Live to Dye Another Day
A couple of weekends ago I had some friends over my house to practice fabric dying. I've never dyed fabric before so I was very excited to learn this new skill. I have to say it took me a while to figure out how everything works together but once I got the hang of things it was really fun.
Basically I learned that you have dye which comes in a powder format and you mix it with water and Soda Ash or you soak your fabric in Soda Ash for about 15 minutes. The Soda Ash is what makes the dye stick to the fabric but it's also the same stuff that starts to reduce the potency of the dye the longer you leave in the the dye mix.
After you've finished adding dye to your fabric, you'll want to put the fabric in a ziploc bag while it's still wet and let it sit at least overnight before rinsing to absorb as much color as possible. After letting it soak, it's time to wash your fabric to set the dye but first you have to rinse your fabric.
It's very important to make sure that all of the excess dye is out before washing your newly dyed fabric or else you'll have a big muddy mess when you take your fabric out of the wash. Whew now you're done and you have wonderful, beautiful, one-of-a-kind fabric!
A note of caution though - I didn't take notes so be sure to do some research on fabric dying if you plan to try it for yourself. I found a cool tutorial here for fabric dying that would probably be way more helpful.
Some other interesting tidbits - you can use rubber bands for a tie-dye effect, clamp objects or washable school glue to make resist patterns on the fabric or just scrunch some fabric up in a cup and add drops of dye to the cup for an interesting pattern. You can also use bleach to take dye out of colored fabric but this only works on fabric made from natural fibers. Finally, remember to wear rubber gloves unless you don't mind multi-colored hands for a couple of weeks.