dyeing old acrylic afghan with idye poly
  • I have an old, ugly afghan in shades of cream, orange and rust, which I believe to be knitted with acrylic yarn. I appreciate the wonderful workmanship, but not the aesthetics of it. I did the burn test that resulted in a hard plastic nub, so I know it is not wool, but not sure if it is nylon or acrylic or ?? I want to overdye it with idye violet, which I am hoping will give me an end result of a muted violet, and two shades of brown.

    My questions are:
    1. will idye poly will work on acrylic
    2. If so, will it work in the washing machine on hot, as it is too big to put in a pot on the stove.

    Thanks,
    Marjie
  • What did the fiber smell like as it burned? Fabrics.net says that acrylic smells acrid or harsh, while polyester smells sweet.

    iDye Poly should work on acrylic, I think, and it's a much nicer (safer) choice than the other class of dye commonly used on acrylic, which is basic dye (also known as cationic dye). Unfortunately, disperse dye is not supposed to be able to reach intense shades on acrylic, but it should do pale to medium shades.

    I think that you will have to turn up the temperature on your water heater if you want to dye acrylic in the washing machine, because I believe that it requires at least a temperature between 60°C and 70°C (140°F to 158°F). All of the recipes I've seen for dyeing acrylic with disperse dye call for boiling the fabric to dye it, but acrylic undergoes a transition somewhere around 65°C at which the dye will strike suddenly. I am only assuming that this is as true for disperse dye as it is for basic dye. If it's not, you'll need to reach closer to boiling temperature. See How to Dye Acrylic.

    You can buy 10-gallon stainless steel brewing pots, with a spigot at the bottom for draining, from a beer and wine brewer's supply store. (For example, see here.) This would be the best way to dye an acrylic blanket, but it's a big investment if you're not going to be doing a lot of these. You should never dye in a pot that you will be using for food ever again.

    Paula