Fabric and Floss Dyeing – Part 2

by Jessica Jones

Second in a three part series. Last month I started by listing some of the sources on the web that I used to gather material for our class. Part 2 is a list the of steps for the fabric dyeing process. Part 3 will be the steps for the floss dyeing.


  • Gloves
  • 100% Cotton EvenweaveFabric or 100%
  • Linen Fabric
  • Sewing Machine or Serger
  • Washing Machine
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Cookie sheet and Wire Grill Or Beef Jerky Tray
  • Ice
  • RIT Powdered Dye – 3 or more colors
  • Zip-Loc snack size bags
  • Iron
  • Paper Towels
  • Plastic Table cloth
  • Masking tape
  • Apron
  • Vinegar
  • Spray Bottles
  • Water

Prepare your area for dyeing.

  • Use the plastic table cloth to cover your work area.
  • Tape down with masking tape to keep it from shifting.

Prepare yourself for dyeing.

  • Wear clothes that you will not mind if you get dye on them. o Use gloves to prevent staining your hands.
  • Use an apron to keep your clothes from getting dirty.

Prepare your fabric for dyeing.

  • Serge or zigzag the edges of your fabric (sized for your project) to prevent fraying.
  • Wash your fabric with laundry detergent using your washing machine to remove any sizing that may be in the material.
  • If you plan on dyeing your fabric immediately after you wash it, continue to the instruction for

Prepare the tools for dyeing otherwise air dry or use a dryer to dry the fabric till you can dye it.

Prepare your tools for dyeing.

  • You will be using Vinegar to set your dyes, fill a small spray bottle with vinegar.
  • You will be using Water to help set your ice, fill a small spray bottle with water.
  • Prepare your dyeing rack — use a jerky tray or place a cooling rack in a cookie pan with a lip

Prepare the dyes that you will be using to dye your fabric.

  • Remove the packages of powered dye from their boxes.
  • Snip the corners of the packages.
  • Set the packages down carefully until you are ready to use. Avoid spilling any of the powered dye.
  • Make sure that your fabric is thoroughly wet. Soak in warm water and ring out any excess
  • Place the wet fabric on the grill in the cookie sheet and scrunch it up.
  • Scrunching will give the fabric places of interest where the color will or will not adhere to so that it gives dimension.
  • The ice should stick to the fabric if the fabric is wet enough. If not, have a water bottle handy with water to spritz the fabric to help the ice stick.
  • Once you have covered your fabric with as much ice as you can, begin adding the powdered dyes.
  • Take one dye and sprinkle it as you would salt all over your ice covered fabric. Place the powdered dye in a snack size zip-loc bag to prevent the dye spilling between uses and place back in the dye box for the appropriate color. Continue adding additional dye colors until you feel that you have added enough dye to you fabric. There is no right or wrong amount:)
  • Wait until all of the ice melts (about 2 hours)
  • Once the ice has melted completely rinse your fabric in warm water till it stops releasing dye
  • Smooshing the fabric a little before rinsing will move excess die to areas that may not have enough color saturation. If you’re happy with the look, don’t smoosh!Spray your fabric with vinegar until it soaking wet and let is sit on a paper towel or covered surface for 5 minutes.
  • Rinse the vinegar out of your fabric with warm water.
  • Dry your fabric and press with an iron to remove the wrinkles.
  • Clean up.