Nylon is a synthetic material that can be dyed, so dyeing a nylon jacket is actually quite easy. Once you've prepared the necessary equipment, all you need to do is prepare a dye bath and soak the jacket in it until it changes color. While it's fairly easy, proper preparation, and a few preliminary steps can help you make this coloring process easier.
Part 1 of 3: Setting Up Equipment
Step 1. Check the material of the jacket
The label on the jacket should state the material of the jacket and the percentage. Jackets made of 100% nylon should be fairly easy to color, but if they are made from a mixture of other synthetic materials (such as polyester or acetate), the color of the jacket may be difficult to last.
- Even if the jacket is made of a nylon blend, a jacket made of 60% nylon is generally still able to absorb the dye. Nylon blends can still be dyed as long as the other components of the material also absorb the dye, such as cotton, linen, silk, wool, hemp, and rayon.
- There is a nylon material that is given a water or stain protective layer. This coating can make it harder for the material to absorb the dye. So check clothing labels for this information as well.
Step 2. Consider the original color of the jacket
Even if your jacket is made of a material that's easy to color, the original color greatly affects the choice of colors that can be used. You should be able to dye the jacket white or light gray easily. But other than that, you might have a hard time coloring it, especially if it's dark or intense.
- A white or bone white jacket is the easiest option to color, but you may also be able to dye the jacket a light pastel color, such as light blue, soft pink, or light yellow. Just be aware that the original color of the jacket will affect the final color.
- If you're trying to dye a jacket that's already colored, be sure to use a light or dark dye to disguise the original color.
Step 3. Choose the right dye
Most common chemical dyes can be used to dye nylon. However, you should make sure to choose the right dye before buying it. Most dyes include information on the suitability of the ingredients on the packaging. If this information is not available on the packaging of the dye, you can check it on the manufacturer's website.
- Standard Rit dyes can be used on both synthetic and natural fiber materials. However, some of these dye brands provide specific formulations for each type of material.
- Always read the user manual to make sure the dye is compatible with your jacket material. If the instructions for using the dye differ from those described here, follow the instructions for use on the packaging.
- Although not all, many fabric dyes are available in powder form which must be mixed with water before use.
Step 4. Protect the place you are going to use
The coloring process is very messy and may leave stains on the table surface. So protect the entire area you're going to use by covering an old newspaper, plastic sheet, or other wide cloth that won't absorb liquid easily when it's wet.
- Have clean tissues, household cleaners, and clean water around you. So if the dye is splashed where it shouldn't, you can clean it right away before it leaves the stain.
- Also be sure to protect your clothing and skin by wearing rubber gloves, an apron or protective clothing, and protective eyewear. Even if you've put on all this protection, it's a good idea to stick to your old clothes, so you don't have to worry about getting stained.
Step 5. Remove the jacket accessory
Anything that can be easily removed from the jacket and you don't want to dye should be removed from the previous jacket. For example, if there is a zippered detachable part of a jacket that you don't want to color, remove that part. This also applies to headgear and removable zipper hangers, etc.
- This will help you protect any hidden parts of the jacket from the dye, or parts that you want to keep in their original color.
- If any part of the detachable jacket is black, remove that part whether you want to color it or not. The result is that the coloring will not appear on black nylon.
- Check the contents of the jacket pocket and remove any items that may still be inside. Don't let cough drops or melted lip balm line the inside of your jacket pocket!
Step 6. Soak the jacket
Immediately before you color it, soak the entire jacket in warm water. This step is recommended because wet fibers absorb color more evenly and more deeply, giving a professional-looking result.
- Use a large bucket to soak the jacket in this step.
- Smooth out any creases in the jacket material before removing it from the water. That way, the dye can coat the entire surface of the jacket evenly when dyed.
Part 2 of 3: Coloring Jackets
Step 1. Heat a large pot of water
Pour enough water into a large stainless steel pot to cover the jacket. Place on the stove, over medium heat, and bring to a gentle simmer.
- The jacket must still be able to move in the water. Otherwise, the dye absorbed by the nylon may not be evenly distributed.
- You'll need about 10 liters of water for each pack of dye you're going to use (pay attention to the dye usage guide). Reducing the water will create a bolder color, while adding water will dilute the resulting color.
- Ideally, use a pot large enough to fill only three-quarters of the way after the water is completely filled.
Step 2. Dissolve the dye separately
Fill 2 cups of hot water (or the amount recommended in the dye pack) into separate containers. Stir one packet of coloring powder until completely dissolved in water. You'll also need to stir the liquid dye until it blends with the water.
You shouldn't put powder or liquid dye directly into the jacket unless you want to create an "artistic" color look
Step 3. Add the dye
Pour the pre-diluted dye into a pot of boiling water. Stir the concentrated dye in the water for a few moments until it is evenly mixed. This mixture will produce a "dye bath" and is essential for an even color appearance.
- If you don't have a large pot that will fit the jacket along with the water you need, you can pour boiling water into the bucket before mixing the dye solution. Do not use a fiberglass or porcelain tub in this step, as these may stain.
- For best results, the dye bath should be kept moderately warm (about 60 degrees Celsius) throughout the dyeing process, so consider this before choosing to use a pot on the stove or a separate container.
Step 4. Add vinegar to the dye bath
Add 1 cup white distilled vinegar for every 10 liters of dye bath. The vinegar will make the dye stick to the nylon fibers of the jacket and give it a more intense color.
Even if you don't have vinegar, you can still color your jacket, but the color may not be as intense as you'd like it to be
Step 5. Soak the jacket in the dye bath
Gently dip the jacket into the boiling dye bath. Press the jacket until it is completely submerged in the dye. Let the jacket "boil" for an hour in the dye bath, stirring constantly.
- Don't just put the jacket on and assume it will submerge on its own. If any air is trapped under it, the jacket will float and the color will not be uniform.
- Use a large spoon or disposable chopsticks to press the jacket into the dye bath. That way, you will not be exposed to hot water as well as protected from stains.
- Once wetted, the entire jacket should remain submerged under the surface of the dye. Continue to stir the jacket in the dye to make sure the entire surface is evenly coated with the dye.
- The color of your jacket will turn lighter (or darker) if you leave it in the dye bath longer.
- Please note that the color of the jacket always appears darker after wetting it than after it has been dyed.
Step 6. Remove the jacket from the dye bath
Turn off the heat, then use two spoons or gloved hands to lift the jacket from the dye bath and transfer it to the stainless steel sink. Be sure to keep an old towel or plastic sheet under your jacket when you remove it from the pot to prevent the liquid from dripping onto the floor or countertop.
- You may be better off taking a pot to the sink and tucked a jacket into the sink rather than the sink in the kitchen, especially if your sink is made of porcelain or fiberglass.
- If you don't have a sink to work with, take the pan with the jacket out of the house and lift it off the ground before removing the jacket.
Step 7. Rinse with hot water
Rinse the jacket under running hot water, and gradually lower the temperature. This step aims to remove the remaining dye. If you don't have a sink in your house to work with, a garden hose can be used as well. However, you will not be able to use hot water. Rinse the jacket until the water running through it is clear.
- Once the water is clear through the jacket, briefly rinse the jacket with very cold water. This will help absorb the color into the nylon fiber.
- Even if the remaining dye should now be lifted from the jacket, you should still keep the old towel under the jacket while moving it to prevent the dye from dripping on the floor.
Step 8. Clean the place you are using
Carefully dump the dye bath into the sink. You shouldn't pour the entire dye bath at once into the sink or clothes, especially if the sink is made of a dye-absorbing material (such as porcelain). Discard any towels or plastic sheets that were stained during dyeing the jacket (or set them aside for separate cleaning).
- If you don't have a sink, pour the dye bath down the drains in the shed or basement.
- If you have to flush the dye bath in the toilet or tub, you should immediately clean the area with bleach. If the dye dries, the stain will remain permanently.
- If you're dumping the dye bath outside, be sure to water the soil plenty of water to dilute the dye. Do not throw the dye on the cement or gravel surface, as this will also stain them.
Part 3 of 3: Preparing to Wear a Jacket
Step 1. Wash the jacket
Put the newly dyed jacket in the washing machine and wash it separately using laundry soap and cold water as usual. This step aims to remove any remaining dye and prepares the jacket so that it can be worn without staining the clothes it touches.
- Be aware that the washing process in a washing machine other than stainless steel will leave stains on the inside of the machine. If you are concerned about this, hand wash the jacket only.
- After washing it for the first time, you should be able to put the jacket on right away. However, your jacket should be washed 2-3 more times separately as the dye residue can still leach into the water.
- Check the label on the jacket before washing it and follow the manufacturer's instructions listed. Do not put the jacket in the washing machine if it is marked "hand-wash only".
Step 2. Dry the jacket
Put the jacket in the dryer and dry it on a low temperature. Once the jacket is completely dry, you should be able to put it on. To prevent the jacket's color from fading and staining other clothing, dry the jacket separately.
- Dry the jacket to dry and do not use a tumble dryer if the label recommends it.
- If you're drying the jacket, place an old towel underneath to absorb any drips of dye that may remain.
Step 3. Reattach the jacket accessory
If you removed any part of the jacket before dyeing it (such as the hood, zipper hanger, or jacket underlay), you can now put it back on. By this time, the risk of the jacket staining the accessories it comes in contact with should be considerably reduced.
If you're still worried that your jacket's accessories will still stain your jacket's color, wait a few more times to wash the jacket before putting the accessories back on
Step 4. Change the buttons or zipper of the jacket if necessary
If you think the new color of the jacket and the buttons or zippers (which don't change color) don't match, you can replace them with a more suitable color. The method:
- Carefully open the seam or cut the old zipper, then sew a new zipper of the same size.
- Cut the thread that sews the buttons. Prepare a new button that matches the color of your new jacket, and sew the button in the same place as before.
- Try to color carefully, and practice wearing clothes you no longer use. There's a chance that the coloring won't be as good as you thought it would be, even if you're happy with the end result.
- Wear gloves and an apron. That way, your skin and clothes will be protected from stains. It's also a good idea to wear old clothes, so that it doesn't matter if they get stained.