4 Fun DIY Techniques for Hand Dyeing Colorful and Printed Fabrics

dyed fabric

Is your stash of fabric looking a little … plain? If you have more yards of white fabric than you know what to do with, give ’em some life with a DIY dye job! Dyeing your own fabric saves money, gives you a totally customized look and — let’s be honest — it’s a heck of a lot of fun. And while you can always dye your cloth to be a solid shade, you could also experiment with different techniques to create one-of-a-kind patterns. Below are a few fun ways to get started.

1. Use Household Objects

tie dye scarf

You can get a ton of cool, one-of-a-kind effects by using household objects in your dyeing. Scrunching with rubber bands is common for tie-dye T-shirts, and the bandanna above was made using craft sticks. You can also paint fabric with dyes using old paint brushes or PVC pipe, or create texture with bubble wrap or by stitching a design before dyeing.

2. Sun Resist Dyeing

sun resist dyed fabric

Photo courtesy Kathy Schwartz of Tamarack Shack

If you have access to a sun-splashed patio, porch or driveway, you’re in luck — those rays can help you create all kinds of unique looks. The fabric pieces pictured above, for example, were dipped in a dye mixture and spread out to dry in the sun. Once laid out, objects like glass beads and rice were added to the top. As the sun dried the fabric, the objects on top interfered to create various textures.

3. Wax Resist Dyeing

wax resist dye

Another way to add patterns to your fabric: the wax resist technique . Use a variety of household tools (the rim of jars, old paint brushes, even fruits and vegetables ) to cover sections of the fabric in wax before soaking the fabric in dye. The wax will repel the colors, producing gorgeous shapes and patterns for cool fabric you can sew or quilt.

4. Ombré Dip-Dyeing

ombre dyed fabric

You know you want the ever-popular ombré look, so why not DIY it? All you need is one or more yards of a white or light-colored fabric and cold-water fabric dye. To get a gorgeous ombré, saturate the sections of fabric in your dye for varying amounts of time, leaving the top portion completely white.

Make a comment
  • (will not be published)

5 Responses to “4 Fun DIY Techniques for Hand Dyeing Colorful and Printed Fabrics”

  1. Nancy DeRodeff

    Video? Instructions? The dye kit is here and ready. Just don’t know how to use it!

    • Katherine Long

      The instructions for folding etc. at this website: https://honestlywtf.com/diy/shibori-diy/

      *Natural fiber fabrics such as cotton and linen are best, fabric blends work too but you may get different results, could be lighter than what you expected: try for mostly natural fiber when using cotton/polyester for example.

      – Wear gloves and clothes that have seen better days; you do not want splashed dye on nice clothing
      – Even though this gal just uses blue dye: you can certainly use other colors & remember the color is much darker when it is wet.
      – I use Tulip dye found at Joann fabrics, you do not have to use all of the dye in the bottle: fill container with water and add the dry dye until you have the color you like & maybe a little darker.
      – Rinse with cold water after checking the fabric for dye penetration, and let the fabric (shirt, dress, shorts…) soak in cold water and vinegar (1 gallon water: 1/2 cup vinegar) to set the color, rinse again with cold water.
      – Make sure it runs clean before washing with other clothes!
      – I use Carbona Color Grabber sheets found in the laundry detergent aisle: in a small box usually on the top shelf @ W-mart. These sheets pull dye out of the washer water and you will be amazed how well they work, even with clothes/towels that have been washed several times.

      This information along with that in the website tutorial will get you going on this fun craft!

      Good luck & enjoy yourself!

  2. Leslie Dupre

    I’d love to learn more on Shibori along with different folds…everything from start to finish. Also batik would be great to learn