Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tutorial for Dyeing Prefolds!

We use prefolds and covers almost exclusively on our little ones. For us, it's the easiest and most economical diapering choice. However, when I was building up our stash in preparation for Oliver's arrival, I found myself a little uninspired by the plain white prefolds. Why should fitteds and AIOs have all the fun? So, I set out and dyed a whole rainbow of colors!

I was a little apprehensive at first, as I imagined it would be super-complicated. But it really wasn't too bad! I used Dylon Cold Water Dye, purchased at Joanns. Each packet can dye 8oz of dry fabric, or about 3 infant/medium prefolds. You can do more but the colors will lighter and less vibrant. (Another fun option is to toss a couple white onesies or t-shirts in with diapers. They don't take a lot of dye, yet make a cute ensemble.)

To begin, you'll need to set aside an afternoon for this project, preferably when your little ones are taking a nap. If using new prefolds, be sure to wash them several times to prep them. In addition to the diapers and dye, you'll also need 4 tablespoons of table salt per dye packet. As far as where to dye them, I just used our kitchen sink. Even after multiple dyeing projects, I have yet to have any discoloration. (You'll note that I'm using a plastic dishpan, but that's only because I accidentally tossed away the sink stopper for that side and keep forgetting to get a new one).

Okay, so gather all your materials. I used a whisk and a pair of tongs to stir and handle the diapers. You'll also need a small bowl to mix the dye.

Pour the dye packet into a bowl of approximately 4 cups of hot water. Mix well to dissolve the dye completely.

Fill the sink (or bucket, or whatever you are using) with warm water, dissolving 4 tablespoons of salt into it.

Carefully pour the dye into the sink. Stir well.

Okay, now it's showtime! Slowly add the diapers, making sure they are freely floating around in the water (not folded or bunched up). Stir continously for the first 10 minutes.

After the first 10 minutes, occasionally give the diapers a swirl, pushing what's floating on top back under the water. The packet says to dye for a total of 1 hour, but there's not harm in letting them set longer for really vivid colors.

Drain the water, and rinse the diapers in cold water until the water runs clear.

Run the diapers through a hot wash cycle with usual detergent. I did this twice to ensure all the excess dye was removed. I haven't had any problems with the diapers bleeding, even when they are wet and tossed in the diaper pail with other diapers. However, be sure to take care the first couple times you wash them just in case.

And there you go!

I'm thinking about adding custom dyed and embellished prefolds in my Etsy shop, for those who don't want to fool with the above. But I definitely recommend you give it a try! Although, I must warn you... you might get addicted as I have! :)

If you've dyed diapers and blogged about it, please post a link in comments. I would love to see them!


nova_j said...

i've had a few goes.. (i'll try to do the html thing, but it might not work!) prefolds here, here, and here.. and nappy fabrics- tute, results, and sewn up :) i love dyeing things now, it's so quick & easy to get dramatic results!

rainbowmummy said...

If I pounce on Eggs Dad tonight so I can "make a baby" just so I can do this IWILLFREAKINKILLYOU!

I used nappies with Egg, didn't have a lot of the opinions I have now back then :0(.

I would def put them on the shop, perhaps a set, complete with a rainbow themed toy?!

rainbowmummy said...

Opps I forgot, well done on the tutorial!! Now eat you peas, lol.

Lynanne said...

Great idea! Now all you need is some tie-dye ones. :)

Do you have any difficulty with baby poo stains on these? (especially the newborn kind)

Tricia said...

That is so cool thanks for sharing with us.

Heather said...

LOVE all the colors!! Great idea!

Amber said...

I've never dyed diapers. I mostly use pockets and fitteds, which come in various colours already. But I just had to say those are gorgeous! I may even feel inspired to do a little dyeing project of my own.

Mommy Melee said...

Awesome tutorial!

Johanna said...

Do you need to use the Dylon Cold Fix after dying?

Ashley said...

Very Very helpful! Thank you =)

~ April ~ EnchantedDandelions said...

Answering questions to people whose babies are probably potty-trained now. >.<

Lynanna- best remedy for poo stains, especially the bright yellow newborn kind, is sunlight. Works best when diapers are wet, right out of the wash. Hang them to dry. If they dry before stain is gone, get them damp again.

Joanna- Nope. I mean, you could. Might cut down on the amount of rinsing. But I never have used it, and never had any bleeding after a couple washes/rinses. :)

Anonymous said...

I just dyed 22...that is all but too of my prefolds! Thanks for the inspiration.

cheribums said...

well I just dyed my prefolds and I put salt in the water with the pink but forgot about the salt withthe rest of the colors :( that being said Pink was the only color that stayed on..the other colors lost most of their color in the it really the salts fault??

Anonymous said...

I just dyed a bunch of prefolds and I put salt in the water with the first color I did, pink and forgot to put salt in the rest of the colors...that being said..when I washed them the only color that stuck was pink..I cant believe that salt matters that prefolds all lost the bright color they had before I washed they are ugly and will have to be re dyed

Anonymous said...

I am so excited to try this! Thanks for your tutorial. Just dyed a wool cover with Kool Aid- came out great.

~ April ~ EnchantedDandelions said...

Oh, that stinks Cheribums. I'm not sure of the actual chemical reactions going on, but salt is definitely a part of 'setting' the dyes, permanently dying the fibers. I hope you're able to give it another try!

Woohoo for others trying this! I'd love to see pictures!