Sunday, April 09, 2017

Adventures In Fabric Dyeing

A while ago I thrifted a carrier bag full of very old Dylon dyes (the ones that came in tins, anyone remember those?). There were an array of wonderful colours, and I wanted to experiment, so I grabbed all the light coloured natural fabrics I had to hand and set to work.

Originally I was going to do ice dyeing, where you pile up ice cubes on top of your fabric, sprinkle different coloured dyes on top of the ice cubes, and let the dyes spread through the fabric naturally as the ice melts. But it turns out that ice really doesn't melt very fast in a cold bathroom at night time in early British spring.

So I got impatient, poured hot water from the kettle over my fabrics and dyes, and thought I had probably ruined the whole thing. That is, until I washed out the fabrics, and saw that I had achieved the pastel tie dye gorgeousness of my dreams.

After the success of my first attempt, I immediately did a second dye batch, which also came out beautifully. I've now done four dye lots in the space of a couple of months. It's a great craft for if I am pottering around at home, as I can set up the different stages and then go off and do something else for a while, before coming back to it. The only downside is that it can be very messy.

I am so happy with how all of the dyed fabrics have turned out. It's very exciting washing them out and drying them, seeing what patterns have formed.

 Some of them remind me of landscapes, but they also really remind me of crystal formations.

Now I just need to decide what to do with my many metres of dyed cottons and silks. I think some of them will end up as clothes (I have an idea in mind for the amethyst hued dream below) and I might make a couple into wall hangings, to really show off the patterns.

I still have lots of dyes left, so I can see this particular crafting love affair continuing a while longer.

(The method I used was pretty much this ice dyeing technique, but I poured hot water over instead of using ice. There's also a similar tie dye tutorial here)


  1. Those fabrics came out so lovely, especially that last one reminds me of berries (and, subsequently, of berry fro-yo). I can't wait for your other dyeing adventures!