“ Brand: Dylon / Clothes Dye „
Last year I harboured the idea that I could be some sort of domestic goddess (no sniggering at the back please) and I bought myself a sewing machine and all sorts of additional expensive tat. The sewing machine has been reduced to making nothing more interesting than the occasional costume for school and fitted bedsheets for a cot bed. Everything else languishes at the bottom of a big box and gets a half-hearted examination every few months. When I did a recent examination I rediscovered about 5 of these little dyes and as this coincided with an empty house, a grubby white cotton bedsheet and a plastic toy box I had recently emptied I decided to give them a whirl.
***What are they?***
Clothes dyes that you use in cold water, which means you don't have to use your washing machine or fiddle around with pans of boiling hot water. Each little tub is about 3 centimetres across and comes with a tiny little set of folded instructions inside the shrink wrap. The dye is a powder which is sealed in the small metal disk and it comes in a variety of colours. Each tub will dye about 250g/8oz of fabric (weighed when dry) and its recommended for natural fabrics e.g. cotton and linen only. You can use it on silk and wool and blended materials but it will give a lighter result than on the natural fabrics. The package also claims that it is colourfast, permanent and 'excellent for tie-dye, batik and any natural-fabric craft project'.
You should keep it away from anything that might want to eat it/smear it over your soft furnishings or their own bodies, so no children or pets.
***How do you use it?***
You need a large container, small container, cold water, a knife, the dye, the material to be dyed, some salt and lots of patience. Oh yes and RUBBER GLOVES!
Material goes in the container and is covered with water. Stick the knife in the dye pot and put it in the small container - add hot water and the salt until its all dissolved. Put the dye liquid in the large container and agitate the water and the material until its all mixed. Agitate at 15 minute intervals for an hour, then rinse until the the water runs clear. Hooray, dyed clothes.....in theory.
***How much do they cost?***
I paid 25p each for mine as a shop nearby was closing down. Normal retail price is around £2.70 per tub.
This was my first experience of dyeing anything so I was eager to read the instructions to make sure I was doing it all correctly. However the instructions are a string of folding hexagons which are tucked into the plastic wrap surrounding the dye tub. Given that the tub only measures around 3-3.5 centimetres across you can imagine how small the writing on the instructions is. In addition there was quite a bit of 'if you are using this fabric then do this' scattered throughout so its hard to work out a clear string of instructions- I had to write them down in the end. However one thing that I should have taken more notice of was the bit that says..'WEAR RUBBER GLOVES'. My husband had used the last pair, but as I had an unaccustomed day to myself with no children I was loathe to walk out and get a pair, or wait until another child free day. This was a mistake. Listen to the instructions. They know what they are talking about. Anyway, I had a roll of swing bin liners and thought I could wrap one of those around my hands so I was all set and ready to go.
The tub has a little metal lid that you stab with something sharp in order to release the powder within. I stabbed it with a knife and shook the powder out into the small bowl I was using to mix. Its quite a light powder and I found it flew around the sink a bit rather than going straight into the bowl. Turns out it was landing on my hand too and it doesn't need water to activate, my skin was enough-hooray, green speckled skin. The salt helps fix the dye in the fabric and all the next few stages of the process went without incident, very easy to do. It was no problem soaking the material, the dye seemed to take very quickly and very well and the bin bags worked quite effectively at first to protect my green speckled hands.
By the third agitation the bin bags sprang a leak and when I withdrew my hands I found that they were a rich dark green to the wrist, a similar colour to the bedsheet I was dyeing (a similar colour to surgical scrubs). As I wanted to finish the dyeing asap I hoped that when it was rinsing outside most of the dye would come off my hands. I used the outside tap as I thought it would reduce the amount of green dye going over myself, the kitchen or the bathroom (I have since heard that it can dye bath tubs so wouldn't recommend using the bath as a dyeing vat). An hour of freezing cold water and 15 thorough rinses later and the water was coming up clear, so I took it to the washing machine to get rid of any last chemicals. The sheet was going on my son's bed and I didn't want to take any risks as he is not quite 2 years old. The sheet went into the 30 degree wash a beautiful forest green and came out about twenty shades paler, I think I could probably have had a better effect if I had sneezed on it. In addition everything that has gone in the machine since has had an occasional splot of dark green dye on it, even now 3 weeks and many many washes later (including a 90 degree full clean of the machine). Ironically the dye came off the patio paving slabs outside and all the containers etc used with no residue or staining at all.
***Would I recommend this***
The short answer is no.
The long answer is no because:
-it's a long process that had disappointing results for me
-the cold water is not pleasant even on a hot day when rinsing/agitating
-I dyed my hands green and it took two hours of concerted scrubbing to get them clean (OK this is my fault)
-residue has lingered in my washing machine (again perhaps I should have waited for it to dry before washing, but I had already been doing this for two hours plus and had had enough)
-the instructions are very tiny and hard to read
-its much easier to go and buy a green bedsheet. Buying the material and making one would have taken
about the same time as dyeing the original if you have a sewing machine and some elastic.
-life is too short.
Does anyone want any dyes?