The Monday after Easter this year, I noticed Cloth Paper Scissors Today Editor Cate Prato brought dark red hard-boiled eggs in for lunch. Cate is Greek, and their tradition is to dye their Easter eggs a deep red.
I asked Cate how she gets them such a dark red and she said she uses dye imported from Greece. Then she added, somewhat conspiratorially, "But my grandmother used Rit."
Well, that was a surprise. I've never heard of anyone using Rit to dye eggs. On the other hand, Rit is non-toxic. And while I'm not suggesting you use it on foodstuffs, Rit is a safe, all-purpose, and easy alternative for dyeing in the quilt studio.
In fact, designer Dianne Giancola and I had a blast dyeing embellishments on an episode of "Quilting Arts TV" Series 700. It was so easy, I thought I'd share the basic button dyeing process with you.
Dyeing Multi-Color Buttons
Note: Rit dye is available both as a powder and a liquid. The liquid dye is already mixed and it’s more concentrated than the powder. So you only use half as much dye when working with the liquid dyes.
You will need:
1. Wearing latex gloves, measure and mix two dye colors in separate containers. For example:
- 1 teaspoon Violet with 1 Cup Hot Water; stir
- 1 teaspoon Evening Blue with 1 Cup Hot Water; stir
2. To help prop up buttons, place small stones in cups on painter's palette. Pour small amount of each dye solution into painter's palette cups with small stones.
3. Immerse half of buttons in dye solution, propped up with stones for a few minutes. Then remove and stand buttons in other dye solution for a few minutes or until desired color is achieved.
4. Remove buttons from dye and rinse with water. Then wash buttons with soap and water, rinse and dry on paper towels.
That's it! This process is easy and addictive.
To illustrate how these embellishments would look in a piece of art, we asked Beryl Taylor to use dyed bamboo sticks, buttons, lace, and other embellishments in a small quilt. You could also dye bits and pieces to embellish a handmade bag, a pair of flip-flops, and other spring and summer accessories.
You can see the entire process on Dianne's segment in "QATV" Series 700, as well as segments on metal embellishments, colorful fabric houses, surface design and stitch techniques, and much more.
P.S. What the craziest thing you've ever dyed? Tell me in the comments section below. I can't wait to see your responses.