Lace is very easy to color as long as it is made of natural fibers, but lace absorbs dye quickly, so you need to apply the dye with care. You can color the whole lace or you can use dye to color the lace details separately.
Method 1 of 3: Completely Coloring the Lace
Step 1. Prepare the dye
Slowly bring enough water to a boil in a saucepan and transfer the hot water to a large bucket. Add powdered or liquid coloring and stir until evenly dissolved.
- The amount of dye needed depends on how much lace you want to dye. If you have 450 grams of lace, you'll need a packet of powdered dye or half a bottle of liquid dye, as well as 12 liters of hot water.
- If using powdered dye, dissolve it in 500 ml of hot water first before placing it in a large bucket of water.
- The ideal water temperature for dye baths is 60 degrees Celsius.
- Make sure you add the dye to the water before adding the lace. If you insert the lace first, stains may appear on the lace.
Step 2. Insert the lace into the dye
Place the lace in a bucket of diluted dye. Make sure the lace is completely submerged.
- You will need to use a wooden or plastic spoon to help soak the lace. You can also use your hands as long as you are wearing rubber gloves.
- Wearing rubber gloves, a protective blouse or apron, and clothing that is okay if it gets dirty when handling dye is highly recommended.
Step 3. Add salt or vinegar
After the first 5 minutes, add 250 ml of salt to the dye bath or 250 ml of white vinegar. This will help strengthen the color.
Use salt if the lace contains cotton, rayon, hemp, or linen. Use vinegar if the lace contains nylon, silk, or wool
Step 4. Leave it for 30 minutes
To achieve the strongest, richest color possible, dye the lace for 30 minutes, stirring gently and slowly throughout this process.
- If you want a more subtle effect, let the lace sit for 8-10 minutes. Lace absorbs dye quickly and doesn't need to be left in the dye bath for very long.
- Stirring the lace is highly recommended as it will help to color the fabric evenly.
Step 5. Rinse
Remove the dyed lace from the dye bath and rinse under warm water for a few minutes. After that, rinse under cold running water until the water is clear.
Warm water rinses off the surface dye better, but cold water is recommended after the surface dye has worn off to prevent the color from fading
Step 6. Wash and dry the lace
Wash lace by hand or machine wash on a slow wash cycle. Use mild soap and warm water for the cleaning phase of this cycle, but use cold water for the rinse cycle. Dry the lace by hanging it.
Note that the color of the lace will be slightly lighter when dry
Method 2 of 3: Painting Lace with Dye
Step 1. Prepare the work area
For this method, you will need to spread the lace out on a flat surface and "paint" the lace with dye by hand. As a result, this work area needs to be protected.
- Spread a plastic bag, tablecloth, or protective cloth/plastic over the work area.
- You should also fill the spray bottle with water. This water will be useful when repainting and you can also use it to keep the lace from drying out while working on other parts.
Step 2. Prepare the dye
Drop a drop or two of each dye into a separate compartment of a plastic paint palette, separate palette, or similar container. Dissolve each color with 10 drops of warm water.
- The color of the dye is very thick, so you need to dilute it with water. Do not paint lace directly with undiluted dye.
- If you want a stronger color, you can add a drop or two of dye. You can make pastel colors by adding another 5-10 drops of water.
Step 3. Consider soaking the lace
Soaking the lace will help the material absorb, spread, and mix colors. If you want a lighter color, you'll need to keep the lace dry.
- If you decide to moisten the lace, soak it in a basin of warm water first. Roll up the lace in a towel and squeeze out any excess water until the lace is just damp.
- Alternatively, you can also spray the lace with water from a spray bottle to moisten it instead of soaking it first.
Step 4. Lightly coat the paint brush with the dye
Dip the tip of a fine paint brush into the first dye color. Paint the desired section of lace lightly with the dye, using a very gentle touch.
- Use the tip of the brush to paint in the fine details. If you need to cover more lace material, you can use the entire brush head.
- Rinse and dry the brush completely before applying the new dye.
- If you are working with wet lace, regularly spray the lace with water to keep it moist.
Step 5. Apply multiple layers of color as required
Use a gentle touch when applying the dye. After the initial application, return to the same area again to coat it with a layer of dye, repeating until you reach the desired color.
- Don't moisten the lace again when adding layers of dye.
- Lace absorbs dye very quickly, so if you are impatient and use too much dye at once, the color of the lace will be too dark.
- If the lace is too dark in color, you can absorb the excess dye with a tissue. However, this method works better if you use wet lace instead of dry lace.
Step 6. Dry the lace
You can air dry the lace, but this will stain the lace. You will have more success if you use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process.
By speeding up the drying process, you reduce the spread of dye color that can appear when the liquid components of the dye evaporate
Step 7. Adhere the color using an iron
Flip the lace so that the inside is facing up. Iron on the setting for woolen fabric with a regular iron for about two minutes. The color will stick well after ironing.
Note that applying color with an iron also helps soften the lace
Method 3 of 3: Graded Coloring in Small Groups
Step 1. Prepare the dye groups in small sizes
Combine 1 tablespoon of liquid fabric dye, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 125 ml of hot water in a single-use glass or plastic cup. Stir until evenly dissolved.
- Dyes are quite strong, so using small amounts will do the trick. Do not dip the lace directly into the dye without dissolving it first.
- Salt isn't really an essential ingredient, but adding salt to the mix can help make the final color brighter. It can also help the color to stick better.
- The ideal water temperature is around 60 degrees Celsius. You can heat the water in the microwave or on the stove if the water from the tap is not too hot.
- If the piece of lace you want to dye is too large to fit in a small cup, you can use a larger container and increase the amount of dye, salt, and water in relative proportions.
Step 2. Soak the lace
Soak the lace in hot water and gently wring it out with your hands. The lace should be damp when it is dyed.
Damp lace will absorb the dye better. This is important if you want to create a graded dye effect because the dye colors need to mix together in a degree. Otherwise. if the lace is dry, you will not be able to achieve this multi-colored effect
Step 3. Insert the lower third of the lace into the dye
Dip the bottom third of the lace into the dye bath and let it sit for 5 minutes. This will be the darkest part of the graded color pattern.
- Stir the lace constantly by moving it back and forth from side to side. However, do not move it up and down.
- Stirring the lace while it is dyed will result in a more even color.
Step 4. Insert the other third of the lace
Place the other third of the lace into the dye bath while the first third remains submerged. Leave it for 3 minutes.
Continue to stir the lace in the same way to produce an even color
Step 5. Briefly soak the end of the lace
Dip the remaining lace into the dye bath so that it is completely submerged. Leave it for 1 minute.
Continue to stir the lace during this last section. If you're using fingers, wear thick rubber gloves or plastic gloves to prevent the dye from staining the skin. Or you can use a coffee stirrer or a disposable plastic spoon
Step 6. Rinse off the dye quickly
Remove the lace from the dye bath and rinse under very warm running water until the water is clear. Check the effect. If the graded effect isn't quite as strong as you'd like, continue with the remaining steps.
However, if you like the effect it has, you can skip the second painting phase and dry the lace
Step 7. Put the lace back into the color bath
Dip the bottom third to one half of the lace back into the dye for 1 minute. Drain the dye when it's finished soaking.
To drain the dye, clip the lace to the rim of an empty disposable plastic cup. Let drain for 10 minutes in a vertical position
Step 8. Rinse and dry the lace
Rinse the lace in lukewarm water until the water is clear. Let the lace air dry..
You can dry the lace faster with a hairdryer, if you prefer
- Make sure the lace is clean and smudge-free before dyeing.
- Use lace made from natural materials. Synthetic textiles don't dye very well, so synthetic lace may not be amenable to dyes.
- Consider trying dye and lace before dyeing the whole thing. This will give you a good idea of how the final color will look. Try lace by preparing a small amount of dye in a small glass dish. Soak a little lace in the dye for 8-30 minutes, checking it regularly to see how it looks.