Fabric and Floss Dyeing – Part 3

Final in a three part series. I started by listing some of the sources on the web that I used to gather material for our class. Part 2 was a list of steps for the fabric dyeing process. Part 3 covers the steps you’ll follow for dyeing floss.


  • Plastic Table cloth
  • Masking tape
  • Gloves
  • Apron
  • Rit Liquid Dye – 3 or more colors
  • Water
  • Measuring or PlasticSpoons
  • Plastic Cups
  • Permanent Markers
  • 2” Foam Brushes
  • Vinegar
  • Spray Bottles
  • DMC Floss or 100%Cotton Thread
  • Dishwashing Liquid
  • Disposable Plastic Container
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Microwave
  • Paper Towel

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. Use gloves to prevent staining to your hands. Use an apron to keep your clothes from getting dirty.

Prepare the dyes that you will be using to dye your floss.
Be sure to shake up the liquid RIT dye before using. I used equal parts hot water to liquid RIT dye. For example: I used 3 tablespoons of dye, and 3 tablespoons of hot water. You do not need to mix a lot of each color dye if you are using multiple colors.I mixed the dyes in plastic cups for ease of clean up.Measuring spoons are helpful; however, plastic spoons can be used if you do not want to dedicate a set of measuring spoons. Do not use any utensil that you will use for cooking afterwards. Use a permanent marker to indicate the color in the cup. Place a dedicated foam brush in each cup and stir. You will be using Vinegar to set your dyes, so fill a small spray bottle with vinegar.

Prepare your floss for dyeing.

For Pre-cut Floss: Remove the paper bands from the floss.

For Floss in Cones or Balls: Cut the desired amount that you want to dye.

Use sturdy cardboard at least 5” long to wrap your cut length around. Remove the wrapped floss from the cardboard. Wet the floss prior to dyeing. Using a small disposable plastic container, place a squeeze of dishwashing liquid and fill with warm water.
Wet your floss thoroughly in the soapy warm water. Let it soak for a few minutes.
Try to maintain the shape of the floss without tangling it. Rinse in warm water to remove the soap. Place the wet floss on a pre-cut piece of plastic wrap. Use the foam brushes in your prepared dyes to add color to your floss.Apply in sections for a variegated look.  Once you have added color to one side, carefully flip over the floss and coat the other side with color.
Make sure to use the same colors of dye in the same sections of thread or you will get a muddy mottled affect. That’s fine if that is what you are trying to achieve. Once you have finished applying color to your floss, spray with vinegar and wrap in the plastic wrap.

Place your wrapped floss packet in the microwave and heat in 10 second increments to heat your floss and create a little steam. Watch carefully. This should not take more than 30 seconds. How long it actually takes will depend on the wattage of your microwave. Make sure you do not heat it too long or you will melt the plastic wrap and/or burn your floss.

Be careful when you remove your floss from the microwave. It will be hot. You may want to let it cool down a little before you remove the plastic wrap from your floss to rinse it.

Rinse your floss in warm water till it stops releasing dye. Set on paper towel to dry completely before using.
Clean up.