I have several bolts of white tulle that I need to dye or change to ivory color for my daughter's wedding

Name: Barbara



Dye polyester and poly/cotton blends

Jacquard idye

Jacquard iDye and iDye Poly

iDye Poly is disperse dye that can be used to immersion dye polyester, nylon, and acrylic. (Note that regular iDye is a direct dye that can be used only on natural fibers such as cotton; it can be mixed with iDye Poly to dye polyester blends.)


Country: USA

Message: I have several bolts of white tulle that I need to dye or change to ivory color for my daughter's wedding.  What would be the simplest and best way to do this?

It depends hugely on the fiber content of the tulle. Nylon tulle is completely different from polyester tulle, for dyeing. Which do you have?

If you have 100% nylon tulle, and if it is free of any finishes that might resist the dye, and if the fabric is machine washable, then the simplest approach would be to use an acid dye. Jacquard Products provides instructions for using their acid dyes in hot tap water in the washing machine. (See "How can I dye clothing or fabric in the washing machine?"; that page includes a link to their recipe.) It doesn't work as well as dyeing nylon with almost-simmering water, at 185°F, but for an ivory color it should be highly adequate, and far easier to do. 


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Jacquard acid dyes

Jacquard Acid Dyes

Jacquard Acid Dyes are concentrated, powdered, hot water dyes that produce the most vibrant possible results on protein fibers including silk, wool, cashmere, alpaca, feathers, and most nylons.


All-purpose dyes, such as Rit or Tintex, can also be used for dyeing nylon, because they are mixed to contain acid dyes; when dyeing nylon, be sure to also add white vinegar, as in the Jacquard acid dye washing-machine recipe. The type of acid dyes used in all-purpose dyes is called "Strong Acid", which means they need more vinegar than other classes of acid dye. The makers of Tintex dye in Australia recommend adding 100 ml of vinegar to each gallon of water, when dyeing nylon with all-purpose dyes; this works out to be equivalent to two quarts of ordinary distilled white vinegar in a regular size (twenty-gallon) top-loading washing machine. Use only a small amount of dye in order to get a pale ivory color.

Don't crowd the washing machine, when you're using it to dye fabric; weigh your fabric while it is still dry, and dye only about five pounds of it at a time, being careful to keep records of how much dye you use, so that you can use the exact same amount of dye and fabric in any subsequent loads. If you use a different amount of fabric or of vinegar in your second load, it will end up a different color than your first load.

If you have polyester tulle, ordinary dyes will not work. You cannot dye polyester with acid dye or with all-purpose dye. Only disperse dyes will work on polyester. Disperse dyes must be purchased by mail-order, and they require that you boil the fabric with the dye in an enormous cooking pot, one which you do not plan to ever use for cooking food again. See "Dyeing Polyester with Disperse Dyes", for more information. To be honest, I would not go to all that bother. It would be much easier, and probably more cost-effective, to buy tulle in the correct color, rather than going to the expense and trouble of dyeing polyester tulle. It's not as though ivory-colored tulle is a rare commodity.

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Posted: Friday - February 26, 2010 at 07:40 AM          

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