How to Dye Certain Parts of Clothes (Spot Dye and Dip Dye)

Is there a pair of jeans you can’t get enough of but wish you had something extra? Or maybe, your favorite sweatshirt is starting to look dull and could use a burst of color.

Luckily, you can dye certain parts of your clothes using spot dye and dip dye methods. They are easy ways to spice up or add pops of color to any clothing item with some dye!

How to Dye Certain Parts of Clothes (Spot Dye and Dip Dye)
Fabric with dyeing on the spot. Credit: canva

In this blog post, I’m here to walk you through the steps to customize certain parts of clothes with different dyes. Let’s get creative together and transform those beloved basics into one-of-a-kind pieces!

Spot Dyeing and Why

Spot dyeing is a technique where you only dye certain parts of clothes rather than the entire thing.

Someone might want to do this because they have a stain or discoloration on a specific part of their clothes and want to fix it without having to dye the whole garment.

It can also add color to an otherwise plain piece of clothing or create a unique, tie-dye-like effect.

It’s a great way to breathe new life into an old piece of clothing without buying a new one.

How to Dye Certain Parts of Clothes

Spot Dyeing

Supplies You’ll Need:

Before we get started, there are a few things you’ll need to gather together.

  • Fabric dye. I like to use Rit Dye because it’s easy to find and comes in various colors.
  • A cup or bowl to mix the dye and some hot water
  • Rubber or plastic gloves to protect your hands from the dye.
  • Applicator (a sponge, a swab, or a paintbrush works well for this.
  • Steam iron:
  • Clean clothes
  • Plastic to protect the work area
  • Cleaning supplies for after dyeing (mild detergent)

Now that you have all of your supplies, let’s get started!

The Dyeing Process:

  1. First, cover the work area with plastic and wear gloves.
  2. Mix your fabric dye according to the package directions.
  3. Once the dye is mixed, apply it to the areas of your clothing that you want to change color by using the applicator. Be sure to saturate the fabric thoroughly so the color will be even.
  4. Once you’ve applied the dye, allow it to sit for 30 minutes to set in.
  5. To further set the dye, use a hot steam iron. Sandwich the treated area between two clean cloths or paper towels, then press.
  6. After 30 minutes, rinse the dyed areas of your clothing under cold water until the water runs clear.
  7. Then, wash your clothing according to the care instructions on the label using detergent and hot water. Allow your clothing to air dry entirely before wearing.
  8. And that’s it! 
How to Dye Certain Parts of Clothes (Spot Dye and Dip Dye)

Dip Dyeing

It is a technique where you dip a garment or fabric into a dye bath rather than paint or spray the dye onto the fabric.

It’s a great way to create an ombre or tie-dye-like effect, where the color gradually gets lighter or darker. It’s also a quick and easy way to dye a large fabric, like a scarf or a piece of clothing.

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • Dye (synthetic or natural)
  • Fabric (cotton, linen, or rayon)
  • A large container (like a plastic bin or bucket)
  • A dye fixative (if using synthetic dye)
  • Rubber bands or string (if you want to create patterns)
  • Gloves and a face mask (to protect your skin and lungs from the dye)

The Dyeing Process:

  1. Fill your container with warm water and add the dye according to the package instructions.
  2. If using synthetic dye, add the dye fixative.
  3. Submerge your fabric into the dye bath and let it sit for the desired time.
  4. If you want to create patterns, tie rubber bands or string around some regions of the fabric before submerging it in the dye bath.
  5. Remove the fabric from the dye bath, and rinse it under running water until it is clear.
  6. Wash and dry the fabric according to the care instructions.

The Best Dyes to Use

There are a few different types of dyes to choose from when it comes to dyeing clothes.

Synthetic Dyes

One popular option is synthetic dyes, which come in many colors and are easy to find at most craft stores. They’re also relatively inexpensive and work well on most types of fabric.

However, synthetic dyes can be harsh on the environment and may not be as colorfast as other options.

One of the most popular synthetic dyes is Rit dye.

Natural Dyes

Another option is natural dyes made from fruits, vegetables, and plants. These dyes are often more gentle on the environment and create beautiful, muted colors.

Fiber-Reactive Dyes

Another option is fiber-reactive dyes, which work well on cellulose fibers such as cotton, linen, and rayon.

These dyes are more colorfast and lightfast than other dyes and are great for tie-dyeing or dip-dyeing.

How to Dye Certain Parts of Clothes (Spot Dye and Dip Dye)
Dyeing your cloth. Credit: canva

Other Easy DIY Dyeing Projects

Dyeing your clothes is a fun and easy DIY project that can give your wardrobe a fresh new look.

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • 1 white cotton shirt
  • Dye (you can use fabric dye or food coloring)
  • Salt
  • A large plastic container or bucket
  • Rubber bands (optional)

Simple Clothes Dyeing

  1. Fill your container or bucket with enough warm water to cover the shirt. Add 2 tablespoons of salt for every cup of dye used.
  2. Stir the salt and water until it’s fully dissolved.
  3. Add the dye to the water and stir until it’s evenly distributed.
  4. Place the shirt in the dye bath and use a wooden spoon or tongs to push it down and ensure it’s fully submerged.
  5. Let the shirt sit in the dye bath for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how deep you want the color to be.
  6. After the desired color is reached, remove the shirt from the dye bath and rinse it under cold water until it clears.
  7. Wash the shirt in the washing machine with a mild detergent and tumble dry.
How to Dye Certain Parts of Clothes (Spot Dye and Dip Dye)
Tie-dye process. Credit: canva

Tie Dye

  1. Fill your container or bucket with enough warm water to cover the shirt. Add two tablespoons of salt for every cup of dye used.
  2. Stir the salt and water until it’s fully dissolved.
  3. Add the dye to the water and stir until it’s evenly distributed.
  4. Take your shirt and bunch it up in several areas. You can create different patterns by bunching it up in different ways. For example, you can create a spiral pattern by twisting the shirt and then rubber banding it in several areas.
  5. Once you’ve created your desired pattern, dip the shirt into the dye bath. Use a wooden spoon or tongs to push it down and ensure it’s fully submerged.
  6. Let the shirt sit in the dye bath for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how deep you want the color to be.
  7. After the desired color is reached, remove the shirt from the dye bath and rinse it under cold water until it clears.
  8. Then wash the shirt in the washing machine with mild detergent and tumble dry.

FAQs

How do you dye a shirt only half?

You can use the dip dye method.

Can you use food coloring to dye clothes?

Yes, you can use food coloring to dye clothes, but please remember that they are not as colorfast or lightfast as other dyes. The colors may fade quickly after washing.

How do you dye part of a hoodie?

You can use the spot dye method. Let it sit for 30 minutes before removing and rinsing. Repeat this process until you achieve the desired effect.

What fabrics cannot be dyed?

Fabrics not made from natural materials, such as polyester or nylon, cannot be dyed. Only natural fibers, such as cotton, linen, and rayon, can be dyed.

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