September 25, 2009

Fun with RIT dye!

I thought that I’d share with you what some of the dyed clothes look like.

Oh hi. Look at my dyed clothes

That sweater up there was originally a light gray color. I wore it all the time when I was pregnant and after Cooper was born. I wanted to update it because I realized I don’t like light gray with my skin tone and I also wanted something different.   That undershirt was originally pink with mauve flowers. Soo not my cup of tea.  This was in the pile of- “Let’s see what happens when it’s dyed!” I am really glad I did it because it brought out a lot of purples that I love.

that was pink and the sweater was light gray

My good friend Jessica up in Portland, Oregon is a stylist and she gave me this fabulous tip for putting the life back in old clothes.  It also is a savior if you get food grease on clothes and they are damaged beyond repair.  I threw in a few gray shirts that had olive oil on them (i rarely use an apron) and the dye masked it completely!

It’s also wonderful for dying baby onesies that have yucky stains!

The dye is great for black clothing too. I had a few pairs of sweatpants that I absolutely love but they were faded beyond belief.  I think I have had them since college (almost a decade-yikes!) and now they look brand new.  Love it!

These are roughly the instructions she gave me:

In a front load washing machine, put your clothes into dye. Evenly disperse the powdered RIT dye (in black) and about a cup of regular salt amongst the clothing. Add a little bit of detergent into the detergent section.   Turn washer onto the HOTTEST/regular cycle.  When the washing machine fills up with water and starts agitating for about 5-10 mins, STOP the cycle and let it sit for about an hour.  Then continue the cycle and dry as normal.  It is important for you to run another load after this one.  It’s great if you do a cycle of darks as any residue dye leftover will not really effect your clothing.  A load of rags with bleach also works well too.  But they might turn a little gray.

If you don’t have the washing machine moving around, you get effects like this:

a neat effect

(these were a pair of lighter washed jeans)

Also remember that when you dye something with buttons, they don’t change the color.  I know this sounds sooo stupid, but I was focusing on changing this light gray sweater into something darker, and didn’t even think to look at the buttons.  Fortunately, I like the contrast of it!  I dyed a green button-up shirt that had green buttons and the result was hideous.   Consider yourself warned.

some samples

This tank top on top was white, followed by a light blue one and then a light gray tank.


I hope you have fun revamping your wardrobe.  You might find a keeper like I did!  And don’t blame me if it ends up looking like garbage!  🙂

I think I am going to start experimenting with colors soon!

  • jenny

    tracy, this stuff looks great! you used black and you got those yummy plum tones?
    i haven’t done any dying in ages, but i just might have to dip some things into a batch or two. i used to dye little thrifted slips and camis- i love how the lace border always ends up a few shades darker than the slip itself.

    your closet looks fab! i need to do the same with mine, but i lost focus this week with hubby gone and also with the weirdo heat wave we had… hard to get in the mood to flip from one season to the next, but i’m feelin’ it this weekend!!!

  • Cassandra

    I love love love RIT dye!

    I’ve been using it since high school, and boy oh boy, can throwing clothes in really change the look of them! The outcome of your pieces is fantastic!

  • Lindsey

    I was hoping you would post these! Thank you! I want to try this, so I am going to run out and buy some dye, but I am wondering, your instructions from your friend say specifically “front loading washer”. Would it be different if it was an old school top loader? 🙂

  • Tracy

    jenny you can do it!!! i hope you take pics…i soo wanna snoop in your closet!

    thanks cassandra!! it’s awesome! i am in love!

    lindsey- I think a regular washer will do- I think it might even work better to soak the stuff! I think she told me front loader cuz she had one. I have a front loader too. Good luck! I’d love to see your results.

  • Sarah

    what an awesome idea! I keep buying light gray clothes, then a few weeks later when the novelty of the new thing has worn off I realize I don’t like how I look in light gray. Now I can fix it! I’m going to start making my pile of to-dye cloths asap.

  • Stacy

    I was just talking with a friend about this very idea a couple days ago. I really will have to try this out and see what I get.

  • kaylovesvintage

    very much my color, looks great

  • The Purple Foodie

    This is such a fun ideas. I’ve tried dying my clothes many moons ago. Now you’ve tempted me to experiment with it again!

  • laura

    Oh I love this idea! I never wear an apron it’s like wearing gloves in the garden it just does me no good. Now? I’ll be dying that stained shirt. What a fantastic way to recycle. I will link back to you when I do. Laura-Queen of All

    • Tracy

      Laura- Amen to apronless kitchens! When I do wear one, I manage to spill ONLY on the parts uncovered. Go figure. Can’t wait to see your results!

  • jennifer

    this is a great concept!! I have a pair of jeans that I love but they have about an inch sized bleach stain. I’ve always considered re-dying them to see if it masks the stain. Not sure if it will work, but I’ll give it a go!!

    thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • kickpleat

    This is way too cool. Love that it hides grease spots too. I hope my neighbours won’t mind me dying up the washing machine!

  • katrina

    Fantastic idea! Your clothes turned out really well.

  • Juicing 101 › shutterbean

    […] I ruined a shirt with beet juice once. I've dyed a few shirts that I ruined with juice! Here's a little tutorial on how to dye clothes if you make that […]

  • Kristina Reingand

    could you please tellme how ot unbleach a black sweatpant?

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