How to tie-dye polyester is a common question among people who are interested in getting involved with arts and crafts.
It is simple and fun and anyone can do it if they just have some basic tools that they can easily get at a craft store or a thrift store.
Yes, you can dye polyester but there’s one important thing you need to remember. You must use the right kind of dye meant for the material the fabric is made of.
If you use a dye meant for cotton fiber, for example, on a wool fleece, the dye would wash away very quickly.
The best way how to tie-dye polyester is to take a piece of clean and damp cloth and soak it in water.
After that, you need to put that cloth into a spray bottle cap so you can spray it onto the cloth. The reason why you need to do this step is so that the cloth will absorb the dye that you’re about to apply onto the polyester fabric.
Then, you need to gently roll the wet and damp cloth onto the dyeing polyester.
Dyeing polyester this way also works well with other fabrics such as spandex, velour, and sheer.
These kinds of fabrics will allow you to create different textures by having two or more colors of dye applied to them.
You can then use the same technique that you used in the previous step to create a layered effect by applying the dye onto the top layer and then working your way down to the bottom layer.
How to dye polyester is not very difficult and if you’re trying this for the first time, I suggest that you follow some of the instructions below to make sure that you don’t ruin anything.
You could be interested in dyeing materials to get the exact look you want, whether you’re a cosplayer creating a specific replica of Wonderwoman’s vivid costume or a DIY artist developing your own apparel.
Polyester, a synthetic fabric that does not respond to most colorants in the same manner that natural fibers do, now makes up a large fraction of all clothing. You’re undoubtedly thinking about how to dye polyester after reading this.
Polyester must be dyed with dispersing colors and water that has been heated to at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Polyester fiber molecules are hydrophobic, meaning they won’t absorb water-soluble pigments. Disperse dyes will only color synthetic textiles like polyester and nylon, not natural fibers.
You’ll learn how to dye polyester at home, which coloring tools perform best on synthetic materials, and even how to tie-dye polyester.
Is it possible to dye 100% polyester?
If you apply the right processes and a special colorant especially for synthetic materials, you can dye 100 percent polyester.
Polyester is a synthetic fabric derived from a petroleum-based polymer. It’s a type of plastic that’s made into fibers and then woven or knitted into cloth.
Polyester fibers do not absorb liquids–such as water-soluble colorants–in the same manner, that most natural fibers do. This means that, unlike cotton, polyester is difficult to dye. Instead, heat or chemical treatments are needed to open up the polyester fibers enough for the specific dispersion dyes used to color synthetics to absorb.
Polyester dyeing is a labor-intensive procedure used by most manufacturers. Large companies employ heavy machinery, such as jet dyeing machines that can continually soak the cloth in a hot colorant mixture at a temperature of 280°F.
Some manufacturers use customized roller machines to continually expose the cloth to the heated solution without the high pressure of heated jets for very fine polyester materials like sheers and faux-silks.
These intricate chemical and mechanical setups frequently occur during the manufacturing process, sometimes while the cloth is still in yarn form and sometimes after it has been woven or knitted into the material.
The beautiful thing about this time-consuming method is that because the color is heat-set into the polyester, it never bleeds or fades.
Are you wondering why you’d want to try dying polyester at home now that you’ve read all of this?
The truth is that polyester is present in more than half of all clothing sold around the world today. This implies that if you want to color your clothes, you’re kind of trapped!
Many sewing and crafting projects require the ability to dye synthetics, so you may wish to learn how to do so. If you want to make a cosplay outfit, for example, you’ll almost likely need some synthetic or plastic components.
When Dying Polyester Fabric at Home, There Are a Few Things to Keep in Mind
Before you start dyeing polyester at home, there are a few things to think about.
To begin, you must first determine the type of fabric you will be dealing with. Check the end of the fabric bolt to see if you’re getting 100% polyester or a polyester blend if you plan to dye an unworked piece of cloth.
This information can be found on the manufacturer’s label inside a ready-made garment.
What is the significance of this? Polyester is frequently blended with another fiber, such as cotton, to make a softer, more breathable fabric.
If the material comprises more than 35% synthetic fibers, you should use a special synthetic colorant.
Polyester and spandex (popular in leggings and sportswear) are two blends that can’t be colored at home. Spandex isn’t designed to endure the high temperatures required to make dispersion colors work.
It also depends on the style and condition of the object you wish to color. Much ready-made clothing, for example, contain unique curves or pleats that are heat-set to keep their shape indefinitely.
One of the polyester’s greatest assets is its long-term resilience. If you re-dye the polyester at home, however, you risk damaging the pleats, curves, folds, or patterns of the original garment.
You must also determine whether or not your object can be safely submerged in water. If it needs to be dry-cleaned, it won’t withstand the dye bath in boiling water.
You should also look for rips, tears, stains, and bleached or faded areas on your garment. All of this will be seen in the final colors. Even if you use black colorant, a fading region will appear lighter than the remainder of the garment once it’s finished!
Next, how much do you recall from your first art class in elementary school, when you learned about the color wheel? You presumably used finger paint to combine blue and yellow to make a sickly green color.
Well, dye works in the same way as finger paint does! If you want a yellow shirt to turn green, don’t use green dye. You’ll need blue dye for this.
Finally, the colorant you choose is important. Continue reading to learn about the various types of synthetic dyes on the market today!
Polyester Dyeing using Disperse Dyes
Disperse dyes can be thought of as a very fine powder suspended in a liquid. Water-soluble or acid-based colorants dissolve in the liquid, however, these small pigments don’t.
Instead, they use heat to open up the fibers of synthetic fabrics, allowing the dye bath’s colors to penetrate the textile.
Disperse dyes are used to color polyester permanently. Thankfully, you can use these things at home on a much smaller scale!
Today, Rit is the most well-known DIY brand for disperse dyes. This brand can be purchased on Amazon or at most local arts and crafts stores.
However, make sure you read the label or product description to ensure you’re buying disperse dyes rather than the water-soluble variants that Rit also sells!
Because you are unlikely to have a large set of manufacturing equipment at your disposal, keep in mind that you will need to wash or pre-treat the item before you begin.
You’ll also need a technique to heat the object you’re coloring. On a stovetop, most people use a large metal pot.
5 Best Fabric Dyes for Polyester
Here are my 5 best fabric dyes for polyester reviews
This fabric dye for polyester is formulated to work well with synthetic fabrics or synthetic fabric blends. It’s possible to dye polyester, nylon, acetate, acrylic, and more. The dye is great for bringing faded clothing back to life, changing a fabric’s colors, fixing stains or marks on clothing, and more.
- Synthetic fabrics can be harder to dye, so this dye has to be used on the stovetop to maintain heat throughout the dying process and cannot be used in the washing machine as other Rit dyes can
- This dye comes in multiple colors and there are tons of color recipes on Rit’s website for mixing dyes to produce unique colors
- This dye works best with over 35% synthetic content in the fabric
This synthetic fabric dye for polyester can be used with many different synthetic fibers. The dye will work well with polyester, nylon, poly/cotton blends, and will even dye some plastics. The fabric dye is vibrant and will dissolve in water. The dye does require a hot dyebath, which is common for most polyester and synthetic fiber dyes.
- Each dye packet weighs 14 grams
- One packet of dye will dye up to three pounds of fabric
- Comes in a variety of different colors
Tulip fabric dyes are permanent and provide solid coverage. The dyes come in a variety of different colors. While they cannot be used on fabrics that are totally synthetic, the dyes can work well on polyester/cotton blends. The dye works best with hot water and salt.
- The dye colors can be mixed together to create even more colors or custom colors
- One dye packet will make one gallon of dye and will dye up to half a pound of clothing
- Can be used to dye apparel items, accessories, or even items around the home like pillow covers or curtains
Dylon Permanent Fabric Dye for polyester can be used on many different natural fabrics, as well as cotton/polyester blends. The dye works well with hand-dying techniques and uses warm water. These dyes come in a variety of different colors.
- Each dye packet is 1.75oz
- The color is permanent and will not fade, even over time
- The dye is vibrant
Polyester and poly blends can be hard to dye. Sometimes the dye will bleed or won’t hold fast. In that case, consider using a dye fixative, which can be used in conjunction with other dyes. This fixative helps prevent the dye from bleeding, and fading over time and can be used to enhance the color of the dye.
- This dye fixative can work with poly/cotton blends
- Use after the regular dying process to keep colors permanent and vibrant
- Can be used on many other fabrics including cotton, rayon, ramie, linen, and other blends that contain these fabrics as well
Fabric Dye for Polyester Buying Guide
Dying polyester can be a harder or trickier process than with natural fabrics. There are far fewer dyes that will work with polyester fabrics than with natural fibers like cotton. Some of the other dyes, depending on which brands they are, can work with polyester/cotton blends, but the success of the project would depend largely on how much polyester is in the blend. If you are uncertain, it is best to use dyes specifically formulated for polyester. Dye fixatives can also be used after the regular dying process to help colors stay permanent and not fade.
Most fabric dyes, even dyes specifically formulated to be used with synthetic fibers, are quite budget-friendly. Many dyes will dye two to three pounds of clothing per packet, while other packets will dye half a pound of clothing. These packets are usually quite inexpensive and dying one, two, or even three articles of clothing will often cost between five to ten dollars.
Many of the polyester dyes come in multiple colors. Colors can also be mixed for a higher degree of color matching, creativity, or customization. The fabric dye brand will often have a website with color recipes on it to help create the perfect shade or tone of color.