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dyeing my own felt

dying felt

I use a lot of felt, and I really, really prefer it to be wool or wool blend. This presents two problems for me. 1) Although it comes in amazing colors, it can be expensive and I have to order it special. 2) Locally, I can find it at a much better price, but in very limited colors. What to do?

It was time to try and dye my own.

Drink mix dying works best with natural fibers, and wouldn't you know? Wool is a natural fiber! And, I can buy white wool blend at Joann Fabric and Craft for $8.99 per yard. With a 40% off coupon, I'm quite content with the price!

The first batch I tried, I decided to just wing it, and I ended up with dyed hands and coloring that wasn't rinsing clear. Then I did a quick search (why didn't I do this first?), and found an excellent set of instructions for dyeing yarn. After another round, I knew that I would be doing this a lot more often!

dying felt

I was working with small-ish pieces of felt...about 1/4 yard. For that, I mixed about 2 cups of water with one packet of drink mix. You want enough liquid to fully cover your felt when you're dyeing it. More drink mix will add more color.

dying felt

Place the felt into a microwavable dish, and pour the liquid over it. A larger dish might have been better, but this one was handy...

dying felt

Microwave on high for about two minutes. At this point, the liquid in the dish should be pretty much clear when you lift the felt out a bit. If not, microwave for another minute.

Let the dish cool down a bit so that the wet wool isn't too hot. When it's cooled down, run it under water to rinse any extra dye out, although, there shouldn't be too much color coming out at this point.

dying felt

Gently squeeze the extra water out, and you'll have some very wet felt.

dying felt

Here are the other colors I made while they were still wet. The pink one was done with two packets of fruit punch mix, and I like the little bit deeper color. This is also the one that messed up to start with.

I popped each of these onto a hanger to dry out, and here's what I have now:

dying felt
dying felt
dying felt

The color isn't completely even, which I assume comes from the way the pieces were folded in the dish when I was dyeing them. But I'm actually really happy with that...it's got a mottled look that I love!

With a quick iron, they're are all set for my next felt project, which I have planned, but not quite started. In the meantime, I think I need to head to the store for some more colors of drink mix!

Day 24 - Up Close

18 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:37 AM

    Mollie,

    I had heard of this before but never tried it. What a twit I am! I have lamented the fact that I couldn't find wool felt or at least a blend at my (relatively) local craft store. It amazes me that where we are located there isn't more in the way of restaurants and different stores. We live in Western PA and about five miles from a Prime Outlet and the only craft store we have is Walmart. The closest Michaels is 25 miles away and it takes about 40 minutes to get there. With the Outlet so close you would think that there would be a large selection of places to eat and extra shops but no, nada, nil, nothing. Everywhere we have lived, that has been near one of these Outlets, there were so many other places to shop nearby that we would make it a day and shop and eat and get great deals and I never hurt for anything. Now the Walmart we have is great and I enjoy the craft section but they don't have a super large selection and there is no competition.
    There reason for this on rant is that the closest Jo-Ann is also 25 miles away and never did I think to buy yards of wool felt there and then dye it myself. Donk! - Me hitting my head like in the old V-8 commercials. I always just purchased the polyester stuff and said "Oh well, it would be nice to get the better stuff; maybe someday."
    Someday is closer than you think! Like I have said on many occations - Mollie you are a genius!

    Maureen

    P.S. And to anyone that runs or owns restaurant chains - Red Lobster, Chilis, Olive Garden, etc. and and to anyone that owns or runs other type of stores - craft, book, party supplies, shoes or whatever... PLEASE consider building near GROVE CITY PA; I bet you would be surprised at your business success.

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  2. So, Mollie, tell me exactly what the blend is that you got at JoAnns, please. And I wonder how I am going to get dark colors...black, gray, brown....RIT?

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    Replies
    1. The range they carry near me is 20–30% wool, and the rest is rayon. I don't recall the specific blend on what I used. At the JoAnn I shop they do have some dark colors too, and I like those.

      RIT should work with the felt, you'd just want to avoid agitating it too much while dying, or it will felt even more.

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  3. Wow! I never would have thought to dye felt! The colors look really great

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  4. Pretty! And Eastery :)
    I live in a city with no Jo-Anns (the horror, I know!) so we are even more limited on felt choices! Luckily I like acrylic because it's washable, and most of my felt work is fruit that my toddler will be chewing on, and needs washed every once in a while. But it would be fun to try this sometime when I need a specific color for somthing that won't need washed!

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  5. PASTEL felt! I love it! would make some cute accessories :) xo

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  6. Hey Mollie,

    I just wondered - Do you know of a way to stiffen felt?

    Maureen

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    Replies
    1. I don't, but I'll look into it and let you know what I find out!

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  7. Lovely colours, and I love the way they came out mottled. However, I am worried that people drink this stuff....

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  8. Looks fabulous! If it were to get wet would it run or stain?

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    Replies
    1. I read that drink mix is pretty acidic, so the color is set in the dyeing process. That said, you might want to test a small amount if you were planning on using it for something that is likely to get wet.

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  9. Anonymous3:14 PM

    Those are gorgeous!

    Just so you know, it is spelled dyeing. :) I was hoping your felt didn't die, and it certainly doesn't look like it!

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    Replies
    1. oops! haha! I killed it!

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  10. awesome. I didn't know that this is possible to do.

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  11. I so appreciate this post. I love wool felt but its so hard to find especially in pretty colors. Thanks for sharing.

    Vintagehoneybee.blogspot.com

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  12. WOW! I had no idea this was even possible. Thank you so much. I must try this technique!

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  13. What if you want darker colors? Like gold, hunter green, maroon and brown? I just ordered some 100% wool from N. Carolina cheap. White.

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    Replies
    1. I've not tried it, but I'd suggest RIT dye for darker colors.

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