Dyeing Tips & Techniques

Dyeing is great fun but it is really an art that requires experience to achieve consistent results. Often it's the mistakes that produce the prettiest results so don't be afraid to experiment!

*We do not guarantee the result nor do we accept responsibility for the outcome of your dyeing. Always test first especially where the results are more critical.

This help page refers to our Easy dye (all in one) range and Acid milling dye but can be used with other similar acid dyes. First some top tips...

  • Always test first especially where the results are more critical
  • Dry weigh the fibre or yarn first
  • Pre-soak your fibre or yarn
  • Avoid agitation & thermal shock

When dyeing small quantities of fibre it is often difficult to weigh the dye powder accurately...

One way to overcome this is to make what is known as a stock solution and then add measures of this to the dye bath as required. You can re-make stock solutions accurately time and time again plus they can be stored for later use. You could also vary the strength of your stock 2%, 3% etc and work with that to create stronger or weaker shades.

Here are some examples of stock solutions

  • 10g of dye in 1L of water makes a 1% strength stock solution
  • 30g of dye mixed in 1L of water makes a 3% strength stock solution

Remember it is easier to measure out from a stock solution than it is to weigh tiny weights of dye powder.

 1: Dyeing in a pot on the hob

Here's a simple hob and cooking pot method. Weights shown are dry weights. Remember to pre soak your fibre before you begin.

  1. Mix the dye powder with 1 litre of water to make a dye stock.
  2. For each 100g of fibre, stir in 100ml of the pre-prepared dye stock to the dye bath (depending on the shade required).
  3. If required, add citric acid to the dye bath for a Ph of around 3-4.
  4. Now add the fibre to the dye bath and gently submerge.
  5. Slowly raise the temperature to boiling point (95C -100C) and simmer for approx 20 to 30 minutes. When all the dye has exhausted the water will be clear.
  6. Allow it to cool nice and slowly.
  7. Carefuly rinse and spin or drip dry.

 

    2: Dyeing in the microwave

    Here's a simple microwave method suitable for dyeing 100g (dry weight) of fibre at a time. Remember to pre soak your fibre before you begin.

    1. Pour a small amount of pre-prepared dye stock into a smaller container (ramekin dishes or large yoghurt pots are ideal). Use 2 - 5 colours or mix new ones!
    2. Place the damp fibre onto a sheet of plastic cling film and lay out.
    3. Using a plastic syringe or dropper bottle add some of the dye stock to a portion of fibre. Add sufficient dye to almost saturate the fibre but avoid adding  too much as the excess will drain onto the cling film.
    4. Repeat using different colours until the fibre is covered. You can either overlap colours when going from one colour to the next or leave a small section of fibre uncovered... it's up to you!
    5. Roll the fibre in the cling film sealing the long edge but leaving the ends open. Place into a small plastic bag (optional) and then onto a microwave suitable dish with a lid - a glass casserole dish is ideal.
    6. Heat at a minimum setting for 10 minutes.
    7. Allow to cool.
    8. Remove fibre then gently rinse and spin or drip dry.

    3: Dyeing in a food steamer

    Here's a simple recipie suitable for dyeing 100g (dry weight) of fibre at a time. Remember to pre soak your fibre before you begin.

    1. Pour a small amount of the pre-prepared dye stock into a smaller container (ramekin dishes or large yoghurt pots are ideal). Use 2 - 5 colours or mix new ones!
    2. Place the damp fibre onto a sheet of plastic cling film and lay out.
    3. Using a plastic syringe or dropper bottle add some of the dye solution to a portion of fibre.  Add sufficient dye to almost saturate the fibre but avoid adding too much as the excess will drain onto the cling film.
    4. Repeat using different colours until the fibre is covered.  You can either overlap colours when going from one colour to the next or leave a small section of fibre uncovered... It's up to you!
    5. Roll the fibre in the cling film sealing the long edge and tying the ends of the film in a knot. Place into a small plastic bag and seal with a knot.  
    6. Place into the steamer and steam for at least 45 minutes.
    7. Allow to cool.
    8. Remove fibre then gently rinse and spin or drip dry.

    Where can I learn more?

    Dyeing is great fun but it is really an art that requires knowledge and experience to achieve consistent results. Often it's the mistakes that produce the prettiest results so don't be afraid to experiment! There are plenty of helpful books plus lots of advice available on the internet, or you can book one of our workshops* We do not guarantee the result nor do we accept responsibility for the outcome of your dyeing. Dyeing is a craft requiring skill and experience and the colours and effects achieved will depend on many factors. Always test first especially where the results are more critical.

     

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