I have always wanted to try dyeing my own embroidery floss but was scared that I would ruin it. What if it turned out ugly pea green mixed with 70's brown? About.com gave me a chance to write a tutorial for dyeing your own variegated floss, It was so easy! I can't believe I missed out for so long. Now I want to dye everything!
Since this was my first try, I didn't want to put a lot of money into dye so I went with a very simple commercial dye.
- White floss
- Rit Dye
- Squirt Bottles (I found these in the kitchen section of my local store)
- plastic gloves (I used vinyl gloves like they use in the hospital)
- plastic wrap
For dyeing floss, I didn't want to make up the entire batch of dye. I only wanted to make enough to fill the squirt bottles. I also wanted to do this so I could make variegated floss. I added two cups of hot water to the squirt bottle, then added 1 tablespoon salt, and started adding dye, about 1/4 of the packet. The salt is for cotton fabrics and floss. It helps the dye adhere to the floss better. If you want the dye to be a stronger color, you can keep adding to it. To check and see how vibrant the color was, I tested a little squirt on a paper towel.
To prepare the area and the floss, I put down plastic wrap to cover my area, not too much, just enough to cover the area and lay the floss on top. I then took my floss and ran it under hot water. I squeezed out the excess water and laid it on my plastic wrap.
Now the fun part! Squirt your dye onto the floss. Be prepared, it will run! As you can see from the picture, the colors did bleed into each other, which is fine since I wanted variegated floss.
One way to stop the dye from bleeding onto the floss is to add a little at a time, pick up the plastic wrap and then mix into the floss. Continue to add your colors.
After you have all the colors you want on your floss, wrap it up with the plastic wrap. The color will darker over time. You can let it sit for a day and have dark vibrant colors, or let it sit for a few minutes and have muted tones. It is up to you and experiment with color. Have fun with shades .
After you have your desired color, rinse out your floss and let it air dry. You certainly can dry it in the dryer but I prefer to air dry. Once it is dry, have fun and get to stitching with your one of a kind floss.
Close up on what the final product looked like all stitched up. This is just one way to dye floss. You can use natural dyes or different foods to obtain a spectrum of colors. The only thing stopping you is your imagination!