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.
- Needle in a Haystack has a great primer that shares what fabrics the pros use, how different types of fabric take dyes, and some tips for washing hand-dyed fabrics.
- If you’re looking for a one-stop website with all the technical information you could want about dyeing, look no further than Paula Burch’s All about Hand Dyeing.
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:
- “Tea and Coffee Dyeing Floss and Fabric” by Martha Beth Lewis
- “How to Tea-Dye Cross-Stitch Fabric” by Connie Barwick
- “How to Tea-Dye Fabric for an Aged Look” by Stitching Cow
- “How to Coffee Dye Cross-Stitch Fabric” by Connie Barwick
- The Twisted Sister has a tutorial for using both coffee and tea together for dyeing.
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:
- “How to Dye Aida” by Happy Cupcake Creations uses the sink method
- “How to Dye Using the Sink or Bucket Technique” from Rit
- “Tub Dyeing Basics” by Dharma Trading Co.
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:
- “How to Paint Aida Cloth” by Wee Little Stitches
- “Coloring Aida Cloth” by Nancy Bandzuch
- A video tutorial for using watercolors to paint on Aida fabric:
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!