Spandex is a stretchy, synthetic fibre that is sometimes used on its own for clothing but is usually blended with other fabrics. Even in low blends, when the amount of spandex is only 3 per cent, the spandex gives the fabric stretching properties. This makes the garment more comfortable and flexible. Spandex on its own needs to be dyed in an industrial dyer because of the high temperatures required. However, you can dye spandex blends at home using commercially available dyes.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Fabric paint
- Spray bottle
- Acid dye
Insert a piece of cardboard inside the clothing item to separate the layers. If you are dyeing a straight piece of spandex, lay it over the cardboard.
Fill a spray bottle with 1 part pigment dye and 2 parts water. Shake the bottle to combine the elements.
Spray the solution lightly over the fabric and allow it to dry.
Wash the fabric in cool water when laundering.
Prepare your washing machine by setting the hot/cold wash cycle and filling the tub with enough water to cover the fabric. For a single spandex item, this will be the low setting. Insert the spandex into the machine to wet it, remove it and set it aside.
Add the dye powder according to the manufacturer's instructions and set the machine to agitate. This dissolves the dye.
Add the spandex and let the machine agitate.
Pour 1 cup white, distilled vinegar into the water, avoiding the spandex. Agitate the load some more.
Set the machine to the maximum cycle and let washer do complete the cycle. Set the machine on another cool rinse cycle to remove any excess dye in the machine. When finished, remove the fabric and dry on low heat.
Tips and warnings
- You can dye cotton/spandex blends using standard dyes. These blends are so low in spandex that they only dye the cotton and give the illusion that the spandex is dyed as well. Dye them with cotton-appropriate dye.
- Spandex does not stand up to heat well. Only use the hot water setting when dyeing the fabric. Wash spandex in lukewarm water for regular care.
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