This week I dabbled in something that I have been wanting to try for a while now- dyeing fabric! And with all the baby girls that we are expecting between friends and family, it was the perfect time to try it out!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Large bucket – large enough so the fabric can swim freely
- Rubber gloves
- An old spoon or spatula for stirring
- RIT dye- I used the liquid form, but you can just as easily use the powder
- Onesies for dyeing
- Either salt or vinegar to add to the dye and water mixture (depending on the type of fabric)
Now, both the website and directions on the bottle of dye suggested that we use the stove top or washing machine to dye the onesies. Nope. Not gonna happen. That kind of ups the ante and I had no desire to have a dyeing experience go wrong. So we’re going to do it the old fashioned way- with a bucket.
First things first, I filled my bucket with the hottest tap water that would come out of my utility sink in the laundry room and added a cup of salt (since the onesies are 100% cotton) and nearly all of the the dye- I’d say about 3/4 of the bottle- I didn’t want a really dark purple, I was going for something a little more feminine.
You can also see that I filled the bottom of the sink with hot water as well to soak the onesies. I read this tip online a while back- it helps to give the fabric a more uniform color and won’t be all splotchy when it comes out of the dye bath.
After shaking the bottle vigorously (to make sure the dye was well mixed) I added the dye to the hot water and stirred. Once it was all mixed together well, I added the onesies and stirred, making sure to get good coverage on all of the onesies.
I let the onesies sit in the dye bath for a little over 30 minutes. Stirring them every few minutes. You can leave items in for longer, that will give a darker color, but since that wasn’t the look I was going for, I took them out after 30 minutes.
Once the onesies were removed from the dye bath, I rinsed each one thoroughly with cold water until the water ran clear. I don’t know about you, but I had flashbacks to summer camp as a girl scout Tye-dyeing t-shirts… weird!
After they were rinsed, I hung them out on the clothesline in the sun to let them dry a little bit.
But of course, it started to rain, and I was forced to start my next step- washing the onesies!
For this step, I washed them in cold water on the lightest setting I have on my washer. I ran them through with an old dark blue shower curtain to help absorb any excess dye that might escape (there wasn’t any!). I ran them through the wash twice before I put them in the dryer (again on the low setting). After two wash cycles and a run through the dryer, they looked like the picture above. Pretty good right?
I will say that one of my favorite details for this project was that the tags and stitching didn’t dye purple like the fabric did, it stayed white! I think it’s a cute little detail- one that I certainly wasn’t expecting!
I then stenciled on several of the onesies with some fabric paint to personalize them, here I have only two done, but you get the point of what I’m going for… right? These two that I have done here are going to some sweet, sweet, friends of ours who are having a little girl in August- a feminine monogram, and a Subaru logo for Daddy’s little
princess race car driver.
Overall, it was a fairly easy process to dye the onesies. A little bit easier that I was expecting that’s for sure. I might have to do it again down the (very long) road when we have little
monsters kids running around. And, it was pretty cheap as well- here’s the price run down:
- 5 pack of Gerber 3-6 month white onesies: $9.99
- 1 bottle of purple liquid RIT dye: $2.49
- Salt (already owned): $0.00
- Fabric paint & brushes (already owned): $0.00
- Total: $12.48 (or about $2.50 per onesie!)
Seriously, can’t beat that price for some vibrantly colored and custom onesies!
If you plan on tackling a project like this, here are a few tips to keep in mind courtesy of Made:
- Make sure the dye is thoroughly mixed with the water
- Use a large bowl or bucket so the fabric isn’t crammed in there. The fabric should swim freely for even coverage
- Use the hottest water from your tap- I let my water run for a good 5 minutes before starting to mix in the salt and dye
- Make sure the fabric is completely saturated with water before putting it in the dye bath
I can’t believe it took me so long to try my hand at dyeing fabric- it was a lot easier than I expected it to be- has that ever happened to you? Will any of you be trying to dye fabric in the near future? I would totally recommend it to everyone!
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