Pick up any fabric book and it will claim to hold all the answers to successfully dyeing your own polyester fabric. Some claim the key is to use the right dyes, some say you have to use the right fabric, while others say the best way to do it is to use a computer.
So, what should you believe? The truth is there is no “one size fits all” solution to successfully dyeing your own polyester fabric.
Dyes are extremely technical products—they require the right colorant at the right strength, as well as the right temperature. For this reason, each dye is different, and each dye will create a different result.
Polyester is a great fabric for many reasons: it’s durable, stain-resistant, and is machine washable. The only problem is that it’s a synthetic fabric, which means that it cannot be dyed.
So, if you really want to dye your polyester fabric, the only way to do it is through a process called bio-compound dyeing.
Can you dye 100% polyester?
You can dye your 100% polyester using the right method and the right dye for your polyester fabrics. However, when we talk about “dyeing” our polyester, we’re talking about dying with a chemical compound rather than just applying ink or paint directly onto the material.
This is because of how polyester works; it has an internal structure made from long chains of molecules. These chains act like tiny spools on a reel, where one molecule wraps around another until they form a chain.
Polyester dyeing process: Step guide for correct methods
- Complete fabric dye guide
Step 1: Select the polyester fabric
You can choose any kinds of fabrics for you polyester dyeing project. You can select cotton, silk, rayon, linen, wool, etc.
But before choosing anything, make sure that the fabric you chose is not too thick so that you don’t need much time in order to complete the whole dyeing process.
- Cotton fabric
- Damp fabric
- Popular fabric
- Raw fabric
- Natural fabrics
- Synthetic fabrics
- Dry fabric
Step 2: Select a polyester dye colour
Choose your preferred colour for your polyester dye project. There are two ways to get the perfect colour for your polyester fabric.
One is by mixing several colours together, but the other is by selecting a single colour.
Mixing multiple colours
- Base colour
- Blue colour or any indication of colour
- Permanent colour
Step 3: Read the manufacturers instructions
Always have time to read instructions before starting your dye project This step is very important since most of the times people fail to follow these steps correctly.
Read carefully the manufacturer’s instruction manual. It may contain information such as recommended temperatures, recommended amounts of dye, required amount of water, suggested washing procedures, drying conditions, storage requirements, etc.
Step 4: Select a dye-pot
There’s a lot of varieties of dye-pot available today. Some pots come with built-in heaters while others use electric heating elements. Choose whatever suits best for you.
- Electric pot
- Heater pot
- Pot with heater element
Step 5: Gather all of your dyeing supplies
Gather and organize your supplies according to their purpose. For example, gather all your dyes into one container, then separate them based on what type of acid dyes they are.
- Acidic dye
- Basic dye
- Direct dye
Step 6: Prepare the dye bath
Prepare the dye bath first. Make sure there’s enough room for the dye bath to expand during the dyeing process. Also, add some salt to prevent corrosion.
Step 7: Add dye to the dye bath
Add the appropriate amount of dye to the dye bath. The ratio between the dye and the water should be equal to the weight of the fabric being dyed.
Step 8: Mix well
Make sure everything is mixed properly. Don’t forget to stir the mixture every now and again. Stirring helps ensure even distribution of the dye throughout the solution.
Step 9: Heat up the dye bath
Heat up the dye bath using either an electrical hot plate or a gas stove burner. If you’re going to use an electric hotplate, set its temperature at 180°F.
If you’re going to use a gas stove burner, turn off the flame when the dye bath reaches 160°F and wait about 10 minutes.
Then start stirring the dye bath until it gets warm.
Step 10: Test if the dye has reached the right temperature
Test whether the dye bath is ready by dipping a small piece of cloth into the dye bath. When the dye penetrates through the fabric, it will change from white to blue/greenish.
If the test doesn’t show any changes after 30 seconds, increase the temperature of the dye bath slightly. Wait another 15 – 20 seconds and repeat the same procedure.
Final step: Dye the fabric
Dip the fabric in the dye bath for 2 – 3 minutes. Then remove the fabric from the dye bath and rinse under running tap water. Let the fabric dry completely before ironing.
When done, hang the finished product outside to let it air out.
You can also wash the fabrics inside the machine instead of hanging them outdoors. Just make sure that the machine is not full of laundry so that the steam won’t damage the fabric.
Can you dye polyester in the washing machine?
Yes! You just need to follow these steps:
- Fill the washer tub half way with cold water.
- Put the clothes in the washer without detergent.
- Turn on the cycle and put the lid down.
- Start adding the colorant directly to the drum. Do this slowly because too much liquid could cause the machine to overheat.
- Once the colorant is added, close the lid and run the cycle as usual.
Things to consider when dyeing polyester clothes
Polyester is a synthetic materials, fabric that is the most popular type of clothing throughout the world. But, what people don’t realize is that there are many different types of polyester, which can affect how well their clothes hold up.
By knowing what to look for when choosing polyester for your next project, you can ensure that your polyester projects will look and feel their best!
There are a lot of things to consider when dyeing polyester clothes, but don’t be afraid to experiment. There are many different dyes available for polyester, and many are heavily advertised as being good for polyester.
The truth about dyeing polyester? It’s not as simple as just a few tablespoons of dye, and it doesn’t have to be as expensive either.
And don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors.
Other methods of applying disperse dyes to polyester
- Manufacturing process – disperse dye process
The actual dyeing process from the manufacturers are very similar to those used for cotton or wool. The difference lies in the manufacturing processes.
In order to get the desired shade, the manufacturer must first mix together all the ingredients needed to create the final dye solution. This mixture then goes through several stages where it is heated and stirred.
Afterward, the dyed material is sent through various machines that help separate the fibers of the yarns. Finally, the dyed material is washed and dried.
- Basic disperse dyeing process
Basic disperse dyeing process are usually applied to natural fiber such as silk, rayon, linen, hemp etc. They use an alkaline medium to dissolve the pigment into the fiber.
- Disperse dyeing process using acid mordants
Acid mordanting is one of the oldest techniques used by dyers since ancient times. Dispersed dyes were originally made using alum salts, however today they are mostly produced using aluminum sulfate.
The three principles of dyeing
- The first principle is that the colour of a dyed fabric should be due to the presence of dye in the fabric rather than any other substance. This means that the colour will not change if the fabric is washed or immersed in water.
- The second principle is that the dye must penetrate into the fibres of the material so that the colour is evenly distributed throughout the fabric. If the dye does not enter the fibre, only the surface area of the cloth will take on the colour.
- The third principle is that the dye has to remain stable during processing and storage. Dye molecules need to stay attached to the fibre until after washing and drying. Once the dye is removed, the original colour cannot return.
Which other natural garment and fabrics can I dye?
Cotton, silk, linen and nylon can all be used and dyed. Wool is not a natural fabric, however, it can be dyed as well.
How do I choose which color to dye my clothing?
When selecting a new piece of clothing, think about what type of style suits you best. Do you like bright colours, pastels, neutrals, dark tones, stripes, plaids, solids, patterns, prints…the list goes on.
If you’re looking at buying some new pieces, try them out before making a purchase. You may find something else that fits better or looks more flattering.
Which synthetic blends can I dye?
Blends of dyes are used to make colored fabrics. They are made from chemicals that are known as dyes or colorants.
The following are some common blends:
- Polyester blend
Polyester blend are often found in sportswear because they have good stretch properties. Polyesters are also commonly blended with acrylics and spandex.
- Polycotton blends
Polycotton blends are popular for their softness and comfort. These blends contain cotton and synthetics.
- Polyester cotton blend
Polyester cotton blend are very similar to polyester blends but include cotton. Cotton gives these garments extra strength and durability.
- Cotton blend t-shirts
Cotton blend t-shirts are the most versatile shirts available. The shirt contains both cotton and polyester fibers. It’s great for everyday wear.
- Synthetic blends
Synthetic blends are usually made up of two different types of yarns. One side is made from pure polyester while the other side is made from wool or another animal hair.
Synthetic blends are perfect for those who want a comfortable fit without having to worry about shrinkage.