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How to dye prefolds?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know if this is a good idea? I want to try my hand at dying some of my prefolds, but don't know if I should, and don't know how to get started. I've never dyed a thing in my life (except my hair ).

Any suggestions for solids, tie dyes....anything? Thanks!
post #2 of 11

OOOO - Good one!


(I'd like to try it too, but don't know where to begin... And my hair has been every color of the rainbow, so it shouldn't be a stretch, no?)
post #3 of 11
I took some of my prefolds and dyed them myself. I got the dye from walmart and did it that way, however I have found that I need to double dye them to get them to stay the color I want if I am using unbleached. My bleached ones I did have stayed and are bright colors, but the others have faded, but they were also my first ones. I followed the directions on the package and went for it.

My sis and I are going to tye dye some, as I still have I think a dozen that are plain white and unbleached. I like pretty colors.

I say go for it, it can't hurt anything, and I think that solids are simpler for starting off.

post #4 of 11
Go to your local craft store and look for procrion fiber reacive dyes. Jacquered also makes tye dye kits for cheap you can use. Along with the dyes (if you do not buy the kit) you will need synthrapol, soda ash, salt, urea, gloves, squirt bottles & rubber bands if you are tye dying, tubs if you are solid color dying.

Check out www.dharmatrading.com for instructions on how to tye dye and vat dye. I use my own measurements for dying with good results but it took me experiemnting to tweak my mixtures.

PS I love dyed prefolds, its my main stash
post #5 of 11
the link to dharma is good advice. their directions for dyeing are very good!

one thing to note is that because prefolds are relatively heavy, it will take a good bit of dye to achieve the kind of saturated color you probably want. if you just purchase basic colors - fushia, turquoise, and lemon yellow, you can mix anything you want, and that way you will get your very own colors.

again, because the diapers are thick and heavy, you will have to rinse repeatedly, first in cold water, and then in progressively warmer water, until you get to hot. you should continue to rinse at each step until squeezing the diaper produces clear water. if you do not do this, you will not be happy with yourself the first time you wash them with your other diapers
post #6 of 11
The washing advice is excellent I tossed a load of dyed items in without properly rinsing one time. Man was I steamed at myself!

Turq & bright yellow make a gorgeous bright green
Turq & fuschia make an awesome purple
Fuschia & yellow, yummy orange!

If you want red, the only dye I have found to get a true red on cotton is fire engine red from dharma. It looks like blood when you mix it but the color is outstanding!
post #7 of 11
You should go for it, dyeing is lots of fun and if you do find they fade you can always over dye them to keep them looking good as new!
This is also a great way to make stained diapers look great, if you choose a dark color they will look great again.
post #8 of 11
I have dyed ALL of my own prefolds... in fact, we had our friends over yesterday and we dyed all of our premium prefolds (they're still in plastic bags downstairs as I procrastinate on the rinsing out process!)

Basic info-- Procion (not sure of spelling... sorry!) dye like the jaquards kits/ rainbow rock/ dharma dyes are all excellent dye choices. The colours are bright and very colourfast. They can also be quite pricey. No doubt you will get great results (as I did) with them.

For a cheaper fibre reactive dye option... you can use Dylon Cold dye (readily available at craft and fabric stores) IT MUST BE DYLON COLD, NOT JUST THE DYLON DYE. The package will say dylon cold on it in big letters. The regular dylon dyes will just wash out. Rit dyes will also just wash out. Using either is a sure way to be disappointed.

For solid colours I would just use the Dylon Cold dyes. They're much cheaper and I got great results using them. The longer you leave them in the dye bath, the better your results will be. My solid colour dyed infant prefolds that are usually line dried have faded very little. It's a cost effective way to dye.

For tie dying, it's a toss up. For sure you get brighter colours with the expensive dye, but it's easy just to go to the store and buy your dye packets too. If you do tie dye with dylon, it's easiest to apply it with squirt bottles then pop it into a plastic bag, leave the whole thing overnight and then rinse, wash and dry.

Tie dying is pretty labour intensive. It took 4 adults 5 hrs to dye 44 diapers (given we do have 2 infants to look after and we did have lunch in there...) so be prepared. I still have to rinse and wash before I'm done.

My best piece of advice though, is to make sure that you don't skimp on dye. Squirt it on, then squirt more on, then squirt more on! You aren't done until that dye is dripping off your diaper! Using less dye will just disappoint.

Have fun! We had a blast during our dying day.

If you want more advice, instructions, suggestions... head over to the craft section and do a search
post #9 of 11
just want to second (or third) the dharma dyes! and have fun!
post #10 of 11

Using the washing machine to dye diapers a single colour

(Copying this from a post I just made on another board)

I recently dyed some diapers in the washing machine, and they came out beautifully even as well as a gorgeous colour. This will work particularly well if you want all the diapers to be one colour.

To do this, I figure that a washing machine holds about 20 gallons of water. Fill it with warm water, and add about 20 cups of non-iodized salt. (The salt helps break the water tension so the dye will soak throughout the diapers. You can also add calsolene oil for the same purpose; it only takes two tablespoons per washer load.) Let the washer agitate enough to dissolve the salt thoroughly, then stop the washer. Add dye (you'll need a total of about 8 tablespoons of dye for a full washer-load, if you want a medium shade; dissolve it in water before adding it to the washing machine, and test the color on a scrap of fabric or paper towel to be sure you'll get the color you want. Remember that colours will look darker when wet than dry, so dry your fabric scrap/paper towel during the color check to be sure you have the color you want). Turn the water on and let agitate briefly to make sure the dye is dispersed throughout the machine. Add the diapers.

You'll need to let the diapers agitate in the washer for about 20 minutes; make sure you keep stopping the washer and returning it to the beginning of the agitate cycle before it starts to drain, or you'll lose the dye down the drain. After 20 minutes, add 2.5 cups of soda ash (dissolved 2 tablespoons to one quart of warm water). Add the soda ash slowly -- a little at a time over the course of 15 minutes -- and use a stick of some kind to hold the diapers to one side as you pour it in.

After you've added the soda ash, let the diapers agitate in the dye bath for another 30-60 minutes (less for lighter colours, more for darker ones). Allow the machine to run its regular rinse cycle then. Wash them diapers on hot with four capfuls of Synthropol. (You may need to do one extra wash with Synthropol to make sure the diapers will not bleed further.)

This sounds like more work than it is. I highly recommend this method, as it's the least work of any of the methods I've tried, and produced the best results.

Things to remember: wash the diapers in advance. If they're new, wash them until they'd be ready to use; if the diapers won't absorb water yet, they won't take the dye, either. If they're used, do a prewash of clean diapers with Synthropol, to make sure there's nothing in them (including detergent residue) that will keep the dye from taking. You may need to do a strip wash if you have detergent buildup.

Supplies needed:

diapers to dye
washing machine
noniodized salt (about 8 normal-sized boxes will equal 20 cups)
powdered fiber-reactive dyes
soda ash
calsolene oil (optional)
Synthropol textile detergent

All but the first three supplies are available at www.dharmatrading.com . These instructions are based on the instructions for vat dyeing from their site.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for all the great info! I can't wait to get started!!!
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