How to dye a satin dress

Written by kayla lowe
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How to dye a satin dress
Satin can be difficult to dye. (Zffoto/iStock/Getty Images)

Satin-weave fabrics are some of the most difficult to dye. Because satin is an extremely smooth, glossy fabric, the dye has a tendency to wash out or slide off of the fabric. Moreover, satin can be made of many natural or synthetic fibres. You must first determine what type of fibre your dress is made of to correctly dye it. Certain fibres are easier to dye than others, and some require different dying techniques. For instance, natural silk satin is much easier to dye than polyester satin.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Satin dress
  • Large pot
  • Hob
  • Disperse dye
  • Fibre reactive dye
  • Acid dye
  • Hanger

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  1. 1

    Determine what type of fibre your satin is made from by simply referring to the label sewn into the back of the dress. There are polyester satins, acetate satins, silk satins, nylon satins and rayon satins. If your satin is composed of two fibres, revert to the dying method of the predominant fabric.

  2. 2

    Dye polyester or acetate satin dresses by boiling them in a large pot on the hob for half an hour on the highest heat setting possible using a disperse dye. Rinse and wash the fabric when you are finished boiling. A disperse dye is a very slightly water-soluble dye that transfers extremely finely divided particles to the fabric to colour it.

  3. 3

    Dye silk and rayon satin dresses by allowing them sit in a large pot of fibre reactive dye for half an hour at room temperature, and then rinse and wash the dress. A fibre reactive dye is dye that forms a covalent bond with the fibre, and is the easiest and most permanent type of dye to use. Procion is an example of a fibre reactive dye.

  4. 4

    Dye nylon satin dresses by heating them in a large pot on the hob to a simmer using acid dyes. Do this for ten minutes, and then rinse and wash the fabric. An acid dye is dye that contains an acidic ingredient, such as vinegar, to form bonds with fibre.

  5. 5

    Hang the dyed satin dresses on hangers to air-dry naturally.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a burn test to determine what type of fibre a satin is made from if your dress contains no tag (see Resources).
  • Beware of damaging your silk dresses by attempting to dye them. Dying silk should be avoided if possible as most silk is extremely difficult to dye and can produce unfavourable results.

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