For Halloween I decided I was going to be Poison Ivy from Batman. I needed green tights, and of course the one time I need them, there aren't any green tights at all. Frustrated, I bought a pair of opaque white tights with the intention of dyeing them with food coloring. I had seen people dye yarn this way, what would be the difference?
Here are my materials: white tights, food coloring (I used green and yellow), vinegar, a stainless steel pot and a measuring cup.
Pour water in the pot. It varies for how much you're dyeing. I used about 4 cups.
From what I read about yarn dyeing, people added about one tablespoon of vinegar to each cup of water. So I used 4 tablespoons. The vinegar makes the color really stay in the fabric.
I put the tights in some water to soak for a bit while I mixed and heated the dye bath.
Add your food coloring to the water/vinegar mixture! I wanted it to be a very greenish yellowish and I was worried the tights wouldn't take the color so well because of the material it was made of, so I used a lot of food coloring.
That looks about right. Now heat it on medium heat until it simmers
Squeeze the water out of the tights and throw them in the simmering dye bath.
Make sure to get all of the material submerged. This was kind of hard for me because the fabric kept floating up to the top. You're supposed to stir it every once in a while as it dyes, but I overestimated just how long it would take to take the color, so I didn't get to stir it at all, which caused an uneven color. Fortunately that's not a big deal for my costume, but if you want an even color, make sure to stir it every few minutes. I'm pretty sure I could go back later and re-dye it later anyway.
You know when it's done dyeing when the water is pretty much clear. You can kind of see in this picture, the water is significantly clearer than before I added the tights. It's a pretty bluish green color. I probably could have left it in longer to get more color but I was satisfied with what shade it was so I turned off the heat and let it cool.
Once cooled enough for you to touch, rinse it with water and a tiny bit of dish soap until the water runs clear.
And here they are! You can really see how uneven the dye job was in this picture. Overall I'm super happy with the results, and I'm planning on dyeing more and more tights and things. Hopefully with time I'll get better at achieving an even color. Maybe I'll even be brave and attempt an ombre sometime!
I will eventually get an action shot of these tights, but it will probably come after I get the whole costume done.