Sunday, May 16, 2010

DIY: Felt Dying!

I was gifted a wonderful book entitled, "Pretty Little Felts" written by Julie Collings. It has a wonderful assortment of craft projects for felt. I've always loved creating with felt, despite my terrible use of a needle and thread, so I decided that I would try out some of these handy little projects. Some really don't even need a needle and thread, which made them all the more appealing. What I wanted to try first was felt dyeing. I've never been able to find any really nice felt colors I like. They're always too bold or too dark or too dull for the color I want. My selection has mostly consisted of felt squares as well. I hope to one day try needle felting, but have yet to find the materials in any stores nearby. The book also shows Wool rovings, which I would love to find. I may have to try to order it online though, as no one nearby seems to have it so far. :/

Anyway, I decided to try coloring some felt just to see how well that might work. The book consists of instructions that were pretty simple and easy, so I took a couple of pices of white felt and decided to try it out. Here are my pictures below.

1. Gather your materials. I took two pieces of white felt, although you could use any color you like. However darker colors may not be affected much by the dye. Choose your dye colors and kinds. I like liquid dyes and only had three available at the time. One is a lettuce color, one is like cranberry? And then the last was eggplant I believe. I ended up leaving the cranberry one as it's own color, but mixed the eggplant and lettuce a little. Be sure to use quite a bit of a dye with your water. Several squirts anyway. Too little color won't change the felt much and will just wash out with you rinse it out. You can use bowls, jars, or whatever you like to hold the dye. You will need a container of water for your dye mixture,make sure the water is slightly warm. You'll also need a class of clean, warrm water to rinse your felt in. It may be easier to rinse these under running water. I had to keep cleaning out my clean water after each use to keep the colors left behind from mixing. It may depend on your brand of dye as well? If you're looking to dye any felt, be sure to experiement first and use several practice pieces. You'll also need an old towel or paper towels to dry the felt on afterwards. Make sure you use something you dont' mind changing the color of. Paper towels are probably your best pick.
2. Once you have your supplies ready, take one of the glasses of water and drop in several drops or squirts of your dye. In the picture, I think I started out with only a few drops and ultimately added more, so feel free to experiment with how much dye you want to use. The more dye you have, the darker or stronger your colors will turn out. Put your dye in (might want to wear gloves to keep your fingers clean) and let sit for a bit. Sitting longer means darker, stronger colors. When you think it's done, take out the felt and rinse it in the clean water.
3. This pictures shows the cranberry felt after it has been rinsed in clean water. Notice how pink the 'clean' water becomes?
4. This is the pink/cranberry felt and the eggplant/lettuce felt next to their original counterpart. Notice the changes? The cranberry/pink felt came out alot better and stronger then the other. I also had to keep dyeing the brown colored one as the color kept fading out of it when it was rinsed. I may not have left it in long enough. If you want your felt to be darker, leaving it in the dyed water longer helps. This was just my first attempt, but I am pretty pleased with out it came out.

The whole process was fairly simple and hopefully I can get some other dyes that will help me get more colors that will be closer to what I'm looking for. I have several other projects to post that I've tried from this book, so stay tuned!

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