Wednesday afternoon our wireless router blew up and we unexpectedly found ourselves without an internet connection for the next 24 hours while we waited for the new one to arrive. After I got over the traumatizing realization that I would only have my phone to keep me connected to the outside world, I took it as a good thing and went looking for something else to occupy my time between naps and lunches.
I have been meaning to dye my prefolds for months now. I bought the dylon dye a few weeks ago and had been waiting for the right moment to actually do it. About 30 minutes before the boys got off the bus I was dragging tubs upstairs to get my dyes going. I pulled out my prefolds and I got to work.
The tutorials I had read all said that one package would dye 3 prefolds and I wanted to dye 1 dozen, so I had chosen 4 colors- Tulip Red, Goldfish Orange, Tropical Green and Ocean blue.
Other than the fabric dye, you will need salt, water and some sort of receptacle to do the dyeing in. The package of Dylon suggested using a sink but I wanted all 4 colors going at once so I pulled 4 medium sized tubs from our playroom for the project.
To start (I’m sorry, I did not take pictures of this process) you will measure out 4 cups of warm water and add the fabric dye to that to dissolve. I just did it in a large glass measuring cup.
While that is dissolving, start to fill up your plastic tub or sink with warm water- enough so that your fabric can move freely. I filled my tubs about 1/2 full and that was plenty.
Add 1/4 cup of salt to the warm water and mix.
Add your dye mixture and mix. I did this without planning so I did not have any gloves. Even with my hands in and out of the dye all day I did not have any staining but if you are worried about that, I’d wear gloves.
Once the dye is mixed into the warm water- add your fabric and submerge.
Now the instructions on my dye say to stir for 15 minutes. I’m assuming this means to stir continuously for 15 minutes because the next step is to “stir regularly” for 45 minutes.
I didn’t stir for 15 minutes. I stirred, made sure everything was submerged and then I went on to getting the next color going.
I wasn’t going for perfection- I mean we’re talking about prefolds here! I just want a little bit of color so if some areas had better saturation, I wasn’t going to be too bothered. If you are going for perfection, you might want to stir for the first 15 minutes.
I got all 4 of my tubs going and then I just watched them, stirring every few minutes, making sure everything was submerged. Waiting…tick tock.
I’m not a patient person.
As soon as my one hour was up, I started the steps of rinsing and washing.
I squeezed out the dye from each prefold (one color at a time) and then rinsed under cold water until it was running mostly clear. Then I tossed it into the washing machine that I was filing with warm water.
I washed all 4 colors together, I was a little worried the extra dye might stain the other prefolds so I threw in a plain white prefold to soak up any extra dye. At the end of the wash cycle, the prefold was still white and the colors were all just as they should be!
The directions say to dry without heat or sunlight. It was an overcast day so I hung them on the line but ended up throwing them in the dryer when it started to rain. Again, I wasn’t going for perfection here so you might want to follow the instructions exactly in case that step is crucial to setting the dye. I haven’t noticed anything that would leave me to believe drying them with heat was bad.
And this is what I ended up with:
I was pretty excited. The green wasn’t nearly as dark as I would have liked, but the orange, red, and blue are perfect! I’m sure there will be some fading over time but I can live with that.
You would think I was done…right? I mean the instructions clearly state that you can dye 1/2 a pound of fabric with each packet of dye and I’ve done that.
Except dyeing things is so much fun!
So It threw caution to the wind and pulled out my flats:
And then the prefolds that I have been meaning to start using as cleaning rags:
And I may have also thrown in some red, yellow, green, and blue dishtowels as well as our bar mops and dishclothes. At some point. Maybe.
I couldn’t stop myself!
Obviously the colors were not as bright after the first fabric went through and I am guessing if you had more patience than I do you might get your prefolds even brighter on the first round by leaving them in longer than 60 minutes. It’s worth a try.
This is a breakdown of the color difference:
So tell me- have you dyed any of your diapers? Prefolds? Woolies? It’s almost as addicting as cloth diapers. Almost.