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Home > Craft Topics > Projects > Microwave Dyeing
All projects are FREE, however, donations towards the upkeep of Walkabout Crafts are much appreciated. Please click below to make a donation..Fabrics - The ideal fabrics for microwave dyeing are cotton and linen. Polyester / cotton mixes and silk can also be dyed in this way but will give lighter results. Do not attempt to microwave dye wool, viscose and synthetics.
Microwave dyes - Dyes which can be used in a microwave are usually sold as hand dyes, with separate instructions for hand dyeing and microwave dyeing.
The dye powder must be thoroughly
dissolved in water before use to ensure even results.
A microwave dye solution can be used several times: it can be left overnight, then stirred and used again. Solutions can be diluted with water to obtain a lighter result.
Combining colours - Test the
colour of the dye solution on a scrap of fabric before using the
microwave - simply dip a corner into the dye to check the shade,
remembering that the finished result will be darker.
If you are using two or more dye colours, such as the two-colour plaid technique (below), always use the lighter colour first.
When mixing colours to obtain new shades, mix dye solutions, not dye powder. Add a little of each colour at a time to work out the correct ratios, as some colours, such as red, are dominant: for example, orange requires far more yellow than red, and purple requires far more blue than red.
You will need:
Fabric or garment
Microwave fabric dye, such as Dylon handsize natural fabric dye
Large microwave bowl
Rubber gloves, oven gloves
(Do not use any of the above for food after dyeing use)
1. Remove metal trims or fastenings and any synthetic trimmings such as nylon lace. Wash the fabric or garment to remove any finish. Leave damp and knot, twist or bundle as desired.
2. Wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands from the dye, tap the dye powder into a large microwave bowl. Gradually add ½ pint (300ml) water, or follow the manufacturers instructions. Stir with a plastic spoon until the dye is completely dissolved. Then add another ½ pint (300ml) of water and stir well.
3. Put the garment or fabric in the bowl and work into the dye solution. Put the bowl in a plastic bag and place in the microwave oven. Ensure that the bag does not come into contact with the sides of the microwave. Set on high for four minutes.
4. Wearing oven gloves, remove the bowl from the microwave and take out the garment or piece of fabric. Leaving the knots and twists in place, and wearing rubber gloves, rinse thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear. Undo any knots and twists. Rinse again thoroughly, then wash and dry the fabric or garment.
5. To iron the fabric after tie-dyeing, place and old sheet on the ironing board, and cover the fabric with an old cloth before pressing. This will prevent any dye which has not been fixed from staining the ironing board cover and the iron.
Two colour plaid
1. Fold a piece of dampened fabric into even pleats about 2 inches wide to obtain a pleated strip. Then fold up the strip like an accordion, leaving a square of folded fabric. Tie the fabric square tightly with a piece of string.
2. Microwave dye, then rinse thoroughly. Untie and unfold the fabric, then rinse again.
3. For two tone fold and tie with string again as in step 1. Keep the pleats the same size but let them fall in a slightly different position. Microwave dye using the second colour, repeat step 2.
Use glass marbles or small pebbles to form a lively pattern of circles. Do not use metal balls! The marbles are tied into the fabric with string or secured with rubber bands in either random or planned pattern arrangement.
1. Using a soft pencil, mark the positions for the marbles on the fabric. Place a marble on one of the marks and pull the fabric evenly around it. Tie tightly just below the marble using string or a rubber band. Repeat with the remaining marbles, making sure that they are all placed on the same side of the fabric for an even result.
2. Microwave dye, then rinse thoroughly. Remove the marbles and rinse again. Press to reveal the bold pattern formed.
Stripes are an easy and effective pattern to create using tie-dye methods. They are formed by first pleating the fabric, then tying it tightly at intervals with lengths of string or raffia. The ties can be placed at regular intervals for even stripes, or randomly for an irregular pattern of stripes.
1. Fold the dampened fabric into very narrow pleats. If necessary, pin the pleats to secure. Then at regular intervals along the strip, tightly bind the folded strip with string to make wide or narrow bands of colour along the fabric.
2. Remove any pins, then microwave dye, The dye will seep slightly into the tied areas, leaving an attractive stripe.
Other tie dye techniques
Circles - hold the fabric in the centre and leave the rest hanging, tie the fabric in a knot on itself. Either once in the middle or knots tied randomly around the fabric.
Squares - Fold a square piece of fabric and fold it diagonally twice to make a triangle. Fold lengthways into pleats. Tie the pleated fabric at intervals along the length with string or rubber bands.
Marbled effect - Scrunch up the fabric into a ball and wrap string or elastic bands around randomly. If using a large piece of fabric - wrap around a tennis ball.
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