarves, etc.
Can you please share your tie dye process? I am a newbie and have been looking for a solution to the blended fabric dying issues. Do you use a fixative at all to avoid color bleed when washing? Much appreciated.
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  #17  
Old 07-26-2015, 06:55 AM
MmeRose MmeRose is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F.Pu-du-he-pa-as View Post
While we're on the subject of dying, have any of you tried dying silk? How did that go for you? I do a lot of home sewing, and I thought that buying white silk crepe de chine and dying it would be a more inexpensive way to go than buying it pre-dyed. I don't need to shoot for a specific color; most shades of the colors I usually use (blue, green, purple) look good on me.
In my experience, dye works better on silk than any other fiber. Years ago, I dyed a white silk camisole a beautiful shade of teal with Rit. More recently, I've used dyes from Dharma and the results have been spectacular. They have cool techniques on their web site, like snow dying, and (my next project) shaving cream marbling.

They sell a detergent that is made for preparing fabric for dye - a cheaper version of Synthrapol.

I've also used food color to dye silk and wool. There was a fad of Kool Aid dye a few years ago, I figured that it was just food coloring. I added vinegar to the pot and boiled the fabric or yarn.
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  #18  
Old 07-26-2015, 08:16 AM
Nikki Tikki Tavi Nikki Tikki Tavi is offline
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Can I jump in with some questions?

I have a pair of pants that I washed with a hot pink post it note in the pocket and put through the dryer before I realized it They're relatively new and I like them, was thinking of dying them so I don't have to toss them.

They're cotton "jeans", but stretch so I assume there's lycra in them? They are light blue with white stripes. I was going to dye them dark blue or purple or dark pink, do you think that would work? Do I have to wash them separately forever after dyeing? Will the dye stain the washer? Will it rub off on upholstery?

I've never dyed anything before and appreciate any advice!
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  #19  
Old 07-26-2015, 08:19 AM
F.Pu-du-he-pa-as F.Pu-du-he-pa-as is offline
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One problem you might run into is that the fabric and the thread used to sew the fabric are two different fibers, so that the fabric takes the dye but the thread doesn't. Just something to be aware of.
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  #20  
Old 07-26-2015, 01:16 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F.Pu-du-he-pa-as View Post
While we're on the subject of dying, have any of you tried dying silk? How did that go for you? I do a lot of home sewing, and I thought that buying white silk crepe de chine and dying it would be a more inexpensive way to go than buying it pre-dyed. I don't need to shoot for a specific color; most shades of the colors I usually use (blue, green, purple) look good on me.
Silk - in fact all protein fiber -- is far easier to dye than cotton or vegetable fiber. Some food color, household vinegar and heat is all you need.
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  #21  
Old 07-26-2015, 09:52 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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Originally Posted by Sphinx81 View Post
Can you please share your tie dye process? I am a newbie and have been looking for a solution to the blended fabric dying issues. Do you use a fixative at all to avoid color bleed when washing? Much appreciated.
I'd be happy to share.

I've recently been exchanging email with someone; perhaps that's you, but in case not and in case anyone else wants to know, I'll reprint my part of the exchange:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo #1
Howdy!

I'd be happy to share what I do; thanks for asking.

I don't remember the post but I assume it was on the SDMB.

Basically, I do it like a regular tie dye, but I use Createx fabric paint instead of die.

I tie my shirts or scarves or whatever, then I use hair dye applicator bottles to apply the dye to the fabric. I just make stripes (often of varying widths) with the dye on the folded/tied fabric. Then I let them dry completely before I untie them; this can take a while depending on your climate. I live in Las Vegas and it still takes 24-30 hours for the shirts to dry completely. This is important because if you untie them while any paint is still wet, it can run.

After I untie, I just iron the shit outta them. I put a 3 or 4 pieces of newspaper on my ironing board, then I put another 3-4 on top of the shirt and I iron every square inch on a good hot setting. You don't want to burn the newspaper, but you want it as hot as you can go otherwise. You have to iron every little bit or it won't stay colorfast.

After that, just wash them so they aren't stiff and uncomfortable. I have 15 year old shirts that look exactly like they did when I made them.

I've had excellent luck with Createx fabric paint on cotton, nylon, cotton-poly blends and silk. Especially cotton and silk. I've made scarves and things that look better than anything I've seen in a store.

For the applicator bottles, I just use a bit of paint and add water, then shake it up real good so it mixes evenly; if you don't a paint glob will clog the nozzle. Nozzle can be really fine or fairly wide; I prefer to use fine ones and then just spend more time making my stripes, since that gives me more control over their widths.

I hope that helps you; if you remember please send me a pic or two of your results.

And of course, if I missed something or you have more questions, feel free to ask.

Good luck!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo #2
I forgot to mention that with the small 2 oz. bottles Iíll get up to 6 really good applicator bottles full, so figure something like 1/6 or even ⅛ of the Createx bottle + water until the applicator bottle is full. It needs to be thoroughly diluted so the paint will soak thru the cloth, but not so diluted that the color lightens. Youíll figure out how to get a deep color without a big olí gloopy mess coming out of the bottle.

I get the hair dye applicator bottles at Sally Beauty Supply; theyíre cheap and plentiful.

Oh, and the big advantage is that clean up is a snap; just takes water. As long as the paint hasnít been heat-treated, itís just tempura.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo #3
by the way, it may not have been clear, but I use the airbrush fabric paint

the Wicked Colors are new, but should work as well
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