Tutorials for Dyeing Your Own Cross-Stitch Fabric

I have seen so many women on social media sharing photos of dyeing their own evenweave, linen and Aida fabrics for cross-stitch and other embroidery projects. I have seen beautiful results with tea dyeing, ice dyeing and many other methods. Some are going for an antique look. Others are dyeing fabrics in deep purples or bright greens.

I have never tried dyeing my own fabric, but I can’t say I’m not tempted. So, being the librarian that I am, of course I started doing my own research. I’ve collected this mega-list of tutorials for dyeing fabrics, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that there is no one right way to do it. There is a lot of experimentation, creativity, and adventure involved.

Background Information

Tea and Coffee Dyeing

If you like primitive-style cross-stitch designs, you may want your fabric to have an antique or rustic look, and dyeing fabric with tea and/or coffee is one way to do that. Here are several methods for dyeing with coffee and tea:

Basic Sink or Bucket Dyeing

All you really need to dye is a sink or bucket and your fabric dyes, along with some salt or vinegar. Here are some simple dyeing tutorials:

Ice or Snow Dyeing

These tutorials use ice or snow in combination with fiber reactive dyes to achieve a mottled or tie-dye type look:

  • Learn how to ice dye from the Dharma Trading Co.
  • If you need a reason to look  forward to winter, “Snow Dyeing Tips” by Vikki Walsh is pretty amazing.
  • This video from Hobby Lobby breaks down the ice dyeing method in 2 minutes:


Marble Dyeing with Shaving Cream

You can achieve a marble effect in your fabric by using fabric dyes with shaving cream.

  • Shaving Cream Dyeing” by Dharma Trading Co.
  • The National Quilter’s Circle has a number of great fabric dyeing videos on YouTube. Here is one that covers marbling with shaving cream:
  • The Rit Dye company also has many video tutorials on dyeing processes, including this one about the shaving cream marbling process:


Painting Your Fabric

Instead of dyeing, you can also try painting your fabric, as these tutorials show:

There are so many methods and techniques for achieving different results when dyeing fabric. This is just a selection of some of the most popular techniques for dyeing needlework fabrics.

Have you dyed your own fabric? Feel free to share additional tips, horror stories, or successes!

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7 Responses to Tutorials for Dyeing Your Own Cross-Stitch Fabric

  1. all I can say is – it didn’t come out as expected, either time!

  2. Pamela Creason says:

    I have never been interested much in dying my own fabric but now I want to!

  3. All are great tutorials with great information, but I prefer to leave the dying to those that enjoy doing it. Years ago I dyed handkerchiefs and sewed them into a bedspread. I didn’t get the exact colors I liked and didn’t enjoy doing it. So I will purchase my hand dyed fabrics for cross stitching from a couple of different dyers that enjoy dying fabric.

    • Alice C. says:

      Yes, it seems to be more complicated than it appears. I might try tea or coffee dyeing, but I probably won’t get any more complicated than that!

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