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Turning Stains into Dye

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best

 

I have to admit my husband looked less than convinced when I excitedly tried to explain, this, my latest crafty light-bulb moment.  "Why on earth would you want to put stains on something" he said, "surely people mostly try and remove them?".  Fortunately my kids were far more impressed by my creativity, and we spent a fun afternoon testing out my theory; you can use stains as dye!

This is what we did...

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best

We used natural cotton bags, and prepared them by simmering them in a fixative (1 part vinegar to 4 parts water) for about an hour. We decided to try tomato ketchup and Mustard for our dyeing experiment.

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best

We sketched our designs on the bags lightly in pencil, so we had a guide to follow, and then painted on our stains.

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best

We left our designs to dry, and then covered them with a tea towel and ran over them with a hot iron. Breath held, they were then popped into the washing machine and run on a rinse cycle to remove the mustard and ketchup.

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best

Having spied the dodgy bottle of wine left on the side, we decided to try some tie-dyeing!  Elastic bands were wrapped around the bags, before they were popped into the wine for a couple of hours.  We then simply rinsed them under the tap.

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best

We are really happy with how our bags turned out!  The ketchup pattern isn't as vibrant as the mustard and red wine, but still looks really pretty in the flesh.  Next time we're going to try cocoa powder and blitzed up grass cuttings!

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best

The kids had such fun trying out our household stain dyes, and it's a great craft to have a play with without spending lots of money. For some more free and recycled craft ideas why not check out our Marbling bottles with nail polish and Embossing with Glycerine and Eye shadow tutorials.

 

Our fun craft tutorial explores how you can use stains as dye at home. Check out what we tried and what worked best

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40 Comments

  • Reply Ickle Pickle

    This looks such fun – what a great idea. Fab post and directions. Kaz x
    Ickle Pickle recently posted…My Summer Holiday RecipeMy Profile

    February 15, 2016 at 9:35 pm
  • Reply Idaintyit

    What a fab idea! And something fun and different to do with the kids. Love this

    February 15, 2016 at 3:46 pm
  • Reply Jolene monaghan

    what a fantastic idea.. im not crafty but i use to love tie dieing my tshirts in the early 90,s … i would love to try this with my little one x
    Jolene monaghan recently posted…My Netflix Review crewMy Profile

    February 15, 2016 at 3:20 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Any of the tutorials on our site anyone could do I promise! Let me know if you give it a go 🙂

      February 16, 2016 at 8:04 pm
  • Reply Mudpie Fridays

    I did a science experiment at school where we used vegetables to dye cloth. It was great fun I think from memory (24 years ago!!) red cabbage worked quite well as well? I think this is great idea and very educational x
    Mudpie Fridays recently posted…Butterfiles in the Glasshouse – WisleyMy Profile

    February 15, 2016 at 7:38 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I’ve read that red cabbage is great as a dye. Lots of the things I try with the kids are inspired by hazy memories of what I did as a kid – think the one I was keenest to do with them was the owl pellets 🙂

      February 16, 2016 at 8:08 pm
  • Reply Laura

    What a good way to pass a day with the kids. I wonder how many times you’ll be able to wash it before more of it fades?
    Laura recently posted…Activities: Home-made Valentine’s CardsMy Profile

    February 14, 2016 at 5:35 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Oh that’s a good question. Because they are bags I only ever washed them the once. I’ll try it on a T-shirt some time and experiment 🙂

      February 16, 2016 at 8:15 pm
  • Reply Miranda (Anosa)

    These is definitely a nice craft, using stains as dyes is an ingenious idea and I love it.
    Miranda (Anosa) recently posted…12 Months of Happiness – 2 of 12My Profile

    February 14, 2016 at 4:59 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thank you Miranda, I was ridiculously pleased with myself when I thought it up!

      February 16, 2016 at 8:16 pm
  • Reply Ana De- Jesus

    What a clever idea! I think this is especially useful if you have young kids because chances are their clothes will get stained daily so this is a fantastic way of utilizing those stains!
    Ana De- Jesus recently posted…Sunday Lookbook: Valentines EditionMy Profile

    February 14, 2016 at 2:50 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      That was the inspiration Ana 🙂 Made a change to want things to stain rather than not!

      February 14, 2016 at 3:08 pm
  • Reply Zoe

    What a great idea! I love the way you’ve done this post – loads of great pictures and clear instructions. I might have to give this a go with my kids.
    Zoe recently posted…Miller Ground, WindermereMy Profile

    February 14, 2016 at 12:48 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It’s great fun Zoe, and you can use anything you have in the kitchen, so its really simple 🙂

      February 14, 2016 at 2:46 pm
  • Reply Emma

    Great idea for a rainy day, love how the mustard turned out!
    Emma recently posted…Pregnancy Update Week 31 – Crazy Hormones and To-Do ListsMy Profile

    February 14, 2016 at 11:08 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      The mustard is fab isn’t it 🙂 Someone suggested beetroot which would be lovely as well – I was thinking you could cut a stamp straight into it and it’d be self inking!

      February 14, 2016 at 2:49 pm
  • Reply Kerry norris

    What a clever idea. I never would have thought to do that. The bags have come out really well x
    Kerry norris recently posted…Summer Infant Swaddle Me ReviewMy Profile

    February 14, 2016 at 3:53 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks – I was so excited when I thought this one up and the kids had such fun messing around with it 🙂

      February 14, 2016 at 2:51 pm
  • Reply Nia

    That’s a really fun idea, safer than actual fabric dye I bet. X

    February 13, 2016 at 5:49 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I would imagine so Nia, I am not sure what they use in commercial dyes but I suspect it’s a pretty nasty process making it 🙂

      February 14, 2016 at 3:12 pm
  • Reply Leah Miller

    The mustard design turned out brilliantly, we have always used fabric paint to create our own bags, but this seems like a much cheaper, and just as effective, way of doing it! It would be great to try on an old t-shirt too, try to give it some life back!

    xx
    Leah Miller recently posted…Don’t forget to love yourself…My Profile

    February 13, 2016 at 3:37 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Be perfect for a T-shirt. Using stuff from the kitchen is great because its all already to hand 🙂

      February 14, 2016 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply Yvonne

    What a great idea! I am always on the look out for safe and fun activities to do with my little ones. We may have to give this a shot. Thanks x

    February 13, 2016 at 2:20 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      My kids had such fun with this craft – they loved that they were painting stuff from the kitchen cupboards on to things 🙂

      February 14, 2016 at 3:16 pm
  • Reply Dean of Little Steps

    I do love tie dyed. Used to do this as a teen. This looks like a great project to do with my daughter, but I think I’ll save this for the summer! Easier to dry stuff outside 🙂

    February 13, 2016 at 11:46 am
  • Reply Becky @ PinksCharming

    What a brilliant idea – I might try to make a feature of some of the ketchup stains on my kids’ clothes instead of consigning them to the nursery clothes drawer! Thanks so much for sharing! Becky #busydoinglife

    October 11, 2015 at 11:15 am
    • Reply Sarah

      That’s exactly where I got the idea from – amazing how well things stain when you don’t want them too! Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

      October 11, 2015 at 1:44 pm
  • Reply Claire Ridewood

    What a fantastic tutorial… my little ladies and I love dying things like this! Thankyou so much for sharing this with me on #busydoinglife

    October 9, 2015 at 8:09 pm
    • Reply Sarah

      We had such fun with this, and its a perfect project for the winter months when there’s less to make dyes from outside 🙂

      October 10, 2015 at 9:18 am
  • Reply A Patchwork Life

    This is such a fun idea! I can just imagine how much the kids enjoyed it. Beetroot sounds like a good one to try – maybe zingy spices like paprika for an orangy colour?

    September 7, 2015 at 12:32 pm
    • Reply Sarah

      Haven’t tried the beetroot yet, but imagine it could work as a self-inking stamp, so that’s how we’ll try it when I have some that needs using up. Plan to use pickled and see if the vinegar from that works as the fixative – I’m hopeful it will. Paprika would be a lovely colour to try. Thanks for visiting x

      September 7, 2015 at 12:46 pm
  • Reply Coombe Mill

    What a great idea, and cheaper than having to go out and buy the proper clothes dyes. I bet the kids really enjoyed decorating the bags with things you usually aren’t supposed to get on material. The Mustard sun looks amazingly vibrant, I’m sure the kids will be talking about this for a while! Thanks for linking up your stain-tastic fun on Trash 2 Treasure.

    September 7, 2015 at 12:02 pm
    • Reply Sarah

      The kids did love this project 🙂 Thanks for having us on #Trash2Treasure

      September 7, 2015 at 12:43 pm
  • Reply Nikki Frank-Hamilton

    This is such a cool idea! I love it. I guess my hubby would have looked at me oddly too, but what a fun thing to do with the kids. I love the yellow sun towel, so bright and fun. Have you thought about trying beet juice? Everytime we eat them something turns red, perhaps you could get a brighter red hue from it? Thanks so much for linking up, great creative idea.

    July 17, 2015 at 11:50 pm
    • Reply Sarah

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Beet juice is a great idea. I wonder if you could cut stamp shapes into the beet itself – would be like a self-inking stamp!

      July 18, 2015 at 9:38 am
  • Reply Denise/DIY Crush

    This is really cool! A great way to continue to use a piece of clothing too! Found you through the link party from View From In Here! 🙂

    July 16, 2015 at 2:54 pm
    • Reply Sarah

      Thanks for popping in and commenting – just been admiring all your sewing patterns over at diy-crush.com

      July 16, 2015 at 3:26 pm

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