Did you know you can dye wool with Easter egg dye? These dyes are permanent on protein fibers such as wool, silk, and mohair; please note they are not permanent on plant fibers (such as cotton or linen) or synthetic fibers. This is a safe and easy way to dye your textiles in bright happy spring colors, and something fun to do with your kids too!
Easter egg dye comes in so many pretty colors and is permanent on protein fibers such as wool and silk when heat-set and used with a mordant – in this case, white vinegar. The purple dye even separates into beautiful hues of lavender, blue and pink! Here’s how to do it:
1. Fill a basin with room-temperature water and add a squirt of soap, such as dishwashing liquid. (I use blue Dawn concentrate.) Add the fabric to the soapy water soak for at least 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, mix the dye. You’ll need Easter egg dye (I use PAAS), plastic containers for mixing the dyes, plastic spoon, tablespoon, measuring cup, white vinegar, water, and paper towels.
3. Mix the dye: place 3 tablespoons of white vinegar into a small container and add the dye tab. Let tab dissolve completely, then add ½ cup water and another tablespoon of vinegar. Mix. You can check the color by dipping a corner of a paper towel into the dye.
4. Remove items to be dyed from the basin and squeeze out the soapy water. Arrange in an aluminum roasting pan or oven-safe container you don’t plan to cook in. Add the dye to the wet fabric. You can pour it, spoon it, or paint it on with a sponge brush. Fabric should be very wet. When all the dye is added, place in oven and turn to 225 degrees. Cook for approximately 40 minutes, checking periodically to make sure the fabric isn’t scorching. You can add more water if needed.
5. When water is fairly clear, your fabric is done! Let cool completely and rinse in room temperature water. Gently towel dry fabric; lay fabric out flat to finish drying.
Easter egg dyes will give you beautifully bright colors for spring and summer, and can often be found on sale after Easter. Be sure to get the large size with more colors in the pack to be sure you get that pretty purple and a nice assortment. You can also dye protein fibers in Kool-aid, and Wilton's icing gels too! And it's great for ice-dyeing. I have noticed that the Easter egg dyes are not as colorfast as these other dyes, and will tend to fade a bit if exposed to sun for long periods of time, especially the purple color. Have fun!
Silk scarf snow-dyed with purple Easter egg dye, I love how the colors separate!
Detail from my "Way Back Home" pattern, wool dyed with Easter egg dye!