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How to Dye Fabric with Rit Dyes

Author: Annette Browning
by Annette Browning
Posted: Feb 21, 2020
rit dyes

How to Dye Fabric Kitchen Towels with Rit Dyes

Remember Rit Fabric Dyes? Yes, those Rit Dyes that your Mom used way back when. They came in a small cardboard box that she bought at the grocery store. Well, they are actually still around and better than ever!

When I had my yarn dyeing business, I got really spoiled with the all of the amazing colors of professional dyes so I didn't give Rit Dyes much thought. Honestly, the few times I tried them I was very disappointed in the results. The colors were never as vibrant as the packaging and the end result was usually uneven. I still won't attempt to dye anything black because that always ends in disaster!

Well, when I began researching shibori dyeing techniques for a blog post tutorial, I figured my readers would not be interested or could afford investing in professional dyes. Besides, unless you are going to be doing A LOT of dyeing, there is no point in buying all of that extra stock.

So, I tested out Rit again and was pleasantly surprised to find they did a wonderful job on my Shibori Dyed Kitchen Tea Towels. And the best thing about Rit Dyes is that they are cheap and easy to come by. You can find them at just about any grocery or big box store in a rainbow of colors.

Honestly, the dyes were probably just fine before but one inherent problem with Rit is that they are what is called 'composite dyes'. That means that they are made up of lots of different kinds of dyes so they can be applied to many different types of fabric (i.e. plant fibers like cotton or protein fibers such as wool or alpaca). You see, each type of fiber requires a different chemistry to dye it successfully.


Fabric Dyeing Supplies Needed:

  • Cotton Flour Sack Towels
  • Liquid Rit Dye (I used Fuchsia)
  • Rocks or Marbles/Gems
  • Thread
  • Old Pot (no longer safe for cooking)
  • Table Salt
  • Hot Water
  • Stove or Hot Plate (great for dyeing outdoors!)
The actual Rit Dyes have changed dramatically (for the better) but the basic dyeing steps are the same.

With my kitchen towels, I decided to use a resist Shibori method which involves tying small rocks or marbles into the fabric. This creates a pattern of undyed circles or swirls. You can scatter the rocks across the entire towel or add them only to the edges of your towel. Just make sure you tie them in the fabric tightly with your thread so that they don't come apart during the dyeing process.

When you're ready to dye the fabric, you fill an old pot with hot water and add about 1/2 cup of salt. Stir to thoroughly dissolve. Now, you need to carefully add your Rit dye. I used the Fuchsia color in the liquid version. How much dye you use depends on the weight of your fabric. Check the instructions on the dye bottle.

Now you need to add the fabric to the dyebath. Using your stove or hot plate, heat your water to a boil and then turn it down to gently simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Once the fabric is done dyeing, very carefully remove your fabric (it will be hot!) and rinse rinse rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear. Take your time with this. You don't want your kitchen towels to bleed. Now, remove the stones and keep rinsing. Finally, wash your towel in the washing machine, separately the first time.

Your freshly dyed kitchen towels are ready to use! You might also like How to Paint Tiger Stripes on a T Shirt

About the Author

Hey, I'm Annette, check out for lots more crafting tutorials

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Author: Annette Browning

Annette Browning

Member since: Jan 23, 2020
Published articles: 7

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