We have a cat problem in our neighborhood. Feral cats are rampant and they seem to think my backyard belongs to them. They are particularly fond of our outdoor couch and armchairs with their comfy cushions. Needless to say, the cushions need to be washed often. The problem is that the covers were not removable, so they needed to be hosed and scrubbed each time. Big pain.
Anyway, I finally cut open the back seams, took off the covers, washed them, and now I need to attach some cotton tape ties to keep them closed. The problem is that I only have white cotton tape for my navy blue cushions, which would be OK if I weren't so anal. But I am, and I am also alone in the house, so I decided to dye the tape blue.
- A large glass bowl that will fit in your microwave
- A glass measuring cup for liquids
- A postal scale
- Rit Dye
- Rubber gloves
- 2 metal forks
- Plastic wrap
- Paper towels
- Waterproof apron
- A microwave and the tape you want to dye, obviously
First you need to find out how much dye you need for your amount of fabric or tape. To do this you need to weigh it. I use grams because I find them more exact than ounces and I don't need to convert fractions to decimals. My tape weighs 32gr.
1020.8/453.9=2.2489≈2.25gr This turned out to be roughly 1-1/4 tsp
You don't need to go crazy with the weighing, just use about 1 tsp dye for every ounce of tape. If you want to make sure that it comes out dark add another 1/4 tsp and you should be alright (my tape looks darker than it does in the picture).
Once you have measured your powder, you need to dissolve it in hot water. Put on your apron and gloves and grab your measuring cup. I used about 2/3 cup as hot as it comes out of the tap. Add the powder and stir it well with a metal fork.
Now take your glass bowl and just cover your tape with very hot tap water. Set the tape aside for a minute and add your dissolved dye to the water. Stir with a fork and put the tape back in. Move it around with the fork to ensure good coverage.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place a few paper towels on your microwave tray and one on top of the plastic wrap in case there are any spills (I haven't had any, but it's good to be safe). Turn on the microwave on high for two minutes.
After the two minutes, open the microwave and let the bowl sit for a bit until the plastic wrap cools off. Then move it to a metal surface (or one that you don't mind getting permanently stained, I use my deep metal kitchen sink) and uncover it carefully. There will be fumes!
Now take both your forks and move your tape around in the dye to help even out the color. Lift it and unfold it as best you can, as if you were mixing sauce into your spaghetti. Cover it again and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Mix it again, cover it, and let it sit for five minutes.
Now go ahead and rinse it in cool water until it runs clear (or as close as you can). Place your rinsed tape in a small laundry bag and throw it in the washer with a load of darks. Wash with warm water and dry it with your load (hanging or in the dryer). You will need to iron it before use.
Things to remember:
- This thing stains! Even the plain powder can leave indellible marks on certain surfaces. So protect them or take it outside.
- After rinsing and washing, your fabric will be several shades lighter than the way it looks when it's still in the dye.
- The hot dyes will set out toxic fumes. Open the windows and stand back when you uncover the bowl.
- With this process, the tape will tend to look marbled (it's sitting still in little liquid), so you really need to work at stirring and undoing the folds to get even coverage.
- Cotton tape will shrink considerably. An 8" strip will shrink 3/4" by the end of the process.