Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dye Job (Color, Rinse, Set)

Before I begin my first post here, I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Megan and I have two vintage shops, both named autena...trinkets and treasures, one on Etsy and the other on Artfire. I have been a follower of Button Floozies for several months, finding this delightful blog by accident on the Internet when searching for blogs on buttons.

Laurie was kind enough to invite me to write occasionally here and I am excited to be able to share a post that I originally wrote about on my own blog, autena, a few weeks ago. When I discovered that it was possible to transform buttons by dying them, I was intrigued and, if you have never heard of this before, you may be surprised and amazed also.

Not too long ago, I came across a blog that explained how to dye buttons.
What a great idea! I had no inkling that could be done. 
Now that I know, of course, I have found other sites that show how to do it, including Rit Dye, who make the most widely available dyes.
After pinning some related material onto one of my Pinterest boards, the thought stayed in my head that I could dye that huge bunch of white plastic buttons taking up space in my storage that no one seems to want because all button people have them. Of course, a fair amount of time passed before the word became the deed, so to speak.
Finally one lovely warm sunny day about two weeks ago, I decided to jump in and DYE!

 My generous hubby set up a "table" for me outside on the driveway, 
not far from the water tap, because of all the required rinsing.

Here is some of my equipment...
...rubber gloves (don't want rainbow hands), 
instructions (always a good idea for a novice),
plastic tablecloth (to avoid dyeing the work area),

and the old buckets and cans for the dye mixture.

Okay, psyched up to start, but a bit nervous, I couldn't decide whether to include the buttons that still had thread on them because someone cut them off the shirt.
In the end, I used them, because why waste them?

Now I apologize for not having photos of the process, but with gloved hands and staining dye, it was too tricky.
I used the three primary colors --- who remembers what they are?

Red, blue, and yellow because  they may be combined with each
other to form the secondary colors of purple, green, and orange.

So with three boxes of dye, I had access to six colors!
It took longer than I thought it would. I didn't leave the buttons in
the dye as long as the directions stated because they immediately
changed colors. I was aiming for translucent more than opaque.
 If I do this sort of project again, I would leave the buttons in the dye for the suggested amount of time,
because they did lose color when rinsing.

A messy job to be sure, but it was interesting
to see the varying hues in the mixture, due to the different types of
plastic and their original shade.
Some were more absorbent then others.
One of the tricks is using very hot water, which aids in the absorption
 of color. Also they need to be rinsed thoroughly until the water is clear,
especially if they will be used on (washable) clothing.
Of course there were a few that did not absorb any color
and they went back into the 'reject' pile...

I had a blast doing this and I was originally thinking of packaging them in cute boxes or containers of some sort and trying to sell them, but I'm enjoying them too much to part with them yet.

I used some of the orange ones in a bracelet I made and they added such a nice little light-catching touch!

Can you find them?

 Here are the instructions, courtesy of the RIT DYE website mentioned and linked above, should you decide to try this at home: 
  • Rit Liquid or Powder Dye: Any color or mix dye to create a custom color.
  • Measuring Cup
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Disposable Plastic Containers for dyeing buttons
  • Spoon for mixing dyes
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Plastic Table Cover
  • Paper Towels

  1. Cover work surface with a plastic table cover.
  2. Decide what colors you like and prepare dye according to the basic recipe below. Liquid dyes are more concentrated than powder dyes so use half as much dye. Always test color with fabric scrap or paper towel before dyeing buttons. If color is too light, add more dye; if it is too dark, add more water.
  3. Basic Recipe: Measure and mix 1 teaspoon liquid dye or 2 teaspoons powder dye with 1 Cup HOT Water. Shake liquid dyes before measuring. Water should be about 140°F. If your tap water is not hot enough, heat some in the microwave or a tea kettle.
  4. Pour dye and water into a plastic container; stir. Make sure container is deep enough.
  5. Immerse buttons in dye solution for 2 to 5 minutes. Stir occasionally and check color frequently. Remove buttons when desired color is achieved. Rinse buttons. Then wash with soap and water, rinse and dry with paper towels.



cathywhatisoldisnew said...

What a cool process and they turned out geat! Love the bracelet! Would you mind if I pinned it on Pinterest?

autena said...

Oh be my guest! I'd love it! Thanks so much.

Laurie said...

I am dying to try this!! No pun intended (HA!)

Jo in TAS said...

Who'd have thought you could die plastic buttons, they look fabulous and your bracelet is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing

Marie Antionette said...

This is do fab!!!
I love it.I just started dying my white peacock feathers.And like you ...I use the three basic colors.
I think you have a very good idea about boxing your buttons up and selling theem . Do you have a Etsy shop? Anyway nice job and I sure did enjpy this post.
Marie Antionette

The Altered Paper said...

What a good post,thank you for sharing your button dying process & the instructions. Very interesting.. never thought about dying buttons-until now! Your buttons turned out great, and your bracelet is simply gorgeous! Hugs,Tee

Kathy said...

How fun! I never would have thought to try dying buttons at home. Thank you for sharing.

Lynn Holland said...

Well first of all welcome. I started writing myself a few months ago and think your article is fantastic. The story, the process and the end result make for a great read and all with detailed photographs. Well done.
Hope to hear from you again soon.
Kind regards
Lynn Holland

Gill said...

What a great idea!
I love the bracelet!

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

I cannot wait to try this wonderful experiment!!! Thank you! Mary Helen

Anonymous said...

Yet another item on my "to try" list. One can never have too many items on that list!

Great instructions. Thanks.

Susanne said...

I never knew you could dye buttons!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is great for when you need a color you don't have and want to recycle the white buttons you have. Thank you so much for sharing this tip. Love it!
Susanne :)
p.s. you have a new follower now!

Anonymous said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE THESE!!!!! Great photos too!

GardenofDaisies said...

Oh wow, your colors turned out beautifully!

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