Monday, 6 May 2013

Grad Dyes

One of the things I often get asked about, is how I did the grad dyes on two of my wraps. A grad dye, is where the colour starts strong, and either fades out to nothing, or fades into another colour.

This my the first grad dye, on an Oscha Japanese Knot Ooki Aiko, size 6.

My second grad on a Didymos Natural Hemp India, size 4:

Here is a brief summary of how I did the second grad. If you have any specific questions, I am happy to answer them, as I know a lot of people would like to have a go at a grad dye, but don't always know where to start.

Firstly I washed my wrap, and then started the dye process with the wrap still damp from the wash.

I chose my dye colour and prepared it based on the instructions on the back of the packet (I used Dylon hand dye).

I started with about 10cm of dye and water in the bottom of my huge container.

I then set my wrap up like this:

I needed to do a bit of maths to work out how much water I needed to add. To give a summary, I wanted to cover about 30 cm over an hour, so I needed to raise the water by 0.5cm every 1 minute (roughly). The amount of water you need to add depends on the size of your container (my hubby did the maths for me).

Then every minute I added the correct amount of water to raise the level by 0.5cm. You have to be really careful to pour the water slowly enough not to splash, and make sure the wrap isn't touching the botton or sides of the container. I also needed to keep adding salt to make sure the water:salt ratio remained correct (based on the amount recommended on the back of the packet). As its the salt that makes the dye stay on the wrap, if you don't have enough salt, you'll probably get a weaker colour (based on using Dylon).

After adding water every minute for an hour, I removed my wrap from the dye. At this point, I had to be really careful not to let the dyed side touch the un-dyed side. I rinsed the dyed side in the sink to remove as much excess dye as possible. I then put it in the washing machine on a 60 degree wash.

I then set up ready for the second side straightaway, whilst the wrap was still damp from the washing machine:

I did the same process with the second colour. Again, when I removed it from the dye, I had to be really careful not to let the freshly-dyed side touch the first side before the excess dye has been rinsed out.

I then did another 60 degree wash.

I left it to dry overnight and then steam ironed it.

It really is quite simple. The most complicated part is working out the volume of your container, and how much water you need to add to make the water raise by the correct amount. You can easily vary the total amount of time you leave it in the dye (I did my first grad over 50 minutes, and only raised the dye 20cm up the wrap in that time, so my quantities were different). You also need to make sure you won't be interrupted, as the water needs to be added at regular intervals to make the grad smooth.

A few more pictures of my second grad dye:



  1. What did you use to hang your wrap while dyeing? And where did you hang it?

  2. Hi! I put the wrap on lots of hangers, which I then hang on a folded-up airer. I have a very narrow kitchen, so the airer is then balanced across the kitchen, with one end on each work surface. I'll see if I can find a picture, and I'll add it in a new post on my blog. Hope this helps!

  3. How much dye did you use? And what colors, if it's not a secret? I love that combination.

    1. Hi! I used 3 packets of Dylon hand dye for each side on the pink and blue one, and two packets per side for the purple and green one. I can't remember exactly what mixture of colours I used, but I think the pink and blue one used a mixture of Dylon Flamingo pink and one of the purple Dylon colours, and Dylon Navy Blue. The purple and green one was also a mixture on each side. I think I mixed a purple and blue to get the purple side, and a green and a blue to get the green side. Sorry I can't be more specific! I love to experiment with mixing colours, and I really should write down which ones I used! :)