Thursday, May 2, 2013

First Time Rit Dying: A tale of purple fabric failure

Today I tried Rit Dying.  I am not an expert and the stuff I tried to dye black turned brownish/deep purplish. Which is fine because I only used clothes that I don't really wear anyway.  It was a good science experiment.  I was inspired by Kara's adventure in dying which turned out WAY better than mine.  She is magical.

First I bought some black Rit Dye at Joann's and with coupons, my total investment was $4.32!

Here are all the clothes I wanted to dye but my bucket wasn't big enough.  The upper right hand shorts and upper left hand purple sweater did not get dyed because they didn't fit in the bucket.
A lot of white shirts and a yellow top and green sweater.  All of these shirts I either rarely wear or they need to be mended in some way so I figured this was a good group to try this with.  I can always make headbands or wash rags with them!

Here's my bucket.  Actually it is Husbando's bucket.  And we've had fights about this bucket.  Basically it goes like this:  Husbando isn't in charge of the house cleaning but about once a year he decides he wants to clean the floors of the rooms and uses Pine Sol of all things which makes the entire house reek for hours.  I also don't have control of the cleaning during this time so it makes me nervous.  And I feel like he doesn't understand about actually disinfecting and cleaning, not just swishing some water around, etc.  Needless to say there has been much yelling by me about the bucket because it symbolizes my loss of control of the cleaning, and a lot of dumbfounded open-mouthed staring from Husbando with helpful comments like "It's just a bucket."  So I found it comical yesterday that I had to text him at work that I was using HIS bucket and that I was actually happy to have that bucket for my dying process.  Which he totally gloated about over dinner.  I now love the bucket.
I filled my bucket with hot water.  If I had known about the time commitment for all of this I probably would have tried it in the washing machine, but I was sort of terrified that I would have to go out and buy a new washing machine because the dye would ruin it.
I soaked my clothes in hot water on the other side of the sink.
Poured in the dye.  See the color of the handle of the spoon?  And then watch through the frames--that spoon is about to be completely black!
I mixed in my clothes and waiting for five minutes.
Then I poured a cup of salt in the mixture--it's supposed to make the dye set better.  I also filled the sink up surrounding the bucket with extra hot water to keep the bucket water warm.
I let my clothes steep while I mixed them for about 40 minutes.  Here is the result.  It took at least a half hour to rise all of these out.  I don't think I'll ever do this many at once again.  It's such a waste of water.
Here's my black spoon!!!!!!!!!  Crazy!  Was hoping my clothes would be that color.  Oh, and WEAR GLOVES.  Can you imagine what your hands would look like after squeezing out dye from clothes for 30 minutes?
After I rinsed the clothes, I put them in a trash bag to transport them upstairs to the washing machine, where I washed on hot on a long cycle and then dried.
Here's the first shirt.  It used to be white.

Look at those awesome pit stains that I didn't even notice when it was white!  Yikes!  Will definitely need to refashion this one.  I'm hoping I can save the detail in the top, but we'll see.

This shirt was also white and WAY uglier now!
Look at that mid section of uneveness!
The sleeves are cool.  I might be able to salvage these and put them on another dress or shirt or something.
This used to be a yellow top.
Sort of loving these colors together.
But will have to wear a sweater.  Freaking pit stains!
This used to be white.  It turned out pretty cool with the threading, which I'm guessing is polyester, not dying.
This top was white.  It looks way blacker than it actually is--it's more of a gray/purple/brown.  I think I will refashion it to a tank top.
This was my favorite green sweater when I was in law school but the color had totally faded.  Now it's a purpley brown.  It still has holes in it.  I think I will mend the holes, chop the sleeves and hem them around the elbows, take off the buttons and line with something like I did here and make it a fancy short sweater for work.


  1. Hi there, Happy to see you used Rit Dye! You would get better results if you dyed fewer items at one time. We have just recently posted some videos that would help you. Secrets for Successful Dyeing Also, the Stove Top Method of dyeing will keep your dye bath really hot. Here's a video link for that.
    Happy Dyeing! The Rit Dye Team

  2. Thanks for your post! Yes, it was my first time so even though I read all kinds of tutorials I really wasn't adequately prepared. I put WAY too many pieces in at once. I was much more successful the second time with some teal dye and I used the vinegar method instead of the salt. It's such a fun product though--I'm totally obsessed now! Thanks for reading!