how to successfully dye stuffed toys

Name: Janet
Message: I would like to know how to successfully dye stuffed toys. I need certain colored animals to correspond with a children’s story book stretcher I am doing - Brown Bear, Brown Bear is easy - but Blue Horse, Blue Horse and Purple Cat, Purple Cat - are impossible to find. I tried Ritz fabric dye, but the colors barely charged – the pink cat is still pretty pink. I dissolved the dye in hot water and left the cat in about 2 hours, but just on the counter not the stove – maybe I should have kept the water hot. Do you have any suggestions? Is there any other type of dye or coloring available for this? Thank you.

Do you mean Rit dye? I've never seen Ritz dye.

The problem is that you are probably trying to dye polyester microfleece, or some other undyeable synthetic. You'll just have to forget about doing that. Dyeing polyester is not a job for a novice, and is quite expensive since you must dedicate a large cooking pot to dye-use-only, since you must never again use a pot for food after it's been used for dye (including Rit dye!). For more information on dyeing polyester, see "Dyeing Polyester with Disperse Dyes".

Nylon, in contrast to other synthetics, can actually be dyed, by boiling it for an hour (well, actually just simmering at 190 degrees F.) in acid dye, including that found in all-purpose dye such as Rit, with added vinegar. This simply will not work for other synthetics, however.

There are three good solutions available for you. First, you might try to locate some stuffed animals made of a dyeable material, such as cotton, hemp, silk, wool, or nylon. (Try a search for 'cotton stuffed animal'.) Second, you could make, or get someone else to make, stuffed animals out of fabric of the correct color. (There are patterns available via a web search, e.g., 'stuffed animal patterns'.) Third, you could paint your stuffed animals, instead of dyeing them.

Fabric paint tends to be stiff and scratchy when compared to dye, but, because it conntains a sort of glue, it will adhere to most materials. A high quality fabric paint will feel much nicer than a cheap one. Good brands of fabric paints include Jacquard Textile Colors, Lumiere, Neopaque, PROfab Textile paint, and Dharma Pigment Dye.

Posted: Saturday - March 19, 2005 at 08:26 AM          

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