How to Dye Fabric in the Great Outdoors

Fabrics dyed using the flat dyeing technique.
Fabric dyed by Robin Ferrier using the flat dyeing technique.

As the weather turns warm and flowers start to blossom, I begin to hear the siren call of the great outdoors. In my world, this is the perfect time of year not only to be inspired by nature but to take my projects outside.  I want to be out there to hear the birds chirping and smell the lilacs in bloom instead of staying cooped up inside.

Whether you’re inspired by the emerging colors of the season or physically working on your projects outside, let the great outdoors inspire your artwork and make this the month of outspiration.

Fabric dyeing is without a doubt one of my favorite outdoor activities when the weather is nice. Not only does it allow me to enjoy the sunshine, it also keeps the potentially harmful dye particles out of my house. Learn how to dye fabric in your backyard with this tutorial from Robin Ferrier to teach us how to set up a safe and effective area outside for dyeing fabric.

Creating a Temporary Outdoor Dye Studio

Take your dye outside and try dyeing fabric outside!

Materials

  • 1–2 large folding tables
  • Heavy-weight painter’s plastic
  • Large plastic buckets
  • Water source

An outdoor studio can be set up relatively quickly when the spirit moves you to work in a natural setting. It doesn’t take up much space, and it requires little in the way of special equipment. All of the supplies you need are identical to those you would use in an indoor wet studio, but there are a few major advantages to working in the open air. Namely, cleanup is much easier and the sunlight provides all of the energy required.

Empty jar of fabric dye used in a flay dyeing process.1. Position the dyeing table in an area that gets full sunlight. For practical purposes, I prefer to set it on a little bit of a downhill slant so that when excess dye is squeezed out of the fabric, it will drain away from where I am working.

2.Place an old cutting mat on top of the table, then cover it with a sheet of heavy painter’s plastic.

Note: If you do not have a running water source available such as a faucet or hose, be sure to have several buckets of water at the ready for rinsing gloves and supplies.

3. Position an extra table or shelf nearby to hold your supplies.

4. You now have a temporary dye studio ready to go! Gather your materials and prepare to master the basics of flat dyeing in your temporary workspace.

Read the full article and learn how to dye fabric from several fiber artists when you download Quilting Arts Magazine Presents: Dye Your Own Fabric. You’re sure to find a fabric dyeing technique you can’t wait to try.

Happy dyeing!

Brenna's Signature

P.S. Share what inspires you about the outdoors! Use #Outspiration on Facebook or Instagram during the month of April to let us see how the new season is influencing your work. I can’t wait to see what you are working on!

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Categories

Fabric Painting & Dyeing, Quilting Daily Blog, Surface Design

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