How do you tie-dye a big blanket when it's raining outside?

Name: Liz


A large plastic storage bin makes an ideal container for dyeing indoors. Rubbermade rouchneck storage bin
Rubbermaid 2212CPDIM Roughneck Storage Box


Jacquard tie dye kit

Jacquard Tie Dye Kit

Dye up to 15 adult-size T-shirts, with vivid, electric colors that are so colorfast they can be washed with the daily laundry. Contains Procion dyes, the best choice for tie-dyeing cotton.


Procion mx fiber reactive cold water dye

Procion MX Dye

ideal for cotton, rayon, linen, and silk

When mixed with soda ash, Procion dyes are permanent, colorfast, and very washable. You can easily create a palette of brilliant colors ranging from light pastels to deep, vibrant hues.


Country or region: USA

Message: How do you tie a big blanket? It's raining outside. I usually do it outside. Can you do it in a machine? I need suggestions....

If the blanket will fit into the washing machine, you can dye it in there, but not if you've tied it, as for tie-dyeing. Washing machine dyeing is best for fabric that weighs 8 pounds or less, total, but only when you are dyeing it a single solid color.   

What I've done with a large 100% cotton bedspread, when I did not want a solid color, was shape it in exactly the same way as you would tie a t-shirt for the swirl patternI spread it out on the living room floor to swirl it around and bundle it together into the desired shape. Then I placed it inside a large plastic storage bin, one that had no holes of any sort in the bottom. I poured dye over it, in the same pie-piece-sized sections of color as we usually do for a spiral, but according to the low water immersion dyeing recipe: that is, I mixed up the dye the same as for tie-dyeing, but I applied the soda ash after the dye, rather than before. I made sure to wet the entire spread with dye and then with the soda ash mixture that I poured over. I put the lid on the plastic bin afterwards to prevent any messy accidents.

After leaving the spread with the wet dye and soda ash on it overnight in a warm place (no colder than 70°F), I then washed it out in the washing machine, first using cool water to remove the soda ash and some of the excess dye, and then twice in very hot water to remove the remaining unattached excess dye. Here's a picture (with my cat blocking much of the design):

blue-green swrild bedspread with cat

A large bedspread will require a lot of dye. A blanket that weighs five pounds will require as much dye as ten size extra-large adult t-shirts. Weigh your blanket, dry, before you start dyeing, to get an idea how much dye you'll need to use, and check my page, "How much Procion MX type dye should I use?".

I hope that you know the fiber content of your blanket, because it's very important to choose the right kind of dye for your fiber. It makes a big difference to use the right type of dye. Since my spread was made of cotton, I used Procion fiber reactive dye, which is the type of dye found in good tie-dyeing kits. It's usually best to avoid any sort of all-purpose dye, such as Rit, because it will fade quickly when washed, but there are some fiber combinations for which it's the best choice. If you have more questions about the type of dye to use, see my web site, or send another query.

(Please help
support this web site. Thank you.)

Posted: Monday - May 09, 2011 at 11:35 AM          

Follow this blog on twitter here.

Home Page ]   [ Hand Dyeing Top ]   [ Gallery Top ]   [ How to Dye ]   [ How to Tie Dye ]   [ How to Batik ]   [ Low Water Immersion Dyeing ]   [ Dip Dyeing ]   [ More Ideas ]   [ About Dyes ]   [ Sources for Supplies ]   [ Dyeing and  Fabric Painting Books ]   [ Links to other Galleries ]   [ Links to other informative sites ] [ Groups ] [ FAQs ]   [ Find a custom dyer ]   [ search ]   [ contact me ]  

© 1999-2011 Paula E. Burch, Ph.D. all rights reserved