Artist's E-Books to Support and Inspire Creativity
*All images and words copyright of Diane Dobson-Barton dba as Barton Studio 2002-2007
Home / Shop / Free Articles
Dyeing Variegated Thread
This came about because I had some white cotton crochet thread not used for a while, and have a small weaving project in mind. I decided it was much more fun and creative to make my own colors, than to run to an arts and craft store to purchase some. Besides who wants the same thread everyone else uses?
Skein of white cotton crochet thread of the brand and weight of choice
Dye designed for use with plant fibers. DO not use dye formulated to be used with animal products. It will dye it but it will be very washed out and that was not the look I was going for.
Bowl to put water/vinegar into
Small bowls/cups or small squirt bottles for mixing dye in
Paper plate or microwave safe plate/bowl
Wax paper or microwave safe plastic wrap
Dry clean towel - one you would not worry about getting a bit of dye on by accident
1. Wrap thread into balls or around a piece of cardboard to create small skeins. Slip the thread off of the cardboard.
2. Tightly tie the small skeins with rubber bands, or small pieces of thread. I used rubber bands. Where the bands/strings are tied will remain white.
3. Mix small quantities of the dye. I eyeballed it when I made mine, but it was probably a bit stronger than some would use. That being said I knew I wanted very deep color and high contrast in the final project. Shake or stir the dye until the crystals are dissolved as much as possible and set aside.
4. Mix water and vinegar in a bowl with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.
5. Saturate the thread with the vinegar mixture.
6. Squeeze out the excess vinegar solution and place fiber onto a paper or microwave safe plate.
7. Apply the dye to the fiber making sure to saturate the fibers.
8. Cover the plate containing dyed fibers with the plastic wrap or wax paper. (Holds in the moisture)
9. Place in microwave for 3-4 minutes. You do not want you them to scorch so make sure they are saturated well with the dye.
10. Remove from microwave and allow to cool. Be careful as they can be extremely hot!
11. Rinse out in clear tap-water until the water runs clear. Squeeze out the water with your hands as the water runs over it, to allow the inner fibers to be rinsed well.
12. In the final clean rinse remove as much of the water as you can with your hands, then roll up in a clean dry towel and squeeze to remove even more.
13. Allow the small bundles to dry. I sat mine on a central air vent and left them overnight. By morning they were dry enough to roll up into balls and examine the final look. :0)
Now...do you want to see my balls? ;0)