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The Rit Studio: Stovetop Technique

How to Dye Felt

When dyeing felt, look for white felt that is either wool or bamboo. Polyester or acrylic felt will not take the dyes. You can dye felt to create custom colors that are unique to your project, plus dye accessories like buttons and wood beads and cotton craft thread to match or coordinate.

There are three techniques for dyeing felt:
1. BASIC RECIPE for achieving even colors
2. LOW WATER IMMERSION for a mottled effect
3. DIP-DYEING for blending three colors
4. DIP-DYEING for an ombre effect

Prep, dye and clean up time: About half a day

You’ll Need

  • White Felt (100% wool or 50% bamboo 50% rayon)
  • 1 gallon plastic dye container
  • One 3-cup and three 8-Cup plastic containers
  • Plastic disposable spoons
  • Ruler
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic table cover
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rubber gloves
  • Salt
  • White Vinegar
  • Scissors

Step by Step

Basic Recipe for achieving even color

  1. Cut felt into 12” squares or 9” x 18” pieces. Larger pieces may require a larger container and more dye. Wash felt to remove any finishes that may interfere with dye absorption. Leave felt wet for better dye absorption.

  2. Dye Preparation: Shake all dye bottles before measuring dye. Fill plastic container with 8 cups very hot water (140 F). Wearing rubber gloves, measure ½ cup dye (Aquamarine); stir well. Note: To create more intense, vibrant colors when dyeing wool felt, add ¼ cup of white vinegar after felt has been in the dye bath for 5 minutes; stir well. When dyeing bamboo felt, add ¼ cup of salt to the dye bath when mixing the dye and water.

  3. Immerse wet felt into dye bath. Stir continuously for 10 minutes. Remove from dye bath and squeeze out excess dye. Rinse felt under cool running water until water runs clear. Wash in warm water with mild detergent, rinse and dry flat. Iron felt to remove wrinkles.

Low Water Immersion for a mottled effect

  1. This dyeing technique results in a mottled effect with light and dark areas. When using this method of dyeing, it is not necessary to add vinegar or salt to the dye solution because there will be light and dark areas.
    Low Water Immersion Felt

  2. Cut felt into 12” squares. Prewash and leave wet before dyeing.

  3. Dye Preparation: Fill 3-cup container with 1 cup very hot water (140 F). Measure and mix 2 teaspoons Aquamarine and ½ teaspoon Lemon Yellow with water; stir well. Push one square of wet felt into dye solution with a spoon to be sure the felt absorbs the dye. Place the container lid lightly over the felt and dye solution; do not seal lid. Or, cover container with plastic wrap.

  4. Line microwave with paper towels. Place container in microwave. Set on high for 1 minute. Carefully remove container; it may be hot. Remove felt and squeeze out excess dye. Rinse felt under cool running water until water runs clear. Wash in warm water with mild detergent, rinse and dry flat. Iron felt to remove wrinkles.

Dip-Dyeing for blending three colors

  1. Cut felt into a 9” x 18” piece. With this technique, the felt will be dipped into three dye baths of Fuchsia, Aquamarine and Lemon Yellow. Dye Preparation: Shake dye bottles before measuring dye. Fill three 8-cup containers with 4 cups very hot water (140 F). Wearing rubber gloves, measure ¼ cup dye (Fuchsia, Aquamarine, Lemon Yellow ). Pour one of each color into a separate container; stir well. Optional: To create more intense, vibrant colors when dyeing wool felt, add ¼ cup of white vinegar after felt has been in the dye bath for 5 minutes; stir well. When dyeing bamboo felt, add ¼ cup of salt to the dye bath when mixing the dye and water. Here are some of my dip-dyed felt pieces.
    Dip Dye Felt

  2. Immerse 1/3 end of felt in Fuchsia dye bath for 10 minutes. Squeeze out excess dye. Then immerse opposite 1/3 end of felt into Lemon Yellow dye bath. After 10 minutes, remove felt from dye bath and squeeze out excess dye. Holding both dyed ends of felt, immerse middle third section of felt into the Aquamarine dye bath for 10 minutes. The dye colors will blend together, creating beautiful green and purple shading where the colors meet. Squeeze out excess dye.

  3. Rinse felt under cool running water, holding the felt so the dye runs into the deeper Fuchsia end. Wash in warm water with mild detergent, rinse and dry flat. Iron felt to remove wrinkles.

Dip-Dyeing for an ombre effect

  1. Prepare Fuchsia dye bath as in Step 9. Immerse 1/3 of felt into dye bath for 10 minutes, dip middle section for five minutes and the top third dip in completely for a minute or less, depending on shade desired. Remove felt from dye bath. Squeeze out excess dye. 3. Rinse felt under cool running water, holding the felt so the dye runs into the deeper Fuchsia end. Wash in warm water with mild detergent, rinse and dry flat. Iron felt to remove wrinkles.Dip Dye Felt for an ombre effect

  2. Rinse felt under cool running water, holding the felt so the dye runs into the deeper Fuchsia end. Wash in warm water with mild detergent, rinse and dry flat. Iron felt to remove wrinkles.

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