Not quite as morbid as it sounds, I assure you. Last weekend I spent some time playing with dye and fabric in preparation for a bigger project I have coming up. All in all, it was a success and I’m pretty happy with how most of the fabrics turned out, as well as everything I learned in the process. If you’re thinking of trying the same thing yourself, I have a few words of caution that you may not find on the dye box:

1. Of course you should read the package carefully– but even then, know that things probably won’t go exactly as planned. For example, rayon is supposed to be dye-able, but it didn’t soak up the dye in quite the same way that cotton or viscose did. Polyester or any other synthetic material? Forget it; those fabrics will not dye with normal, household dye. (I used Dylon permanent.) Also, if the thread or any trimmings on the item are not the same kind of fiber as the main fabric, they will hold the dye differently. This can be pretty unattractive, trust me. Black with coral stitching? Not what I was going for!

2. Colors are additive. I was dyeing with black (which was not actually black but a mixture of a lot of other colors, mostly blue) and I figured that it’d be dark enough to cover up any original color in the fabric. Some of the items didn’t turn completely black but, rather, looked like the black was a ‘wash’ on top of the original fabric color. So purple became navy blue, and green became a super deep olive. It looked ok, but not what I was going for. 

3. Wear the same color that you are using for the dye… obvious enough. It’s not the neatest process, and you’re bound to get some spots on your clothes (and the sink, and your skin, and ….) while you work.  On the upside, if you want to go as a zombie for Halloween, all you have to do is dunk your hands in a black dye bath for a few minutes and you’ll have skin the color of the undead….