Hi friends!Are you guys into dyeing/tie-dyeing/whatever? For me, honestly, it always sounds like the most intimidating idea ever and I feel completely overwhelmed until I actually do it. And every single time afterwards I think, “man that wasn’t so bad at all, and look at these cool, colorful things I have to fill my life with!” haha.
Part of it might be because I do like to control things, I like to know that if I do things a certain way, I’ll have a guaranteed outcome. But I don’t know– projects like this are good for me, they’re reminders that life really isn’t like that— that sometimes it’s good to just try something and be surprised by a happy outcome. And the good thing about dyeing things is that you really can’t go wrong. I mean, yeah, if you mix too many colors you might get a poo poo brown, but if you’re not mixing five colors at once, you’re good to go and setting yourself up for a colorful surprise.
Rit Dye reached out and asked if I wanted to do a project with them. I was almost positive (but double did my research just in case) that Rit Dyes are non-toxic, eco safe, and vegan. And I found “yes, yes, yes’s” all around. I was very happy to see that. I wanted to do a project that Marlowe could also have fun with– and I certainly wouldn’t have her playing with some toxic chemicals.
Marlowe and I decided to search our closets and drawers for older items that we could up-cycle. Sure, you can very well buy new things to dye (also fun), but we wanted to fix up older things that may (were totally) deeply stained and needed an uplift. Rit Dye may not cover up all stains– but it does cover many of them– and certainly covered up ours 🙂 To be honest, we didn’t have too many things left to dye, since we had just done a massive purge two months ago, but Marlowe did have some (very loved) stained clothes that needed a touch up and I had some tote bags that were feeling dirty, that could use a touch of color. OH! And I had two scarves from India that I had kept tucked away FOREVER that I wanted to dye. Did I ever tell you the story with that? No one was able to finish their scarves in the allotted time– but Raha and I were dead set on actually finishing and dyeing the scares– so we brought them everywhere on the trip to do it. About a year later, Raha came to visit and we finished our scarves. Then I had actually had a tie dye party at my house a year ago and dyed them– FINALLY. And they came out okay— but a bit too rainbow-y. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE rainbows and colors, but I don’t wear super bright colors– so I wanted to re-do them to a more drea-wardrobe friendly color. Thats also the fun part of dye– you can also overdye the colors you’ve already done or use Rit Dye’s color remover to remove color from items and start fresh! I opted to not remove the old color, but just color over the existing colors to see what kind of patterns would emerge.
You can totally use Rit Dye inside (again it’s super non toxic so you don’t have to worry about highly ventilating like with some other super toxic dyes, eeeek), but I set it up outside because I’m super messy and I prefer to do everything outside in the fresh air instead of in my dark kitchen 🙂 If it wasn’t so damn expensive, I would have put in a skylight by now. Maybe I should…
Pro tip: totally leave your bottles out in front of each dye bath. That way you always know what color is inside the bucket. It’s SUPER hard to tell otherwise. All pinks looked the same inside the buckets even those they were drastically different.
We kept it super simple. A pile of cloth and five different colors. Rit Dye has 32 different colors! But think of all the different color combinations you can make with that! Rit Dye has over 500 color formulas on their site! Honestly, I had so much fun seeing my scarf finally finished– I want to make more of them for sure. And maybe as time goes by, I’ll get more technical on colors and mixing, but for now, it’s exciting enough to make patterns with a few, easy colors.
- Fill each bucket with 1 to 3 gallons of very hot tap water, depending upon the size of the item and bucket. If tap water is not hot enough, you can boil some water in a bucket or tea pot. Rit dye is activated with hot water.
- Add 1/2 bottle of dye (use less dye for lighter shades) and 1/2 cup salt (if you’re dyeing cotton) to each bucket. Stir well!
- Always pre-wash the item before you dye it.
- Wet the item (important), dip it, immerse it or tie it up and dip it
- Items should remain in dye bath for about 20 minutes, depending upon the shade desired.
Tip: To help prevent color bleeding, immediately spray or dip dye areas in Rit ColorStay Dye
- Fixative for 20 minutes, following the instructions on the bottle.
- Then rinse with a garden hose (like I did!) or in a sink and launder. TADA!
And TADA! Color magic. Now all our things that we loved, but didn’t want to part with got a face lift. I wasn’t so sure about the scarves when I first pulled them out, but now I’m super in love with the color. I think they came out perfect. Can’t wait to send Raha her scarf too 🙂 It just makes so much sense to fix things up, instead of throwing them out, you know? And you don’t even have to do patterns– you just just toss something in one bucket of color, let it sit, and have it come out new again. And really, you don’t even have to just use fabric. Rit Dye works on all sorts of things– like wood, wax, paper, lampshades, macrame, planters, and nylon based plastics– seriously, all sorts of things. SO many possibilities. I see myself doing a yellow candle project soon to match my yellow bedroom. And I’m sure I’ve shared a photo before, but my friend Lauren did a whole bed set the most glorious rainbow colors, it’s like sleeping in a dream. If my bedroom didn’t already have a theme, you better believe I would have done that too.
Wanna win the most fun and colorful prize? I’m giving away this one-of-a-kind (very pink!) organic backpack I made along with a Rit Dye color kit to one amazing ohdeardrea reader!
just comment below with how you would use Rit Dye and one project you’re dyeing to try out yourself! (make sure to leave your email too!)
*US residents and 18+ only please.
Photos by my beautiful friend, Brittany De Jesus
*This post was colorfully and safely sponsored by Rit Dye 😉