comparison of dye costs

I posted this in the Dye Forum a few years ago. (I’m working now on bringing back a forum on this site.) The numbers will be a little different now, but the overall comparisons will probably be pretty much the same. Please comment if you know of any interesting changes.

I thought it would be interesting to compare the prices for different types and brands of dyes. You cannot simply compare the price per ounce, since some dyes are so much stronger than others. To make a fair comparison, I took the amount of dye recommended, for each dye type, to dye one pound of fabric or yarn to a medium shade, and divided it into the cost of that dye from various sources. For dyes that cost different amounts for the different colors, I averaged together the prices of the three main primary colors. Prices for the same types of dye varied considerably from one distributor to another, especially between different countries.

The table below is sorted by the cost of enough dye to color one pound of fiber/fabric. The cost of Procion MX dyes varies from 40 cents per pound of fiber to $2.47! Direct dye is much cheaper than Procion MX dyes (but does not perform nearly as well). Procion MX dyes are considerably cheaper than other types of fiber reactive dyes, when purchased in jars of at least 2 ounces of dye. Lanaset dye, a high quality wool dye that is rather expensive, is considerably cheaper per pound of wool dyed than all-purpose dye such as Rit. The wide variety of prices for the same dyes in different locations is surprising…

The sources of dyes in the table below are in the US when not otherwise indicated. All prices are given in US dollars. The small quantities of dyes that artists use seem to be much cheaper in the US than in most other countries. In some cases the price differential is so large that it may be cheaper to pay overseas postage from the US rather than buying locally. (I know that Synthesia in the Czech Republic is cheaper than the other European sources I know, but they don’t have price quotes on their web site, and they sell only one-kilo quantities and larger.)

The prices for the natural dyes in the table below are overestimates because I was using the weight recommended for a deep shade, whereas the other dyes are adjusted for the amount required for a medium shade, and the Rit dyes for a “pale to medium” shade.

dye type and source cost to dye one pound
Direct (Dharma Industrial, 1 lb) $0.06
Direct (Prochem Diazol, 2 oz) $0.22
Kiton Acid (ProChem, 2 oz) $0.39
Procion MX (Jacquard, 8 oz) $0.40
Procion MX (ProChem, 8 oz jars) $0.44
Disperse dyes for synthetics (ProChem, 2 oz)              $0.44
Procion MX (Dharma, 8 oz) $0.46
Washfast Acid (ProChem, 60 g jars) $0.55
Procion MX (Dharma, 2 oz) $0.56
Procion MX (Best Dyes, 2 oz) $0.56
Procion MX (ProChem, 2 oz) $0.65
Procion H powder (ProChem, 2 oz) $0.82
Lanaset (ProChem, 2 oz) $0.88
Sabracron F (ProChem, 2 oz) $0.92
Lanaset (Sheep Hollow, 14 g) $0.98
Procion MX (Jacquard, 2/3 oz) $1.29
Lanaset (Telana) (Maiwa, Canada, 30 g) $1.34
Procion MX (Batik Oetoro, Australia) $1.34
Procion MX (G&S Dye, Canada, 25 g) $1.39
Procion MX (Maiwa, Canada, 30 g) $1.40
Jacquard Acid (avg of sun yellow, pink, and royal blue) (Dharma, 8 oz jars) $1.41
Procion MX (Quilt & Textilekunst, Germany) $1.45
Remazol liquid (ProChem) $1.50
Remazol powder (Batik Oetoro, Australia) $1.61
Rit All-purpose liquid (ritdyes.com) $1.86
Drimarene K (Batik Oetoro, Australia) $2.04
One Shot Acid (ProChem, 3 oz) $2.15
Rit All-Purpose powder (ritdyes.com) $2.29
Procion H liquid (Jacquard via Dharma) $2.35
Procion MX (Fibrecrafts, UK, 50 g) $2.47
Remazol liquid (Jacquard Red Label, 8 oz) $2.79
Disperse dyes for polyester (Aljo, half-ounce) $2.95
Dylon Cold (Procion MX) (Dick Blick, US, 5 g) $4.34
Tulip One-Step Fashion Dye (Procion MX type) (CreateforLess, 6 g) $4.49
DEKA L all-purpose dye (Fibrecrafts, UK, 10 g) $4.90
DEKA L all-purpose dye (Chicago Canvas, 1/3 oz) $4.95
Dylon Permanent (Drimerene K) (Joann.com, 50 g) $4.98
Jacquard Acid (avg of sun yellow, pink, and royal blue) (Dharma, 0.5 oz jars) $5.27
synthetic dye indigo (ProChem, 2 oz) $7.02
natural dye indigo (Dharma, 2 oz) $8.00
Procion H 5% paint (G&S Dye, Canada) $10.42
natural dye henna (Dharma) $12.00
natural dye alkanet (Dharma) $13.00
natural dye cochineal (Dharma) $13.20
natural dye cutch (Dharma) $14.00
natural dye annatto (Dharma) $17.00
natural dye brazilwood (Dharma) $23.40
natural dye madder (Dharma) $32.00
natural dye osage orange (Dharma) $34.00

(Abbreviations: g = grams; lb = pound or half a kilogram; oz = ounce or 29 grams. Price conversions for Fibrecrafts, Quilt & Textilekunst, Maiwa, G&S Dye, and Batik Oetoro are based on the US dollar’s being equivalent to 0.51 GBP, 0.68 Euros, $1.00 Canadian dollars, and $1.11 Australian dollars. All prices are from 2008.)

-Paula

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