Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How I Dye Felted Beads

I dyed beads today. Since I had nothing else for the blog, I thought I'd document my process.

First, I soak the beads in warm water with a little vinegar added (when I do this with Kool-Aid, I don't need to use the vinegar)...

beads in prep

I know what you're thinking. How much vinegar? How long? Yeah, I don't really pay that much attention. If I had to ballpark it, I'd say I used about a cup of vinegar. Maybe less (a cup wasn't much considering that this was a 2 liter container).

I let it soak until the beads were waterlogged. (I had breakfast, started my laundry, and watched some TV before starting the dyeing process.) I'd guess it was about an hour.

Then I divvied up the beads into four containers...

beads before dyeing

Well, first I filled each glass container with about an inch's worth of warm water. Then I put in the food coloring. And then I added the beads (and took the picture).

I put the containers in the microwave for 2 minutes. Then, with oven mitts, I took them out and let them sit. Before they got too cool, I repeated the process. The idea was to keep the water near boiling temperature until the dye soaked in.

There is a lot of dead time during this procedure. I managed to check all my email, read all of the blogs I follow, do a couple loads of laundry, wash my sheets and make up my bed, and play a good hour's worth of solitaire (this version) all while occasionally checking in and reheating the water.

In a little over two hours, I had this...

beads after dyeing

It might be hard to see from this picture (if you click on it, you can get a larger view), but the water got clearer while the beads got color. (Except for the blue. I used too much dye in the blue container.)

Then I poured out the water and washed the beads...

beads after wash

...and I laid them out to dry. It should take about a day (although, considering how cool it's been here, it might take longer).

The next thing I need to learn is how to mix colors better. I was doing a lot of guessing with these. I wanted a lighter orange, a darker green, and periwinkle. I wasn't too particular about the purple, and I really like how that turned out. As for the other colors...

I suppose I should start a notebook with recipes. Who am I kidding? I doubt I'll ever be able to manage precision with this.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I'm going to remember this so that someday when a character in a book dyes felted beads I know the process and it shall appear authentic.

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