GOOD

Do It Yourself: Dye Fabric the Right Way #30DaysofGOOD

Want truly one-of-a-kind clothes or fabrics for your home? Check out our quick DIY dyeing overview.

Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do 30 Days of GOOD (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for July? Do It Yourself.


A lot of people customize their stuff with a coat of paint, but the practice of fabric dyeing tends to be less common. Here's a quick overview on how to get clothes and home fabrics that are truly one-of-a-kind.

First, some important notes: Things can get very messy, and it's hard—if not impossible—to remove errant stains. When you set up to color your articles, wear old clothes and use a space that won't be ruined by splashes. And rubber gloves are a must if you want to keep your hands from looking Halloweenish for a few weeks.

Now here's how to do it:

    \n
  1. Select your dye and fabric. The most common brand of fabric dye is Rit, but others including Dylon and Tulip are available at fabric and craft supply stores. For your fabric, a cellulose material works best—cotton, rayon, linen, and so forth. Make sure it's been washed. Unfortunately, synthetics like polyester won't accept the dye, so check your material before you try to dye it.
  2. Pre-soak the fabric. A mixture of sodium carbonate (available from pool supply stores) and hot water is used to help prepare the fabric to accept the dye. Let it soak for 15-60 minutes. This is the step that I've forgotten once or twice in the past, leading to less satisfactory results.
  3. Mix the dye solution. While the fabric is soaking, follow the mixing instructions on the dye you are using. Many of the dyes can be used in a washing machine, but the potential for inadvertently coloring subsequent loads of clothes makes using a bucket preferential.
  4. Put fabric in dye. Make sure the articles aren't twisted and bunched up—that can lead to spots that are discolored or even missing dye completely. However, if you're looking to tie-dye your clothes, twist and tie the items before putting them into the mix.
  5. Stir for 10-30 minutes. You'll want to do this continuously, to let the item get a thorough and even soak. This is one of the advantages of using a washing machine. But again, the possibility of a load of pink clothes might make you regret taking the easy route.
  6. Warm rinse. Remove from the dye bucket and, with warm water, give a thorough rinse. Don't do this in your expensive porcelain sink—a utility/garage basin is preferable.
  7. Cold rinses. Continue to rinse in cooler and cooler water, helping set the dye and remove the excess. Keep rinsing until it starts to run clear.
  8. Wash and dry. Without any other clothes in the washer, put your newly-colored fabric into the machine for a warm wash, using mild detergent. Afterwards, a spin in the dryer will help set the color.
  9. \n

The next few washes may still result in some leakage, so make sure to only wash it with like-colored clothes. And, it's a good idea to practice fabric dyeing a few times before trying to get your expensive new shirt from crisp white to an even, dark red. But with experience, you can get some eye-popping, unique results.

Read more of Mike Senese's DIY tips and projects at DO IT.

We're giving away $1000 for you to share your own DIY skills with others. Participate in our Host a GOOD Workshop challenge.

Articles
Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
Science
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
test
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less
Health