How to Dye Fabric With Cold Water

Written by andrea griffith
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How to Dye Fabric With Cold Water
Delicate fabrics may require cold-water dyes. ( Images)

Most dyeing projects require the use of very hot water. But if you are dyeing a fabric that can only be washed in cold water, there is a solution: cold-water dyes. Cold-water dyes use only a little hot water -- just enough to dissolve the powdered dye -- so you can dye any fabric safely, easily and without worrying about ruining the fabric.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Large bowl
  • 1 packet cold-water dye powder
  • Small bowl
  • 1 pt. hot tap water
  • 113gr. salt
  • 1 packet cold-dye fixative
  • Stainless steel spoon

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  1. 1

    Wash the fabric, as usual, in cold water prior to dyeing the item. Wring out the fabric when washed, but do not dry it.

  2. 2

    Fill a bowl with ice cold water. You will need enough water to ensure the fabric can be completely submerged.

  3. 3

    Pour 1 packet of a powdered cold-water dye into a small bowl. Add 1 pt. of hot tap water to the dye to dissolve it. Once dissolved, add the dye water to the bowl of ice cold water.

  4. 4

    Pour 113gr. of salt and 1 packet of a cold-dye fixative into the empty small bowl. Add about 1 cup of hot tap water to the bowl. Stir the salt solution with a stainless steel spoon to ensure the salt and fixative are properly dissolved.

  5. 5

    Pour the salt solution into the bowl of cold-dye water.

  6. 6

    Loosen the damp fabric, then place it into the dye water. Stir the fabric continuously for the first 10 minutes, then stir occasionally for another 50 minutes.

  7. 7

    Rinse the fabric under cold water until all of the excess dye has been washed out. Wash the garment in the washing machine, at a cold-water setting, as usual.

Tips and warnings

  • The dye can stain your hands and clothing. To be safe -- and stain-free -- wear old clothing and rubber gloves when dyeing fabric.

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