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The Rit Studio: Stovetop Technique

How to Dye Paper

Rit Dye gives paper a colorful new look. Paper can be dip-dyed, or dyes can be sprayed, drizzled, dripped or brushed onto paper. To create batik-like effects, like creating color patterns or writing words, apply a washable resist that stops the dye from being absorbed into the paper where applied before dyeing. For best results, use 90 lb. watercolor paper.

Dyed paper can be used to make greeting cards, album covers, scrapbook pages and paper-covered home accessories. It can also be decoupaged onto desk accessories, picture frames, clay pots, lampshades and more.


Prep, dye and rinse time: About 30 minutes

You’ll Need

  • 90 lb. watercolor paper
  • Rit Dye, liquid or powder
  • Crafter’s Batik Pick BATIK-EZ Resist Medium, optional
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Small Spoon
  • Containers for dye, 1-to 2-cup size
  • Small brushes, foam or bristle
  • Spray bottle, optional
  • Rubber stamps or stencils, optional
  • Sea sponge
  • Latex or rubber gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic table cover

Step by Step

  1. Protect work area with plastic table cover.

  2. Wearing latex gloves, shake dye bottles. Measure and mix 1 teaspoon liquid dye or 2 teaspoons powder dye with ½ – 1 cup very hot tap water; stir well. Note: Liquid dyes can be used straight from the bottle to achieve more intense colors. Do not add salt or vinegar when dyeing paper.

  3. During the dyeing process, keep dye hot for better absorption. If needed, heat the dye by covering it with plastic wrap and heating it on high in the microwave for 1 minute.

  4. To create a batik-dyed effect, stamp, stencil or brush a resist medium, such as Crafter’s Pick Batik-EZ™ Resist Medium, onto watercolor paper before applying dye. Let the resist dry.

  5. Spray, drip, drizzle or brush the dye solution over the entire piece of paper using a spray bottle or brushes, or to dip-dye paper, dip part of the paper into the dye solution. Additional dye colors may be added for blending or highlighting detail areas.

  6. Line bottom of microwave with paper towels to protect against spills. Place the wet watercolor paper in the microwave and set on high for 1 minute. (Note: if paper contains metal, like a grommet, it should not be heated in the microwave as it can be a fire hazard.)

  7. Remove dyed paper from the microwave and, if desired, gently rinse in the sink under running water. Use a sea sponge to remove resist and excess dyes. Let paper air dry or dry in the microwave for 1 minute.

  8. If desired, outline or paint around batik-dyed areas.

Try our FAQs, or Ask The Dye Doctor

  • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

    Hello Jody,
    Thank you for reaching out! Getting the paper wet again unfortunately may make the color run onto your white table cloth. If you should decide to go ahead and do the project we would recommend for you to keep in mine that you can try our Color Remover if there is any dye that leaches into the cloth.
    Hope this helps!




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