I know I just posted about how excited I am to experiment with natural dyes, but I also have a massive stash of RIT dye that is begging for some exploration!
I have a new project I’ve been wanting to start that is ALL black stitches, which is rather boring when you’re working with white aida. I thought it might spice it up a bit if I used a bold and brightly colored fabric. I wasn’t excited about any of the dyed aida options I found in the store, so I figured why not do it myself!
So I pulled out my dye stash. I got most of these at a yard sale, but some of them I bought new. I keep them all in baggies with the label ripped off to save on storage space. I have a personal goal to fit all of my crafty stuff in one big file cabinet. So far it’s working!
I have a really hard time making decisions like this, so I decided to make some test dyes before I commit to dying entire pieces of fabric – that stuff can be expensive!
I knew I wanted to stitch my new project on aida, so I found a small scrap of white left over from another project and cut it into small squares – about 2″. It’s important to practice dying on the same material you plan to use for your final product because different materials will take the dye in a different way.
Let your fabric soak in a 1:1 mixture of hot water and white vinegar. (I did 2 cups of each) The vinegar will prepare the fabric to hold more of the dye.
There is no set amount of time to let them soak, just leave them in there while you prepare the next step.
Find enough containers for each of your scraps – make sure they will fit at least one cup of liquid. I set all of mine on a cookie sheet to contain spills (there were a lot).
Add 1 teaspoon of powdered dye to each container. (This ended up being A LOT so my samples turned out really dark. It doesn’t matter how much you add here, just know that more or less will make your fabric darker or lighter – play with it and find out what works for you)
You might want to make a little key so you don’t forget which colors are which! This is what mine looked like
Add 2 more cups of boiling water. (The mixture should now be a 2:1 ratio of water to vinegar)
Add one cup of the mixture to each container and stir thoroughly until all the granules have dissolved.
Add one piece of fabric to each color pot, making sure it is completely submerged. Let sit as long as necessary. I ended up leaving mine in over night (16 hours).
Remove the fabric from the pots; wash in cold water until the water runs clear; wring dry with a towel or let air dry; and iron them flat. I was too impatient to let them dry so I ironed them until they were dry. And here they are!
Top Left – Kelly Green
Top Right – Golden Yellow
Bottom Right – Lemon Yellow
Bottom Left – Sunshine Orange
Middle – Teal
I really love how the Golden Yellow turned out! I decided to go with that one for my final project. I followed the same steps as listed above to dye my larger aida – but with a different ratio.
-4 cups vinegar
-3/4 cup salt
-6 cups water
-one packet RIT dye
I also decided to try dying some floss this time around. That’s something I would like to experiment more with in the future. (:
I left them all in for 24 hours, stirring and repositioning the fabric regularly to make sure it dyed evenly. This is how they turned out:
I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing with the floss, but I love the color. It turned out almost identical to DMC 972, but maybe a bit brighter. The only thing I don’t like is it made the floss feel really ratty and coarse. I’ve heard that you can use hair conditioner on fibers to make them soft again, but I haven’t tried it yet.
I’m really happy with how the fabric turned out for this project! It’s really perfect.
Natural Dyes are fun, but I see a lot more RIT dying in my (near) future!