How to (and how NOT to) dye your clothes at home

How to (and how NOT to) dye your clothes at home

I am a huge fan of fabric dye and have used a lot of it over the years – my Grandad can vouch my love after I turned the grout around his bathroom tiles a beautiful shade of purple whilst I was at uni 😉
Is it messy? Yes. Is it fun? HELL YEAH!
Now if you’re happy to get creative and have fun, here’s an easy to follow tutorial for you to get fresher/ revamped clothes!

What you’ll need;

  • A sachet of fabric dye (I’ve personally used Dylon as it’s easy to get hold of and I’ve used it a lot before – you can always find it on Amazon when shopping online or Wilkinson’s if you happen to be in town)
  • 250 grams of salt
  • A plastic container you don’t mind getting dye on (I used an old ice cream tub that’s been in my cupboard for the last 4 years – why? I’m not sure)
  • Something to mix your dye with – I used an icing scraper thing (not sure what it’s called lol), because I couldn’t kid myself that I’ll ever be a pro baker and make use of it
  • Rubber gloves (without holes, you don’t want to end up with stained fingers like yours truly)
  • A bucket/ tub/ stainless steel sink
  • A piece of clothing you want to dye
  • And a handy assistant to take photos of you making a mess (optional)

You’ll know when I wrote my Re-Discovering My Wardrobe Post that I wanted to save some money on buying new clothes and make better use of what I already have. A great way to do this is through dyeing your clothes another colour. There are a variety of ways you can dye (tie-dye, spray bottles, fabric paint etc.) but to ease in I’m going to show you straight up dyeing. If you’d like to see some how-to’s on the other methods, drop me a comment below! I chose this nude colour polyester/viscose jacket I got from Boohoo a while back for this tutorial – I’d never worn it and love the style, but hadn’t found a perfect outfit to match it with.

I decided to go with a straight up black dye for this and got this Black Velvet dye from Dylon which I got on Amazon – you can pick one up here.

Please note that there’s a whole lot of trial and error in how the colour will turn out on an already coloured garment. How the fabric takes is also dependent on the type of material you’re dyeing – for example, natural fibres (e.g. cotton) will take better than synthetic ones. Make sure to check the label of your garment to find out what it’s made of and the find the appropriate dye before purchasing.

Once you’ve got everything you need, please follow these instructions;
1. Dampen your garment
To prep your garment ready for dyeing, run it under the tap until it’s damp and wring out any excess water. Leave this until you’re ready to roll.
2. Prep your dye
Your instruction guide on the dye sachet will give you exact quantities, but for this example, I mixed 500ml of warm water with the entire sachet of dye. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR RUBBER GLOVES ON FOR THIS! 3. Fill your bucket/ tub/ sink with 6 litres of hot water
My instruction guide stated the temperature needed to be around 40 degrees centigrade – but I wasn’t getting all technical with a thermometer, I just ran the hot tap and filled up the bowl.
4. Add your 250 grams of salt and mix into your 6 litres of hot water5. Add your dye mixture to the salted hot water
This is super satisfying and can get pretty messy! I decided to do all of this in the tub so it was easier to clean once I was finished – mind out for the grout around your tiles because this will 110% dye it!
6. Submerge your damp item of clothing into the water and mix for 15 minutes
This is extremely boring after a while, but gives you an idea of how the colour will likely turn out. I found that the black dye was turning the nude into a dark green colour – very interesting!

Side note – don’t be stupid like me and wear light colour clothes for this! My creative juices always get flowing in the evenings so I happen to be rocking my pyjamas lol

7. Leave to sit for 45 minutes, stirring at regular intervals
I went back every 15 minutes to stir that shit up like I was a witch in Hocus Pocus!
8. Rinse thoroughly with cold water
Do this until the water is almost running clear, you’re going to get some dye coming out the next few times you wash so please bare in mind when you wash this in the future with any other items of clothing – don’t want those nice knickers going a funny colour now do we?!
9. Leave to air dry
To prevent getting my beautiful white wardrobes stained, I hung this on our shower curtain pole in the bathroom to dry until the following day. Don’t apply direct heat (no radiators or tumble dryers) and don’t leave it in the sunlight as this will change the colour.
You should now have a completed freshly dyed garment!
I’m all about honesty on this blog and I’m not gonna lie, this was an epic fail for me.
When I got to the rinsing stage, ALL of the dye was coming out. I ran it under the cold tap and I swear to god the old colour pretty much came through as the water ran over it. Aaron walked in and laughed as I was shouting all the profanities under the sun “I’ve wasted money on that f**cking dye, what the actual f**ck!!!”
Now I’ve had time to chill out and collect my thoughts (I was writing this in between each stage of dyeing, hence my anger), re-check the label to see what kind of fabric it was – I found that it had 5% nylon which is why it didn’t take at all using the standard permanent dye. ABSOLUTE BUMMER!! The colour has changed slightly but is mainly the same 😂

However, please learn from my mistakes and make sure to use the appropriate dye for your fabric – don’t be a bell end and waste your time and money like moi! FASHION FAUX PAS!


  1. November 13, 2017 / 5:45 pm

    One of my black skirts has faded to a weird grey colour so I’ve been wanting to try the dye you used for ages. I’ll remember to check the materials before I buy the dye though 😂

    • November 13, 2017 / 5:48 pm

      Definitely learn from my blondness 😉 and I’m gutted cos I just found some faded black jeans I could have used for this tutorial after I’d messed it up 😂

  2. November 24, 2017 / 12:23 pm

    Great technique. I tried to dye my shirt black but my my, said all I needed was to put the dye in he washing machine. It came out a weird dark green, but my mum loves it.

    • November 24, 2017 / 12:24 pm

      Haha thank you! I’m actually mid-way through attempting to go again this way! I did a machine wash dye run the other day in black dye and got a dark brown silk jersey, fresh black jeans and a yellow top that’s now green haha!

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