It’s really easy to dye fabric with Dixie Belle paint. It comes in so many pretty colors, and you can mix them to make your own colors, too. You don’t need any specialty equipment or supplies. And best of all, you can use Dixie Belle on natural or synthetic fibers.
I dyed this rayon seam binding with Dixie Belle Bunker Hill Blue and Dixie Belle Peacock:
I dyed this rayon seam binding to coordinate with the fabric I've chosen for fabric pumpkins for this fall.
Normally, when you dye fabric, you need the dye itself and a mordant, which is added to make the dye permanent. I think you are actually staining the fabric when you use mineral paint, and that’s why you don’t need a mordant.
In general, you will want to wash, or at least rinse, the fabric to make sure there isn’t anything on it that will resist the dye. Having the fabric damp when you dye it helps get the color more even. If the fabric is dry, the color tends to be more uneven, and the fabric soaks up more of your mixture. If you are trying to make a really dark color, it might help to have the fabric dry, to purposely soak up more of your solution.
You will want to protect your work surface (you can spread a garbage bag on your counter or table). It’s best to clean up any spills or splashes right away, while they are still wet. Dixie Belle paint is designed to hold onto almost any surface, so it can be stubborn when it’s dry. It will stain your clothes and possibly your hands. I wear disposable gloves.
I usually use bottled water when I dye fabric, because the tap water where I live has lots of stuff in it. I think it makes a difference for some dyes, but probably not for mineral paint. I don’t think the water temperature matters too much for dyeing with mineral paint, either. I just use room temperature water.
You will need a container large enough for the fabric you want to dye. I use plastic. For smaller pieces, I use a quart yogurt container. For larger pieces, I use a bucket. I put water in the container (I usually start with a one cup) and add a little paint (I usually start with a half teaspoon or teaspoon). Then I stir it together well, until I don’t see any globs of paint. If you see globs of paint in your water, you will get globs of paint on your fibers. If you get a glob of paint on your fiber, you can remove it (or partially remove it) by rubbing the spot with your fingers. You should probably use containers and measuring spoons dedicated to dye or paint. To test the color, I dip a little strip of white paper towel in the mixture. Then I add paint a little at a time until I get the shade I want. In general, your dyed fibers will be lighter than what you see in the jar.
I dip each piece I want to dye into my mixture, one at a time, swirling it around, lifting it up, squeezing out the excess moisture and letting it drip back into my container. Then I either hang the dyed fabric to dry or lay it on a tray lined with paper towels. If you hang your dyed items, you will want to hang them where you don’t mind some paint drips, or line the area with paper and or/plastic sheet (a garbage bag is fine).
As you dip more items, you will use more of the paint pigment, and you may need to add more to maintain a certain color intensity. Also, if you are squeezing moisture out into your dye pot, you are diluting your mixture. If you want to make sure everything ends up with exactly the same color intensity, you may want to wring your fibers out elsewhere so you don’t dilute the mixture. Another nice thing about Dixie Belle paint for dyeing is that you can add more paint or more water at any point in the process. You can save your leftover water and paint mixture and use it later.
Be sure to stir your mixture well if you let it sit for any length of time. The solid particles tend to settle.
When the items are dry, you want to heat set them. I usually put them into my clothes dryer on low to medium heat for about 20 minutes. Putting them in the dryer when they are already dry means the paint doesn’t come off onto your dryer drum, and the linens tend not to shrink. You can also heat set by ironing.
After heat setting, you will want to wash or rinse each piece to remove the residual paint from your fibers. You may see a chalky substance rinse away, but the color will stay. Then you can dry everything in the dryer or hang dry, as you prefer.
Some items don’t need to be heat set; you can experiment by letting a piece air dry and then rinsing it with water. If the water runs clear and no residue is visible in the runoff, you probably don’t need to heat set. When I am going to sell a piece, though, I would rather be safe than have my customer be sorry, so I tend to take precautions.
That's all there is to it! Please let me know if you have any questions. And have fun!