July 15, 2011

Using Fabric Dye Sticks

While I was surfing the internet and trying to spend a gift card I stumbled across something that piqued my interest.  Fabric dye sticks.  I have NEVER heard of these and have never seen them either.  Seriously, how is their an art/craft supply out there that I don't know about?  And why has no one told me about them?  I don't know if this was some secret kept from me, but if it wasn't, I am going to show you how completely awesome they are.

Lots of colors, but no purple!

The dye sticks are very similar to oil pastels, both is size and texture.  Basically, a soft crayon.  The instructions for use are super easy.  Wash your fabric, draw on your fabric (natural fabrics work best like cotton), place a piece of paper on top of your drawing, dry iron, then done!  Super simple, but I still screwed it up the first time around...I'll show you how.

I grabbed two shirts for my kids that I bought for this (which I thought I had washed).  I stretched them over a shoe box and pinned.  This step is very helpful because it keeps your fabric from moving on you.

I then drew the designs I wanted on the shirts.  A little bit of the dye will come off on your hands, so beware before smearing them all over the shirt.

Place your paper on top of your drawn design and dry iron.  I ironed for about 60 seconds moving over the design in a circular motion.  The before ironing and after look about the same.

A little bit of the dye comes off on the paper which is why you need it.

This is it!  That is if you didn't miss a vital step like I did.  I thought I had washed the shirts!  Before I shared this with you I wanted to test it out to see how it fades/if the dye would bleed, etc.  This is what happened.  The dye cannot adhere to the fabric if there is any starch present.

They both faded...A LOT!  Eek!  I decided to try it one more time.  So I went over the drawings again.  Ironed them again.  Washed them again...and this was the result.

MUCH BETTER!  I threw in other clothes (some light in color) that I wouldn't mind if they got dye on them and they came out clean.  SUCCESS!  With all that drawing, I also used less than 1/4 of any of the dye sticks.  These are going to last a while...or maybe not.  The kids are really digging their new shirts.  More shirts may be in the works soon.

Colton likes the 3 eyes on his monster.

Maben loves his robot, his "box" robot.

These are seriously a really cool product (that I am totally NOT being paid to tell you about).  I did put up an affiliate link though if you are interested in buying some, because I have not seen them in stores around here.  The result was so much better than what I thought it would be, especially for the price.

I have also thought of lots of ideas on how/when to use them.
  • Customize a tote bag
  • Whip up some more custom shirts for the boys or myself
  • Let the kids design their own pillow cases
  • Let kids customize something!
What would you use them for?  Do you think they are as cool as I do?  I am so seriously geeked out over these...they are so awesome!

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  1. I've never heard of them before either but I'm so excited that you shared!!! Ordering them now. This will be such a fun activity with Madison. So much easier than cutting out freezer paper and painting. Although, I'm not that artistic so I may have to trace something. I love our drawings!

  2. I've never heard of these either but you have sold me on them! I love your son's robot shirt. My guys would have loved that when they were little!

  3. This is so neat! Looks like it would be easier to control then using paint. Your little guys shirts turned out super cute (:

  4. so cute! I could have lots of fun with those sticks.

  5. The fading on your "before" shirts look like one of my own shirts. My great idea - use these to fix the faded image on the shirt I already have! There's a cool feather design that was almost lost after only one wash, haven't worn it since... but you saved the day!

  6. What a great product to know about. And good to know about washing first. Although if you wanted to create a deliberately faded, retro kinda look, you could do what you did by accident, but do it on purpose. :-)

  7. Love it - you did a marvellous job, obviously a talented artist:) I'll have to copy something, but I'll order these - you convinced me how great they are and what a great price too.
    What would I do with them - why wall art of course and I'm dying to see how they's work on canvas.


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