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Tub Dyeing Basics with Dharma Acid Dyes

Solid color dyeing a silk scarf, wool yarn, or even your old sweater, is really as simple as simmering spaghetti. Let us show you how easy it is!

Basic Stove Top Dyeing with Acid Dyes

Step 1: Weigh your item and write it down for later.

Basic Recipe (if you don't want to weigh your fabric):

Step 2: Pre-wash/soak your fabric in warm water with a few drops of Synthrapol or our Professional Textile Detergent to remove oils, dirt, silkworm gum, etc. Do not dry! Everything needs to be thoroughly wet before it is added to the dye bath.

Step 3: Fill a stainless steel or enamel pot with enough hot tap water for the fabric to swim freely.

Step 4: Weigh out your dye. The weight of your item x 1.5% will give you the amount of dye you need. In our case 6 oz x .015 = 0.09 oz of dye.

Please note: To get the most out of colors on our dye color chart, we used 1/4-1/3 oz. dye per lb of fabric (1.5-2% of the weight of the fabric), which is approximately 2 1/4 - 3 level teaspoons (depending on the color - densities vary, so this is not an accurate method). To get a really dark Navy or a good Black, we used 2/3 oz. per lb of fiber (4% of the weight of the fabric, or approximately 6 level teaspoons). For lighter colors, use less, for even darker shades than our color chart, use more.

Step 5: Pre-dissolve your dye. Add about a cup of hot water to your dye and stir. If a color seems hard to dissolve, try adding a little boiling water. Add the dye to the pot and mix it into the water.

Step 6: Add your thoroughly wetted fabric to the dyepot. Stir to evenly distribute the dye. If dyeing wool items be sure to stir gently to avoid felting.

Step 7: Turn the heat on and gradually raise the temperature to 180-185 degrees Fahrenheit, just below boiling. Use your instant read thermometer to check the temperature, you do not want the water to boil and bubble or you may felt wool items.

Step 8: Add ¼ cup of vinegar, or 1 Tbs. of Citric Acid, per pound of dry fabric. Try not to pour directly onto the fabric, instead push the material to one side of the pot as you pour and then stir. The dye will start to exhaust, moving from the water to the fabric.

Step 9: Maintain temperature and stir frequently for a ½ hour, or up to an hour for really dark colors. If the dye exhausts before ½ hour is up it is ok to turn the heat off then. If a color isn't exhausting well, try adding more vinegar or citric acid. If you still have a lot of color left, take a note that you could try using less dye next time with that particular color.

Step 10: Turn off the heat and let everything cool down. Once cool enough, rinse in Synthrapol or Professional Textile Detergent and warm water to remove any excess dye. Ideally there will be just a little dye to wash out.

Once your item is dry it is time to wear it with pride (unless you are dyeing sweaters in July!)

Shopping list:

Non-reactive pot: enamel, stainless steel

Big spoon

Instant read thermometer

Digital scale

Calculator

Dharma Acid Dye or Jacquard Acid Dye (We used our 442- Honey Mustard)

White vinegar or Citric Acid

Synthrapol or Professional Textile Detergent

Something to Dye: We upcycled an old wool and mohair shawl, or other options:
Alpaca Shawls
Silk Scarves
Silk Fabric
Yarns and Roving
Your old sweaters and scarves


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