Friday, March 30, 2012

How To Tie Dye Your LEGS



I am about to show you how to tie dye your legs... or leggs really.



 Yeah, they're just stockings, but the result is still the same. I now have 3 different crazy pairs of tights that each were made from old clothes and food coloring.




I do know that this red color looks like I got a sunburn or was in a bad fire, so you can stop saying so. This was an experiment, and so the black color that I wanted turned out red. I've fixed it, look:



I first thought of tie dying tights when I learned that nylon could take acid dyes, the same type used to color wool. That means you can make these with Kool Aid or any food dye with a bit of vinegar.

You will need:

1+ pack of Kool Aid in any color, mixing is fun. I recommend starting of with a variety pack like this.
1 pair of inexpensive stockings. They need to be nylon, not a fancy blend.
Some string.
A pot.
A source of heat
Water


I tied up my nylons randomly into a big blob. You might want to look to the food colored green stockings for a more uniform tying technique.


Add your Kool Aid to a pot of water. Heat it on the stove until it is simmering.

I prepared a dye bath of water and Black Cherry Kool Aid. I found that the nylon picks up red dye before other colors and will kind of ignore the blue color as long as there is red to soak up. Keep this in mind  because your color may come out different than what you expected.


 Add your tights to the dye, you can take them out when they have soaked up all the dye or when you are satisfied with the intensity of the color.


Let them cool, and take off the string.

You should see spots of undyed fabric under the string. Rinse the stockings under cold water after they are unwrapped. make sure to rinse them until they no longer bleed dye.

You'll have something like this. Now Try it on!

Red dye only kind of looks like a terrible skin disease. After seeing these, I wanted to try a cool color, but I've never found the blue Kool Aid around here. Directions for using food coloring are as follows:

You will need:

Food coloring
1/4 cup of vinegar, the kind for cleaning that comes in the plastic jug, not the salad kind, though it may work
1 pair of inexpensive stockings. They need to be nylon, not a fancy blend.
Some string.
A pot.
A source of heat
Water

This time, I folded the stockings in half lengthwise, then in half again. I wrapped the string around the snake of stockings uniformly, then wrapped back to where I started. I tied the two ends. This method made much better tie dye marbling.

I added the vinegar and a squirt of forrest green dye to a pot of water and heated it to a simmer on the stove. I added the stockings. At first, they seemed to take the green color well, but after a minute, the small amount of red and yellow color in the dye started to break. Breaking is when the colors in the dye split, you can see all of the colors in the dye separately. It is hard to explain, but you can see it in the photo. I removed the tights from the dye when red brown color started to emerge and rinsed them in cool water. 

This is the green and brown combo that resulted. it is forest/jungle-y so I have no idea what I'd wear them with. I think that they do look OK on. You can definitely try this with a different color and get some interesting results. I wanted to try more colors, but I ran out of nylons. There were a few pairs of old ballet tights in my drawer, so I decided to try those.

The tag said "supplex." There was no info on the internet about whether acid dye would work on that fiber. I decided to try it anyway. The tights are opaque, nearly white, pink.


 I flattened the tights so that they were pretty smooth, then folded them in half. Starting at the toe, I rolled them into a little bundle.

 This is the bundle. It was soaked in water in preparation for dyeing. 


There was still color left in the black cherry bath, so I poured some into a little tiny shallow pan and heated it to a simmer. 

The little bundle was set standing in the dye until some color started to soak in. it was then untied and rinsed in cold water. 

The color was still a bit pale, so I overdyed in the leftover green color.


This is how they turned out. If unicorns wore tights...

The rolling method made a stripe up the sides of each leg. It looks kind of interesting and definitely merits more experimentation. 


So this is the end of this very, very long  cataloging of my day dyeing stockings. I spent no money to do this because all of the supplies were in the house. If they weren't in the house, the cheap stockings are 99¢ and the pack of Kool Aid is 25¢. Some of the more expensive food coloring, like the kind in the second experiment, is still only $2 and you use a tiny bit of it. Look out for after easter clearance of egg dyes, they'll work too. Basically, you can do this for very little money. 

Maybe I'll never wear really busy stockings like these, but they would be awesome for kids. They could definitely get involved in the creation of their own colorful tights.

And yes, I do have two pairs of the same colorblocked wingtip brogue wedges in different colors. They're the best.

52 comments:

  1. Fabulous! You must have had a heck of a lot of fun doing this!

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  2. These are great! Thanks for the ideas, I can't wait to try it!

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  3. Where did you get those wedges?!? I love them!

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  4. great tutorial - and those wedges are UH-MAZING. where did you get them?!

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  5. I love this! Seems like a good project to get over my fear of dying fabrics :) Also, I too would LOVE to know where you got the wedges! Pretty please?

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  6. I am always severely tempted by the 10euro arty tights at H&M, but I finally have an antidote! Kool-aid, wot wot!

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  7. where are the wedges from?!?

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  8. What color were your tights originally? White or nude/flesh colored? Where do you find them for 99 cents??

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  9. Shoes were from urban outfitters last fall, I had a good feelingabout the colors for spring. They may still have a few pairs in their sale section.

    The two first tights were nude stockings from walmart. The ballet tights were opaque ultra light pink and weren't 99 cents, but they were not being used.

    Gosh those red rashy ones just get worse every time I see them. they're going to be black by tomorrow :)

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  10. Too chic! You should be an Etsy seller It is really different!

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  11. I love this idea! I have featured this on my blog. Thanks for sharing!

    http://thecraftyblogstalker.blogspot.com/2012/04/pinterest-picks_08.html

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  12. Wow. This is is totally an amazing idea! PINNING IT!!!

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  13. I absolutely love this! I saw it on pinterest and want to try it - but how did you 'fix' the red tights to make black? I really would love to do a black pair like this for the upcoming weekend!!

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  14. @sarah I fixed the photos, not necessarily the tights. I used black acid dye to make the black tights and replaced some of the photos of the red ones so pinterest would stop flaming me. Starting out with black dye is the only way so far that I know of to keep the red from taking over. I'm out of old tights to experiment on, so..

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  15. @xandy LOL! I see. Good to know. Okay, I'll do some experimenting on my own and let you know if I get the black. :D

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  16. So freaking awesome, I definitely want to try this out. XD

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  17. The Unicorn tights are OUT OF THIS WORLD! Love this idea, I'll have to try it out!

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  18. I love the idea. Wondering if you have tried washing them yet, and if the color comes out?

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  19. @Killsworthy - I rinsed them to get out the excess dye. At that stage, when the dye does not bleed, you know that it will hold up to washing though I go easy on the kool aid stuff because it is less stable.

    Hand washing is appropriate.

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  20. I hate it when people on Pinterest leave snarky comments without even bothering to read people's posts - which seems to be happening more and more often. Your sense of humor is what comes through loud and clear - love the unicorn tights. Also like the idea of being able to experiment without spending a fortune :)

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  21. @truebluemeandyou - I dunno if I care ever what people say on pinterest unless *they don't read the post they are discussing.* Like when people ask what something is - I want to leave a comment telling them how you can CLICK on the pins to find out.

    I tried to thank you on tumbler for linking to me, but have no idea how to comment there. If you see this thanks, and thanks for knowing what humor is.

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  22. In Sweden, we don't have Kool-Aid. Will normal food colouring work as well? I'm very curious about doing this, do you think it would look cool to do this with white fishnet stockings as well?

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  23. Kool aid or other juice mixes dye wool and nylon because they contain food coloring and an acid.

    To use straight food coloring, you should add 1/2 cup of vinegar (the pure, cleaning type) for every gallon of liquid to set the color.

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  24. @xandy - well we love your tights on Tumblr. Tumblr Editors featured them on the DIY and CRAFTS tags which means they liked them too (getting featured is a big deal). The post with your tights has gotten 2,411 notes (and will continue to get more and more) and over at Tumblr we have a sense of humor :) I'd say based on comments the unicorn tights are the favorite right now!

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  25. Hi! Just wondering what happens when they are washed? Does food colouring die wash out? Thanks!

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  26. This is so brilliant! I had the feeling nylons could be tie dyed but never had the nerve to try it. Thanks so much for the great tutorial!

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  27. These are lovely. I found a post on Pinterest & had to follow it. One comment mentioned using them for a Halloween costume, but I think they are beautiful for normal use.

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  28. Where did u get ur tights!?

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  29. I feel like selling low priced hosiery that is undyed. Reading this blog post and the comments really makes me want to do it. I figure that there must be a market for it.

    I could maybe sell 15 pairs for $10. I could also offer to sell cheap dyes, as well.

    Do you think that it would work?

    --
    Hosiery Advocate

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  30. How did you fix the red to make them black. I could see myself wearing the black ones. Thanks for your help this is so amazing!

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  31. Just finished my first pair, I tie-dyed them black for starters and then layered some red over it. They turned out awesome, perfect for halloween! Thank you SO much for posting this!

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  32. I just finished my first pair, I tie-dyed them black to start with and layered red over it. They turned out perfect!! I'll be wearing them for halloween personally, and any other occasion I can think of as they are awesome, but far to creepy looking for everyday use. Thank you so much for posting this!!

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  33. Where did you find the black acid dye to make the black tights? I love this idea and am going to have a legg dying party! Ha ha...

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  34. I used Rit dye because it was too much of an effort to order a better acid dye. It worked well.

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  35. This is really amazing !!!!

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  36. what did you used for the black dye??

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  37. This looks awesome! I've been coveting colored tights, so I might try this to make solid ones for cheap. Thanks!

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  38. Those leggings are incredible! They're perfect for DIY costumes! Thanks for the tutorial!

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  39. Just did this for a zombie Halloween costume and it turned out awesome! I didn't have Kool-Aid or vinegar, but Crystal Light does the same trick...who knew!?

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  40. I just REALLY want to know... where did you get those shoes. like omg im dying. oh, and the first two skirts. they're sooo cute lol

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  41. How did you fix the red to black though?

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  42. I fixed the photo only, meaning the tights are still red, and I dyed another pair to get black. I could overdye the red, but the acid dyes are permenant, so red would still show some after black was added.

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  43. i want tose skirts the tights and the shoes! theyre all so cool

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  44. Noortje Giladie-GrootscholtenOctober 7, 2014 at 4:09 AM

    Me too! Where did you buy those shoes?

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  45. Urban outfitters in 2011.

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  46. Yes, but the fabric coloring should be labeled as able to dye nylon/polyamide or wool. It may also be labeled as an "Acid dye." I give a list in my rope dying tutorial of all dye types that i know to work with nylon.

    http://www.soimakestuff.com/2014/04/dyeing-rope-for-crafting.html

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  47. Noortje Giladie-GrootscholtenOctober 11, 2014 at 1:37 AM

    Thanks :)

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