Monday, July 4, 2011

DIY Review: Tulip Fabric Dye

The stars aligned just right: a dress I like is woefully beset with armpit discoloration, and my stove and my bathtub needed cleaning at the same time. Fabric dye time!

The dress in question is a pistachio colored silk dress I bought for a buck. It's never been my favorite color to begin with, but it is breezy and comfy when the temperature starts to skyrocket out here in LA.

I've always used RIT dye in the past, but today I'm trying out Tulip dye, because Tulip offered the color I wanted, no color-mixing required. This means less work and less money, because I would have had to buy multiple boxes of color to achieve the same color with RIT.

Here's a "before" picture of the dress, from back when I spilled BBQ sauce on it while on vacation. :D

The instructions on the back read:
  1. Fill bowl or stainless steel sink with one gallon of STEAMING HOT water.
  2. Stir in 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) salt.
  3. Pour in dye packet and stir until dissolved.
  4. Submerge fabric in dye mixture.
  5. Stir continually for 15 minutes, and then occasionally for 45 minutes.
  6. Rinse fabric in cold water. Wash in warm water and dry away from direct heat and sunlight.
What I did:
  1. I wet the dress before inserting it into the dye bath. Previous experience had shown that skipping this step could lead to streaky results.
  2. I turned my faucet on as hot as it would go, but I didn't see any steam after I filled the pot I would use to hold the dye. Since I've dyed on a stovetop before, I felt comfortable heating the water further with my burner and keeping the heat on for the 15 minute continual-stirring period. My dress also wouldn't stay fully submerged (lots of air pockets), so I tried to stir it very well and make sure that the above-dye-level portions were rotated often.
  3. After 15 minutes of continual stirring, I turned off the stove burner and set my kitchen timer for 10 minute intervals. This seemed to be enough to qualify as "occasional" stirring.
  4. When it was time to rinse the dye out, I transferred the dress only to a bowl in which to carry them across my carpet and into the bathroom. I had first thought to bring the entire pot to the bathroom, but then had a horrible vision of sloshing dye all over the floor. Bowl it is!
  5. Finally, I rinsed my dress in cold water and hung it up to air dry instead of putting it through the wash -- the washing machines in my complex cost $1.50 per load; nuts to wasting that much money on two pieces! I just tried to make sure that as much dye as possible got rinsed out of the fabric.
The results were fantastic! Since I was dying over another color, I wasn't exactly sure of what shade I would get, but the silk turned out this lovely jade green/Tiffany blue color. The fiance thinks it's now his favorite of all my dresses.

I would definitely use the Tulip dye again... in fact, I even got greedy and tried to dye another dress immediately after. The results were pretty splotchy - I do believe the moral of that story is to believe the back of the package when it says it will dye about the same amount of fabric as a men's shirt. Yay for accurate information, but boo for my splotchy dress. Oh well, that just means I'll have to dye it again real soon. :)


  1. Great idea! It covered the stain!

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