Yup! That's right. This article is going to teach you to dye like a pro in 5 mins! More likely an amateur, but hey, at least you are doing it... and I am going to kill the first 2 minutes of my time with the silly story below. Therefore, I am really teaching you to dye in 3 minutes. Begin time now.
I have a short attention span and am therefore quickly on to the... hey, look a squirrel. I also learn best by doing. These two things make it incredibly difficult to teach me anything. I often say to people "tell me everything you know in 5 mins or less". Many look at me like I have 5 heads - but the fact is, they can typically tell me 80% of what they know in that 5 mins and listening to them drone-on for an additional 2 hours just to get that extra 20% isn't worth it to me.
I was ready to learn to dye and said to my mom (who has been dyeing for 40+ years), "tell me everything you know in 5 mins". First, she looked at me like I have 5 heads (she does that a lot), then she said the following:
- You need - a pot you don't cook in, some tongs, a glass measuring cup (I used a small glass pitcher because I didn't have a measuring cup),
- Boil water in a pot big enough to fit your wool with some extra space to be able to stir it around
- Add a drop of synthrapol to the water, or some other softening agent
- Put your wool in the pot and fully saturate it - maybe for 5-10 mins
- Take 1/2 to 1 cup of boiling water out of the pot and add dry dye into that water and stir well so that all the particles are disolved
- A 1/4 teaspoon of dye in 1 cup of water would give you a medium color for 1/4 a yard of wool. If you want a darker color increase the amount of dry dye. For a lighter color, do the opposite.
- Pour your dye water into the pot. Throw about 1/8 of a cup of citric acid in the pot. If you stir more it will be a more even color. Stir less, it will be more mottled.
- Once your wool has taken up most of the color (the water is mostly clear). Simmer it in the pot for 40 mins to an hour.
- Pull it out of the pot and rinse it. For instructions on how to wash it read our previous blog post titled "Why it's important to wash your wool before it goes into a rug... and tips on washing."
Viola! Your Done! Here is what came out of my pot the first time I dyed. I used 4 colors and 1/4 yard pieces of white wool.
Obviously, there is much more to dyeing than this. How do you get the color you want? Dip dyes, spot dyes, swatches... how do you do that? There are also best practices in dyeing and things you shouldn't do. How to keep you and your equipment safe, etc. But use the above notes to get started and play. See if you even like the process.
Not sure how to build your at home dye kitchen? I wrote a blog on that too! Read "Set up your dye kitchen in 5 mins or less..."
If you decide you do like dyeing and want to learn more, contact Stephanie at the Green Mountain Hooked Rugs shop to schedule a lesson.