The tale of a bedspread, or: How I dyed myself into a corner
  • I've been looking for a new bedspread for quite some time, but I haven't been able to find what I wanted. So I decided to get one that was white on one side and dye it myself. Simple, right? Just like t-shirts on Tie-Dye Nights? (See username).
    I went all Jackson Pollack on that thing, and it came out looking beautiful- at the time I was dyeing it. After the six hours I was instructed to wait on the package, I unrolled it to find that all the colors had blurred together and lightened. After I washed it, I was left with basically a blanket of blotchy light blue. Like clouds in the sky, my mother called it. Pretty, but for my purposes pretty useless.
    About this time it occurred to me to check what sort of fiber exactly I was working with. Now, I may not have many Frequent Dyer Miles, but even I know that 100% percent polyester inside and out is probably not an ideal material.
    Also, I think the dyes I was working with were kinda bottom of the line. I'm not sure all of the problems were from their end instead of mine, but some of them definitely were. Like, some of the refill packets were for the wrong colors, and the spray dyes that were both painful and inefficient.
    I figure that for my next attempt I should actually ask someone who knew what they were doing. Yahoo Answers didn't come through (not that I seriously expected them to), so here I am.
  • Dear Occasional,

    Great story - appreciate your epic adventure.
    Working with 100% polyester limits your options a bit, but not terribly. What it does do is create a couple of hoops for you to jump through. You could achieve a single color sort of low water immersion look with the iDye Poly (check these images for examples:
    You'd need a pot large enough to stuff your bedspread into along with enough water to cover it. Then bring it all to a boil (without scorching the fabric as you would be working with a reduced amount of water) and allow the fabric and dye bath to maintain temperature for 45+ minutes.
    Use the basic instructions here: Poly Instructions.pdf. That's one way to go.
    Another option is using a pigment rather than a dye. A good choice would be our Dye-Na-Flow. This is a very light bodied, transparent, light handed paint. The colors are beautiful and will allow you to indulge your most Pollackish impulses. The most awesome thing about Dye-Na-Flow is that you get to party down with the paints and then simply let the paints dry and then iron the fabric to set the paints. In fact, it can be even easier than that if you use the Air Fix product. Check out the Dye-Na-Flow here:
    If you have any more questions please don't hesitate...
    and hope this all helps some.

  • Does Dye-Na-Flow affect the texture of the fabric, or does it get absorbed in so that it stays soft?

    (Wish I could take your fist advice, but solid color is one of the things I'm trying most to avoid).
  • That's the nice thing about the Dye-Na-Flow - it has a VERY soft hand. It absorbs into the fabric and because of the way it is formulated leaves behind little to no feel. It is often used by silk artists because they can count on it not changing the feel of the silk.

  • Huh. I'll definitely have to look into that as an option.
  • Wait- when you say "light bodied, transparent, light handed", do you main light colored? Because that's the other thing I was trying to avoid- too much light color.
  • No, no - the colors are very vibrant - rich and yummy and just like a dye they are transparent, but you will end up with brilliant color.
  • Thanks, sounds awesome!

    Just one more question. Do you know what an "exciter pack" is? Because I'm looking up where to buy some and how much it costs, and Amazon is selling a bunch of exciter packs.
  • An exciter pack are 1/2 ounce bottles of 9 different colors. It is a good way to sample colors, but 1/2 ounce of 9 colors isn't likely to meet your needs. I'd recommend taking a look at the color chart here: and choose the colors you would like. Depending on the number of colors you choose and the amount of area you plan to cover you'll probably want to purchase at least 2.5 ounces of each color. It does go a long way, but if you are shooting for full coverage of a full sized bedspread you will probably need some where around 8 to 16 ounces.

    hope this helps
  • It helps.

    Though I'm having a hard time finding places that packs of sell larger-sized paint. The Jaquard website says its 8-color pack is out of stock. I can't even find the 10-color.

    EDIT: Okay, Amazon was being tricky about its searches. I finally found the darned thing from someone who actually has in in stock. Ten colors, 2.5 ounces, should be enough.
  • I ironed the blanket and burnt a hole in it! What am I supposed to do? I've never used an iron before, I thought you just turned it on and moved it back and forth. The back of the paint bottles just says to use appropriate heat, which is absolutely no help at all.

    Is there a way to fix small burn holes in polyester?
  • oh my...can't really help you with that one..
  • So what did you mean by iron it?
  • Simply that. I am sorry that it didn't occur to me that you might not have experience with ironing polyester. If that had occurred I would have suggested setting the heat at the polyester setting and using a thin piece of cotton between the iron and the bedspread.
    The only thing that occurs to me - in terms of a fix would be to create some cute little patches and sew them on - I really don't know of anyway to fix holes in fabric beyond that.
  • Is nylon setting close enough to polyester setting? Because my iron doesn't have a polyester setting.
  • Nylon is close enough.
  • One last question- is it the heat or the pressure that sets in the paint? Someone who knows more about fabric than I do said I should just throw the blanket in the dryer. That would certainly be more convenient, with minimal chance for me to do something stupid.
  • It is the heat that sets the paints.
    Running the blanket through a drying cycle will certainly assist and may even be sufficient heat to set the paints, I've had correspondence with folks that use that method and report good results. Because your blanket is polyester you probably want to avoid the hotter dryer temps.
    While I think you are safe using this method I would still recommend a gentle cycle with cool water for future washes.
    The reason we recommend the ironing method is because we know that works every time
  • Okay, now how do I know if it set or not? And do I have to wash the blanket before I use it? From the texture there's a lot of extra pigment stuck to it (I may have gone a bit overboard with the coloring), and I don't know if that's supposed to come off when I wet it or not.
  • Well, at this point with your enthusiastic ironing adventure and presuming you've run it through the dryer at the appropriate temperature for the fabric for at least 30 minutes I think it is safe to give your blanket a wash.
    Generally speaking the Dye-Na-Flow will soften somewhat when it is washed the first time, however, any pigment on the blanket, if fixed properly, will not come off.