You too can dye in the comfort of your own home without ruining your kitchen or taking up a ton of space. I built myself a portable dye kitchen. I set it up in the morning and take it down at night when I am done!
In October last year we moved into our brand new house that we spent 2 years building. I promptly began to dye in our new kitchen, everything was going swimmingly. Until one day - even though I was being extremely careful, I slipped. In slow motion I watched some of the dye water jump out of the pot and hit the backsplash. Thank goodness the backspalsh is brown and the red dye water didnt leave a mark. I was lucky this time but might not be as lucky with our white granite counters next time. So I set out to create a safe kitchen for myself and have shared the results (along with links of where to buy) below.
Here is what you need:
1. A burner (or two) - When we hold dye classes in our shop, we use induction burners - they draw less power, you can plug two into the same outlet without blowing a fuse and they turn themselves off if there is no pan on it. TIP: you can't set them over medium heat or they will blow your fuse, but that will keep your water plenty warm. We use these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E5612YI/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
2. A table to put your burners on. We use these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0043KXCS0/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 They are plastic, lightweight and easy to clean. They also fold away when you are ready to put your dye kitcken away.
3. Measuring cups - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00M2J7PCI/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Pyrex is a good brand. I was using a glass pitcher for a little while and it wasnt long before it cracked, I assume from the heat.
4. Dye spoons - We sell these on our website. Both a set of 3 and set of 4. Which do you need? Of course, it depends on what you are doing. You can get away with the set of 3, but you will find yourself doing a fair amount of extra math. i.e. when you need a half t, you will have to use 2 1/4 t unless you have the set of 4. Sounds simple, but it complicates an already fairly complicated process.
Link to the set of 3: https://greenmountainhookedrugs.com/products/dyespoons?variant=702753319
Link to the set of 4: https://greenmountainhookedrugs.com/products/dyespoons-setof4?variant=702771735
5. Dyes, Citric Acid and Synthrapol - we sell all these on our website as well. Links below. Things to consider - cushing dyes tend to have a more dulled color while prochem are very bright. You can use vinegar in place of citric acid, but it will give your wool a vinegar smell. Prosapol is an eco-frindly version of synthrapol.
Citric Acid - https://greenmountainhookedrugs.com/products/citricacid
6. Pots, Tongs and Aluminum Pans - I bought these items all from my local Ocean State Job Lots, but I think you could get them at Wal-Mart, Target, etc. I bought 30 gallon stock pots with lids, this holds about a yard of wool. If you dont dye a yard at a time, you can use something smaller. The tongs I bought have plastic covers on them, I do not recommend these. Dyes gets stuck under them sometimes. Pick ones that are just metal. The aluminum pans work well to put your wool in and bake so you can move on to the next piece of wool.
7. Dye books - You can of course just play, but if you want some formulas here are some good books to help guide you.
For Cushing dyes:
For ProChem dyes:
Some other things to think about: I put lots of newspaper down on the table and have a roll of paper towels handy. It helps catch any water and keeps things from getting messy. I also put an old towel down on the floor. We have dark wood floors so I am not worried about them getting stained, but if you have light floors you might want a few extra towels. A sink is another thing to think about, we have a big painting sink in our laundry room which I use. You can use your kitchen one and not risk spills by putting the entire pot in the sink and filling it with water and slowly dumping it every so often. You also dont want to dump boiling water down your drain as it may case the glue on pipes to melt and you will have leaks. Cool the hot water down by adding cold water to the pot before dumping.
Feel free to ask questions in the comments section below - I am happy to help answer!
If you still have questions or are really enjoying dyeing think about taking a dye class with Mariah this summer at Green Mountain Rug School in June! Mariah has an interesting style and has developed her own ideas with input from her mom, Stephanie and grandmother Anne Ashworth. For more information visit: