DYEING A RAINBOW OF COLOR
From Trisch Rosema @ www.sewnsew.co.za
• 24 Pieces of white cotton (100%) 50cm x 50cm
• Cold water dye fabric dye
- 1 box magenta
- 1 box cyan
- 1 box yellow
• 3 sachets fixer (if not included in dye)
• 24 Ziplock sandwich bags marked 1 – 24 a black with permanent pen
• 10 litre bucket
• 2 litre plastic bottles (old milk bottles are perfect)
• Large square container to hold Ziplock bags
• Selection of tablespoons, wooden spoons and pouring utensils
• Rubber gloves and old clothes to work in!
1. Wash your fabrics in hot water in your washing machine to rid them of any
starch or dressing. This assists the dye to take better.
2. Make up the bucket of chemical (salt and fixer) by pouring 6 litres of hot tap
water into the bucket and dissolving the 3 sachets of fixer, along with 24 x 15ml
of the salt.
3. Prepare the magenta, cyan and yellow dyes according to the manufacturers
instructions into each of the plastic bottles.
4. Scrunch up each individual piece of fabric and
keep it damp in a bowl. The scrunching will give
the fabric a marbled effect (see right).
5. Pour 1 cup of the chemical into each bag, carefully
resting them against each other in the large
6. Following the dye recipe below, add a total of 10 x
15ml dye to each bag.
TIP: You can stir each bag at this stage, but you
must use a clean utensil for each bag. If you don’t stir, it also assist to create
some interesting color effects.
7. Place one piece of damp (not wet) scrunched fabric into each bag and make
sure it is covered with the dye solution. Squeeze out as much of the air as
possible and ziplock the bag. Massage the bag to help the absorption of the dye
and then set aside in the container.
TIP : Keep the bags out of a draft and in a warmish place. This also aids the
8. To achieve a very marbled effect (as the above picture shows) leave the bags
alone! Leave them from 2 to 24 hours (overnight is best).
9. However, if you prefer the fabric to be more evenly dyed, then turn and pummel
the bags every 20 minutes . The more you turn and pummel, the more evenly
dyed the fabric will be. Continue this for 2 to 8 hours.
10. Take each piece of fabric out of the bag and rinse under running water.
Remember to rinse like colors with like!
11. Using a mild washing detergent without bleach, wash each color group
separately removing as much residue as possible.
TIP : Keep the pure yellow piece separate at all times.
12. Finally,wash all the pieces (except the yellow!) in your washing machine.
13. Allow to dry and iron well to again assist any color setting.
14. As a safeguard, take one of the darkest pieces a day or two later and test to see
if it is colorfast by placing in a bowl of warm water. If it still ‘bleeds’ color, then
wash once again.
COLOR RECIPE FOR 24 COLORS :
Colour 1 10 x 15ml red
Colour 2 8 x 15ml red + 2 x 15ml yellow
Colour 3 7 x 15ml red + 3 x 15ml yellow
Colour 4 6 x 15ml red + 4 x 15ml yellow
Colour 5 5 x 15ml red + 5 x 15ml yellow
Colour 6 4 x 15ml red + 6 x 15ml yellow
Colour 7 3 x 15ml red + 7 x 15ml yellow
Colour 8 2 x 15ml red + 8 x 15ml yellow
Colour 9 10 x 15ml yellow
Colour 10 2 x 15ml blue + 8 x 15ml yellow
Colour 11 3 x 15ml blue + 7 x 15ml yellow
Colour 12 4 x 15ml blue + 6 x 15ml yellow
Colour 13 5 x 15ml blue + 5 x 15ml yellow
Colour 14 6 x 15ml blue + 4 x 15ml yellow
Colour 15 7 x 15ml blue + 3 x 15ml yellow
Colour 16 8 x 15ml blue + 2 x 15ml yellow
Colour 17 10 x 15ml blue
Colour 18 8 x 15ml blue + 2 x 15ml red
Colour 19 7 x 15ml blue + 3 x 15ml red
Colour 20 6 x 15ml blue + 4 x 15ml red
Colour 21 5 x 15ml blue + 5 x 15ml red
Colour 22 4 x 15ml blue + 6 x 15ml red
Colour 23 3 x 15ml blue + 7 x 15ml red
Colour 24 2 x 15ml blue + 8 x 15ml red