Jun 13 11

Using up Old Mixtures of Procian Dyes

The night before I left Asheville, I needed to clean out all the bottles of liquid dyes that were sitting in the fridge…these dyes had been mixed up 6-8 months earlier, so we’re talking really old dyes! I can’t bring myself to just throw out stuff like this, so I decided to use them up dyeing pieces of bamboo/rayon blended felt by National Nonwovens. Felts soak up a huge amount of dye, and bamboos and rayon fibers generally dye fairly vibrantly, so I figured this was my best chance to:
1. appease the guilt I had about throwing this stuff out and
2. give me the best chance of actually getting some real color, since these dyes were so old they probably had very little “dyeing power” left in them!

I started out by using my friend Judy Simmons‘ method for “dyeing by cooking:”

This involves placing the felt (or fabric) and dye into a tub and covering it with saran wrap, then cooking on “high” in the microwave for 3 minutes. Afterward, you let it steam for awhile like shown above, but you can’t let it steam more than about 3 minutes or all the condensation pools in the center and drips down, giving you a nice diluted dot in the center! This will give you an idea of how much dye this felt soaks up:

This dye was called “Avacado” and although the final color looks nothing like the original avacado, I really like how it came out:

Here’s how my lapis blue came out:

…and here’s the result of a mixture of turquoise and fuscia:

I love how the terra cotta came out…remember, this is really old dye:

and finally, yellow and marigold:

Ooh, la-la…I can’t wait to start dyeing again the next time I get to NC! The season of dyeing is finally here!


  1. Claire Pereira Says:

    WOW! The colors you get from dyeing fabric!!!
    I might have to just try it myself!!!
    Guess I’m gonna hafta reasearch the process and products… 😉

  2. Debbie St. Germain Says:

    They really came out nice and some good variations in the shades.
    I need to dye some floss and wools.


  3. Kelly Jackson Says:

    Those came out terrible….I better take them off your hands.


  4. Mary Stori Says:

    Oh Patsy…..my fingers are reaching into the computer screen for these pieces of fabric……I can already see beadwork on them!