Dyeing socks with natural ingredients

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Looking forward to another Textile Workshop @ Home? This week we will be dying socks with natural ingredients that you can find in your kitchen. We will be using dip-dye and tie-dye techniques and a homemade dye from beets or turmeric. Collect the following items for this workshop:⁠⠀

  • A pair of white socks (use 100% cotton or wool instead of synthetic fabrics, because this will take up more dye and the colour will last longer)⁠
  • 2 beets for a rose coloured dye (fades over time) or 3 tablespoons of tumeric and 2 tablespoons of vinegar for a yellow coloured dye (more colourfast)
  • 250 ml vinegar
  • 1 liter water ⁠
  • 2 large stock pots⁠
  • Rubber bands⁠
  • (Disposable) gloves⁠⠀

Dyeing process

Step 1.

Prepare your socks by washing and drying them a couple of times to remove dirt and chemicals that might interfere with the uptake of the natural dye.⁠⠀
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Step 2.

In a large pot, create a fixative bath of 250 ml vinegar and 1 liter water. Bring to a boil. Let the temperature of your fixative bath cool down to around 60 degrees and add your socks. Let the socks simmer in this mixture for an hour.⁠⠀
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Step 3.

Beet dye: We used 2 medium beets, but you might need more depending on how deep you’d like the colour and how many socks you want to dye. Chop the beets and place them in a pot and cover with water so that the water level is about 2,5 cm above the beets. Let it simmer for an hour. Remove the beets and let the dye come to room temperature.⁠

Turmeric dye: make a paste of 3 tablespoons of turmeric and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Fill the pot with 1 liter of water and add the turmeric paste, let this simmer for an hour. After this, let the dye cool down to room temperature. ⁠⠀

Step 4.⠀
Tie-dye technique: fold up the socks in a zigzag pattern, bind them with rubber bands on both sides and immerse the ‘sock packages’ completely into the beet dye.⁠⠀
Dip-dye technique: Dip one end of your sock into the red dye, drape the sock over the pot so one half is soaking in the dye and the other half is hanging loose over the dry side of the pot. ⁠⠀
Let all socks sit for 6-12 hours. The longer you let it sit, the more vibrant and colour-fast your dye will be.⁠⠀
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Step 5.

Remove the socks from the dye bath and gently squeeze it to remove the excess dye. Allow your fabric to drip dry overnight. Then use a warm iron for five minutes to heat set the dye.⁠

Step 6.

The colour of the homemade dye will fade over time (the beet dye fades faster than the turmeric dye) So, wash and dry the socks gently on a low temperature to prevent this as much as possible.

Result

Share your dyed socks with us via Instagram or Facebook!

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