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Tutorial: How to use RIT Dye by taeliac Tutorial: How to use RIT Dye by taeliac
The actual tutorial for using RIT Dye.

We do this via a stove top or hot plate, not in the washer. I don't know how the washer thing works out, but this is how we did it for school (doing the test strips, that were used to make this tutorial suppliment)

I hope everything was clear enough to follow, and as always, thank you to ~MedeaHiasobi for her help with this! Let me know if something is hard to follow or you need clarification.

And as always, DON'T EAT THE DYE!

:star: Information on how different fibers dye with RIT Dye can be found here :star:

2007 Sam Lemieux/Taeliac Studio Cosplay [link]
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:iconex-soldier-cloud:
Ex-Soldier-Cloud Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2012  Student Filmographer
Hey I wanted to say thanks for posting this up, I'll really needed help with how to Rit Dye some things, and this helped out a lot. Thanks again! :)
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:iconheilei:
heilei Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry to bother you but I was just wondering on if you could dye white stripes on black fabric another colour.
May not be using RIT specifically, but I was planning on getting a pinstripe suit with either grey or white stripes on black and attempt to dye the stripes another colour like purple or something - obviously tests would be done beforehand, but does it seem....like it'd work to you?
never dyed anything for shat before xD
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:iconblackjackgabbiani:
BlackjackGabbiani Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2011
Question. I got fabric that turned out to be polyester, and it said that RIT won't work on that. But you say it will. Is there anything special I have to do for that?
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:icontahleena:
Tahleena Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2011
thanks for the tips :)

i use the bucket method but liked the tips on mixing - and muted color on cotton is what i'm after so thanks for the info :D
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
Hehe, I'm always happy to help! Whatcha working on, if I may be nosy? :3
Reply
:icontahleena:
Tahleena Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2011
i was going to be using the dye techniques for my Kunoichi cosplay for january :)
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:iconlifelike81:
lifelike81 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2011
that is really strange that your rayon didn't come out darker. i dye rayon lace all the time and i always have to add less dye than it tells me to because it is too dark. maybe it is because i add salt to the dye bath?
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
Are you using straight up RIT? Or an acid dye... Otherwise, your lace may be a blend of rayon and something else, which would be handy ;) I wish I knew where to find pretty lace!

Adding the salt doesn't do much of anything with RIT - all of the ingredients for the dye to do it's thing are included in the box, salts and all, so I dont see how that would have an effect, but you never do know with it sometimes ;P
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:iconlifelike81:
lifelike81 Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2011
yep, plain RIT just how it tells me to use it on the box and the contents of the lace read 100% rayon. maybe it is the crappy chemical filled phoenix tap water ;)

i get my lace from cheaptrims.com they have some really nice stuff but you have to buy the whole spool of it.

i add salt because it tells me to on the back of the box for certain fabrics, rayon being one of them. i know that adding vinegar allows me to dye feathers when plain rit just rolls off leaving them their normal color. i think rit is just hit or miss sometimes. i prefer dylon or prochem dyes personally.
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:icontuesdaynightcompany:
TuesdayNightCompany Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2010
Man, I wish I'd known this before I tried to dye a pair of jeans black. I swore I did everything right (did it on the stove and stirred and argh) but the jeans didn't take the color. Damn you RIT!
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
Ooh, black is a hard one no matter what, so I doubt it was anything you did! RIT is dodgy like that, or it may have taken a couple if baths to get it dark enough :hug:
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:icontuesdaynightcompany:
TuesdayNightCompany Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2011
Yeah, should have done two baths.
But then I realized I was ruining a pot I had to cook food in.
Thanks for the response!
Reply
:iconicetigris:
Icetigris Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2010   General Artist
Fun fact about this dye: you can dye nylon-based plastics with it. I've seen people dye lacrosse sticks with it. I've heard it works with some other plastics too, though not polyester. I think it has something to do with the plastic's resistance to acids, since, if I recall correctly, RIT is an acid dye. Anyway, just thought I'd share.
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
Ooh! I'm totally going to experiment with that! Thank you so much for the tip!

Actually, the weird thing (and hany thing) about RIT is that is has both kinds of dye in it - acid and fiber reactive. If it's the acid that does plastics, though, you can get straight up acid dyes ... Hrmmm... Totally adding that to my list of things to experiment with! :glomp: thhank you!
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:iconicetigris:
Icetigris Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2011   General Artist
When you decide to experiment, could you make a test sheet? I'd love to know what RIT does to PETG and ABS. I've seen someone try it on PVC and CPVC pipe; it worked on the former. In fact, if you decide to do test batches, let me know and maybe we can collaborate on a list of samples to test. I can't wait to see what happens :3c
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:iconstank-dog:
Stank-Dog Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2010
Have you ever tried RIT dye with hemp?
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Nope, unfortunately, I haven't! I've meant to get some hemp fabric for a project of mine, but have yet to be able to afford it :O

I would guess, though, that it would be a lot like dying linen. Linen doesn't take too well to dye, but you'll get a lighter, softer color out of it, because it's a stiffer fiber.
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:iconmidnight-ruby-thief:
midnight-ruby-thief Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2009
hi. im about to dye a blonde synthetic wig into a black one, and i saw ur tutorials on wigs, so i wanted to ask if indian ink would do the job? its permanent and in a squirty bttle. would it work? oh, and ur gallery is awesome btw :heart:
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
I actually haven't a clue - I've never tried to do much with dying wigs myself, short of using Sharpies to do it kinda by hand ^^;

I think it would be worth a try, but I don't know for certain that it would stick - that type of ink is a natural chemical, not some sort of concoction that was made to work on everything like Sharpies and the like are, so there is a very good chance that a lot of it will just slide off of the plastic fibers! But, if you do decide to do it, please let me know how it goes, I'm always interested in hearing things like that! :glomp:
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:iconmidnight-ruby-thief:
midnight-ruby-thief Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2009
okay, i will definitely. thank u sooo much! i hope u cosplay went well :hug:
Reply
:iconeclecticmuses:
eclecticmuses Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Just wanted to drop by and say that this tutorial plus the fabric color chart has been an immense resources for me! I had to dye some short for a quick costume I threw together for Dragon*Con and your formula worked perfectly. It even made mixing colors an ease. Tonight I'm going to take things up a notch and see if I can get two different types of fabric (polyester and satin) to dye about the same color!

Thanks again for this wonderful resource--you can see the shorts I dyed here.
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:iconvietxboo:
VietxBoo Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2009
Hello again! :) I plan on dying two pairs of already dark brown pants (which are fading) black in hopes of it turning really dark at least appearing black. A few questions popped up and I immediately thought of this tutorial. Since I don't really have any large pots I can use for it, I was hoping I could just stick a bucket in a pot over the stove or something. Anyways could I use the same dye bath twice? Or would all/most of the dye be used up? Maybe I could add more of the powder? I don't wanna be using too much water. Also would it be a bad idea to wring out the fabric to quicken up the drying process? Thanks a ton!
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
Well, you're definitely not going to be able to use anything plastic-y for the heat, so you might be stuck finding a huge pot ^^; But, they really don't need to be too big - a stew pot should work if you do each pair of pants separately. If you go to a discount store or a thrift store (or somewhere like Goodwill/Salvation Army) you should be able to find a pot to use really cheap - just be sure that you don't use the pot for cooking afterwards, it's not a good habit to get into, because you're using chemicals to dye, and you don't want to be eating that stuff ;P

And, you'll need to do each separately - there is a chemical reaction that takes place to set the dye in the fabric, and once it's done, it's done - you can't dunk another pair into it, it just won't stick. So, you'd have to empty it out and start again ^^;

Oh! Don't wring fabric - it's best if you take an old, icky towel and roll it up like a swiss roll to get excess moisture out, but that's more of a case of after it's somewhat dry...
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:iconvietxboo:
VietxBoo Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2009
No of course, I was thinking a metal bucket. Plus I think if I were ever to try Dylon dyes which does require hot hot water I could use it as well, but I've heard Dylon isn't as colorfast as it should be,bad for black.Know anything about that? Also I wanted to get your opinion on whether or not the back dye would come out better because my pants are already dark.

Really? I was hoping I could, because you can reuse an old batch of Dylon dyes, is there a difference between the two that make that possible?

Ok, so I just lay it flat to dry? Or would it be okay to hang it dry? Like fold it over the shower pole thing.
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
I've never heard of any dye that you can reuse the batch of - usually, once the chemical reaction takes place, there isn't the chemical bond any more to actually permeate the fabric, but I don't know - I haven't bothered with much more beyond RIT, as we went directly into acid and fiber reactive dyes after this little bit, because we usually don't use RIT or similar for theatrical purposes.

I have heard that Dylon work on synthetic fibers, but again, no experience with them ^^; I just know that dying isn't like painting, where it sits on the top, and if there isn't the chemical reaction to go, there is nothing keeping the dye there if you get it damp in the future...

Hang dry, or lay flat, either is good - I don't recommend in a bathroom, though - I stained my tub pink doing that one time, from the bit that still comes off of the fabric as it drys ^^;
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:iconediefashion:
EdieFashion Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2009
Hiya,

I'm new to Deviantart and just found your get tutorial. Wow, love that someone did a comprehensive reference piece like this.

I use RIT a lot and have my routine for getting reliable results. We all seem to have variations on similar techniques. The one thing I've always done, I guess cause I've read it early on, is to add salt to plant fibers like cotton and vinegar to animal fibers like wool. The reason being that RIT is an all-purpose dye. This means it's flexible enough to be used on many fabrics but not an optimal dye for any particular fiber content without help of these additives.

Have you come across this distinction as well? If I have this wrong it would be good to re-tweek my habits.

Thanks!
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
Hooray! Welcome to dA! I'm happy that it's helpful, too!

I actually didn't use (and haven't, since) RIT dye after this was taken - we moved right away to using Acid and Fiber Reactive dyes, so I'm actually not sure about vinegars and salts added. As far as I had always understood RIT, though, all the salts/chemicals for reaction are already added to the mix, however, I don't think it would hurt to add more - in fact, they may cut down on what they put in to save on costs ^^;
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:iconediefashion:
EdieFashion Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009
Hiya again, taeliac.
Just wanted to let you know that I'm still using your color chart as a handy reference. I did some video dyeing tutorials and was hoping you won't mind if I linked to the color chart here on DA. (Actually, I kinda did already but can easily pull it if you're not comfortable with the connection.) I just think it's really a helpful resource and wanted to share it. Here's a link to the 5min.com site where the videos live. -> [link]
I'm so sorry I didn't ask you first but I just got so excited when I found I could add technical links to the videos. I think that's so cool. Please let me know if it's OK otherwise I'll yank it right away.
Thanks again,
Edie
PS: My theory was right about the vinegar and salt. I'm gonna make a tip sheet to help others that are similarly confused.
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:iconfrom-ashes-to-asher:
from-ashes-to-asher Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2009  Student Interface Designer
I have a few questions :P

So salt isn't required? Cause I've done lots of research on this, and everywhere says that you need salt unless you're using a fiber-reactive dye.

Also, if the colour I'm looking for is any sort of grey, buying black is the way to go then?

And will the dye stain the container I'm dyeing in?

Thankyouuuu, this is very helpful.
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
As far as I've ever known, salt is already pre-mixed in with the dye, so no need to use - I guess it really couldn't hurt, but the reason most people's experiments with RIT dye seem to fail is because they don't get the water hot enough, so it doesn't dissolve all the way. Heat has been the key for everything with RIT~

Yes! Black would definitely be good for gray - you may just want to start out using half of the recommended amount, and dye it, and see if it's dark enough. If not, dye it again at the same amount, and it should come out darker :D

And, probably - I'm used to using metal pots and whatnot, but it'll probably stain. I know it does stain a porcelain sink :giggle: (Mr. Clean Magic Erasers help to get it out, if that happens to you ;P)
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:iconfrom-ashes-to-asher:
from-ashes-to-asher Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2009  Student Interface Designer
So is the heat of the water only needed to dissolve the powder? Thus, could you use their liquid dye with cold water? Since I'd assume it's not that difficult to mix water and liquid dye.
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
No, I actually think the heat is what starts the chemical reaction, but I'm not positive at all - I know they make liquid RIT dye, but I've never used it before - we moved on rather quickly from RIT to fiber reactive and acid dyes ^^;
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:iconvietxboo:
VietxBoo Featured By Owner May 4, 2009
Hi, great tutorial :) I know the website has instructions as well but they're not as detailed. As 'experienced' as they may be, they really can't explain these things all that well can they? XD I just want to note that dyes aren't transparent, they're translucent, as how a colored clear plastic sheet would be, but if it were just clear, than that would be transparent. :)
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner May 6, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
:lmao: You know, that makes so much more sense! I always get the two confused, "transparent" and "translucent" *didn't pay enough attention in my lighting class*

The instructions are definitely lack-luster, and really don't tell you much more than the quick-and-dirty, it's always so much easier to understand things when it's a bit more detailed XP

:glomp: Thank you very much! And, I'll fix the error if I get to uploading it again ;P
Reply
:iconorihime-whatsit:
Orihime-Whatsit Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Uhm
I feel really dumb for asking this..
But do you think this method would work for a wig too?
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
I tried it once, and the heat is indeed too much for a wig to survive doing. I havne't done much with wig dying, but I've heard really good things about using sharpies for it :D
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:iconorihime-whatsit:
Orihime-Whatsit Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
aww Okay :)
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:iconseesayleki:
SeeSayLeki Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This'll definately come in handy. : ) I'll try and use it for my next anime convention. : D
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
:glomp: That is awesome!! I'm glad it could be useful - I know I dye things all the time for shows, when you just can't get it in the right color, and RIT is just fabulous, once you know how to do it so the dye sticks ;P
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:iconrendoll:
rendoll Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2008
This is a great tute, I've used it like 4 times now. ^^
I was wondering, though: If the dye doesn't take well to cotton or synthetic fibers, what fabrics does it work best with?
Reply
:iconkamisch42:
kamisch42 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Have you ever tried spraying on the boiling hot dye? I know it sounds like an odd thing to do, but it's actually fun...if you're out in an open space where it's okay to have things getting sprayed by stray dye :giggle: It won't stay too bright, not only because, well...it's RIT, but also because it's not quite soaking. I've been doing that with the shirts I've been dying lately for my nephews. But it's all quite random, almost like splatter painting. With the last few I did, I hung all 3 shirts out at once, so that the other 2 shirts catch the occasional spritz coming through the main target. I actually like using the RIT for this first stage because it all blends easily, like a watercolor painting. Then I follow up with the background fabric paints while still wet, and let it hang dry. But it's all just experimental for me, for fun. I don't have pictures up yet, but when I get them, I'll show how they turned out :D But yeah...no luck with any real shades of black, though it didn't surprise me since I wasn't using them for their intended purpose ;P The best I could get was a dark charcoal, which actually worked for the one I was making.


This is an excellent tutorial though. I think the reason I first strayed from the directions on the package were because...there weren't really any directions. I mean, there were very simple ones of "boil water, add dye, blend, add wet shirt, soak" but nothing that lets you know what you're doing, why you're doing it and how it should be. So this is awesome. If I dyed my shirts like a normal person does this would be a part of my gospel, but even so...it at least let me know that I'm not the only one having trouble finding black :love: Thanks! ~K
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:icondevilinops:
devilinops Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2008
is this ur tut or u just uped it on here if this is urs whats a better why then rit dye cuz im trying to dye my faded dark blue and blake pants with red so where its faded a nice red color will be there if u can help plz email me or send me a privit message that u
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Okay, one, I can barely understand what you're asking about, could you clear it up a bit? :D

It's my tutorial, I wound up making it (and, if it's anywhere else, they've stolen it and that pisses me off like nothing else!)
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:iconinscribedinblood:
InscribedinBlood Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2008
First of all, this tutorial is just great, especially since the box doesn't tell you anything...except to add a cup of salt, etc. Which I will not do, because I trust you more than I do the box.

Anyway, I have a very unusual dye job and I was wondering if you had any ideas or tips on how to do this. Basically, I need to dye a piece of white fabric, so the bottom is red and it fades gradually as it reaches the top of the fabric.

I plan to do much experimenting, but I hope you can help. I'll put a link to the picture of what I'm doing. Thank you! ^^-

[link]

P.S. It's for the the tails/fins coming off of the leotard. :rose:
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Oooh! How cool is that!

That technique is actually called "ombre dying", and one way of doing it is to make multiple "pots" of colors, each getting progressively stronger in strength. Then, you cook the fabric as far up as it needs to be in the lightest color, and then move down to the next strongest and dye as far up as that needs to go, and so on and so on... do as many as you need, but usually you need a good 5 different one's. The easiest way of doing it is to take the full concentration of dye, and then for the next bath, mix 75% full concentration with 25% water, then take that mixture, and mix 75% of that with 25% more water, and so on and so forth.

I found something really quickly using Google on it from RIT's site - [link]

Hopefully that helps to illustrate it a bit! And, if you don't want to get those stark lines (although some lines are going to occur either way) you can slowly, every minute or two, pull the fabric a little out of the bath - it kind of creates a bit of a gradient in it then, so you don't have such stark, strong lines!

I hope that helps, even a bit! I envy you being able to wear that outfit! I absolutely love that Sakura one :love: Let me know when it's done, I really, really want to see :love:
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:iconinscribedinblood:
InscribedinBlood Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2008
*Smiles uber excited* Oh my gosh thank you so much! This is just what I needed. X3 :hug:

First what I'm waiting to do is actually use the dye on a piece of cotton I have left over from my last Sakura costume. I've never used RIT dye before, so this is a first for me. I guess I picked the best costume in that case huh? ^^;

Anyway, yeah I'm gonna mess around and then try some silk and other fabric samples. Hopefully I can get a somewhat light, flowing fabric to work with since they are going to be tails.

I'll most definitely let you know when it's done, however I won't have pics until a year from now. I just attended AFO, and I want to wear this costume to AFO next year, so I won't have pictures until then. Still, I'll let you know, oh and don't worry, it's a revealing outfit, especially for me. I'm taking a risk wearing it, but I plan to add a skirt.

Agh, sorry for a long response. Thank you again so much, I can't wait to try this! You're amazing. <3 :rose:
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:iconaerithreborn:
AerithReborn Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
I had a really unique experience with some gloves and black dye, then. I found some of those tan wrist gloves (the fingerless carpal tunnel support ones in the embroidery section) that I thought would be awesome for costume ____, but they needed to be black. I have NO idea what kind of material they were, but I used a similar method to this and left them in an almost boiling dye bath for about a half hour and they came out PITCH black. Maybe this was a freak accident?
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:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Oh wow! That is awesome to hear! They were probably cotton, but, yes, I think you had a freak accident ;P Or, you just let them cook at the right temperature :love: Friggin' awesome, though!
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:iconvashtastic:
Vashtastic Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2007   Digital Artist
awesome!!!!!!!!!
Reply
:icontaeliac:
taeliac Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2007  Professional Artisan Crafter
Next experiment: using dyes to dye wigs... :D
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