Wednesday, September 21, 2011

DIY: Dye It Yourself!

After a very busy week (having two jobs isn't all it's cracked up to be) I am back at it crafting for you all! Today's project was inspired by a link I saw on Pinterest. There is a tutorial on the Rit Dye website for dyeing your own buttons to custom colors. I have to admit I was intrigued, so I decided to test it out for all of you and here are my results:

First off, I found it next to impossible to find buttons that actually stated what they were made from, so I had to assume that the ones I found were nylon based and would take the dye. The package I bought was from Favorite Findings, and is purchasable at most craft and hobby stores I have been to. The package contains 130 buttons and is a mixture of white and clear buttons in a few different sizes. The white buttons took the dye just fine, the clear ones didn't take it at all ::sad trombone:: I was really hoping the clear ones would take the dye, as I am sure they would have made more vibrant colors. I will be on the look out for clear nylon buttons again soon and let you all know if I find some.

Next, my conclusion on their recipe itself: They recommend using your hottest tap water. I recommend boiling some. My buttons were sitting in their solution WAY longer than the recommended time (again, maybe my buttons are at fault) but you want to make sure you have boiling water to fully dissolve your dye (I used the powdered dye) and you want your water to stay hot for the majority of your dyeing process.

As for the time, the site recommended 2-5 minutes with constant stirring and observation. I will agree that you want to agitate your buttons fairly often for even coverage (though the splotchiness that can occur if you just leave them to sit on their own can be kinda neat on its own). However, my buttons all sat in their solution for at least 30 minutes and I still think some of the colors could have been more vibrant. For the curious, I bought three colors of dye, all powdered: Golden Yellow, Fuschia, and Teal. I mixed my fuschia and yellow to get a pretty orange, and the yellow and teal to get a nice green. I will probably try again with other buttons later on to make a purple out of my teal and fuschia.

So, for those of you wanting to know my final recipe for dyeing your own buttons here you go:

1 large disposable container for each color of dye you are using
1 pair rubber gloves (I used some cheapies I got at the dollar store)
1 cup boiling water (per dye solution)
2-3 teaspoons powdered dye (none of my colors were as vibrant as I wanted so I ended up using closer to 3 teaspoons)
Nylon buttons
Spoon for stirring (I used a plastic one)
Trash bag

I covered my work area with a plastic trash bag because it was handy, I recommend you do the same unless you happen to have a plastic tablecloth type thing handy. You definitely don't want to get dye on your nice counter tops or tables.

Next measure your water, boil, and use it to mix your dyes. You can test on a piece of scrap fabric or paper towel to see how dark your dye is and adjust accordingly (more dye if too light, more water if too dark).

Stir your buttons occasionally and check them to see if they have reached your desired color.

Once the desired color is reached, fish out your buttons and wash them with soap and warm water. Rinse well and lay on a paper towel to dry.

This is the image from the Rit website. As you can see, their colors seem to have turned out much nicer than mine. However, if you have some patience you can really make some nice colors of buttons for your projects. Speaking of, look for some cute projects using these newly dyed buttons next week!