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How to Dye Graduated Fabric

Updated April 14, 2018

Graduated fabric is a dyed piece of cloth that gets progressively darker from one edge to the other. Quilters and other crafters prize graduated colour fabrics, even though they can be relatively expensive. With graduated fabric, no matter where you cut out a piece of cloth you are always guaranteed to have a matching piece. Don't settle for the limited variety that fabric stores offer. Make your own graduated colour cotton fabric in a rainbow of hues.

Wash the cotton fabric in regular laundry soap to remove any starch or sizing it may have. Leave the fabric damp.

Put on a pair of rubber gloves. Mix the dye according to the package directions with water and salt. Pour the mix into a large bucket and stir the contents with a large metal spoon.

Roll the length of fabric onto a broomstick to help control the mass of fabric. Place a cardboard box next to the bucket. Choose a box that is about 1 foot taller than the bucket. Set the broomstick on top of the box so that the fabric can cascade from the top of the box into the bucket.

Unroll some of the fabric and allow it to dip into the dye. Leave it in the dye for 10 minutes.

Unroll more fabric and allow it to submerge into the dye for five minutes. Unroll more after that and dip it into the dye bucket. Continue dipping sections of fabric into the bucket until the first section of fabric has been submerged for the maximum time recommended on the dye package.

Remove the fabric from the dye and rinse it in cool water. Hold the fabric with the lightest shade at the top so that more dye doesn't run down onto the lighter parts of the fabric. Wash the fabric in the washing machine in warm water with laundry soap. Machine or air-dry the fabric and iron it before using.

Things You'll Need

  • Commercial fabric dye
  • Cotton fabric
  • Rubber gloves
  • Metal spoon
  • Salt
  • Measuring cup
  • Broomstick
  • Bucket
  • Cardboard box
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
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About the Author

Working in sunny Florida, Anne Baley has been writing professionally since 2009. Her home and lifestyle articles have been seen on Coldwell Banker and Gardening Know How. Baley has published a series of books teaching how to live a frugal life with style and panache.