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!

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Let's get started!

Basic Stove Top Dyeing with (most types of) Acid Dye

Everything you'll need

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

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

Acid dye instructions

The chart above says to increase the dye for black, but this applies to any color with an * by the name, so both the True Black*, the Toner Black*, also Dark Navy*. If other colors come out too light for your taste, you can always add more dye.

Step 2: Pre-wash/soak your fabric in warm water with a few drops of Dharma Dryer's 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.

Enough water to cover fabric

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.

Weigh your dyestuffs

Weight reminder

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.

Dissolve the dye

Add to your pot

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.

Fabric should be very wet when added

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.

Slowly raise temp

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.

Adding your citric acid or vinegar

Citric acid/vinegar reminder

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 Dharma Dyer's 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!)

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About Tiered Discount Levels

You can combine cotton and rayon clothing & accessories to get the greatest discounts. Your discount is figured on the total number of cotton and rayon items we ship, not how many of each type, style or size. Mix and match them to get the best discount.

Example: adding 4 each of 3 different T-shirts in any sizes will give you the 12+ price on all 12 shirts.

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Some products may be excluded from discounts, and / or may discount only with themselves. If you have any questions at all please contact us toll free at 800-542-5227 (no buttons, just humans).

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