#ealtutorialtuesday with Maeve Hunter : Textile Dying

10:52 AM



Hello Lovelies! 
Today we have Maeve Hunter taking over #EAL and we couldn't be more excited! So without further adieu … here's Maeve! 

Dyeing with natural dyes, using plants mineral and animals has been around since man began wearing and making clothes. Synthetic dyes started in the mid 1800s. Synthetic dyes are easiest for the beginner as you only need fixative and table salt with them to get started.


I find that people are afraid of textiles as an art form. They don’t mind drawing on paper and throwing that away if they make a mistake, but they seem to be afraid of fabric. But what’s even better about dyeing is that you can dye as an art form, as part of interior design by creating your own fabric for curtains blinds cushions, in fact any fabric surface or for upcycling clothes to give your wardrobe a boost at very little cost.

Go ahead have a go! Start with an old tshirt or something and play with the dyes. I also find if you play with art materials first and get a feel for them it’s the best way to understand them and gives you greater confidence and control in the long run. Buy old sheets in a second hand shop and cut them into pieces and experiment. You don’t have to spend a fortune on new fabric or clothes. Most importantly have fun. Remember that the fabric you dye must be 100 per cent natural to work best. If you are using multiple colours work from light to dark.

In Ireland Dylon dyes are the most accessible dyes. They can be bought in chemists, hardware stores and art supply shops. Whatever dye you use, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Use more water if you want a lighter shade. Always leave in the dye as long as you can and remember to rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. Wet fabrics are darker in colour, so if you are trying to match colours in an interior remember to take this into account when you are comparing wet with dry. Cold water dyes are the easiest to control especially when you are starting out or if you are working with children and you can put your fabric in and out of the dye as you so wish. Plastic buckets are the best utensils to use and you can get plastic tongs  for taking your fabric in and out of the dye. They can be bought cheaply in euro or dollar stores. Use rubber gloves and cover your clothes. Dye does dye your hands and clothes if you don’t cover up !!! It will come off your hands eventually..

Using Resists, string, elastic bands and pegs 



Wet your fabric first.




Then tie your fabric with cotton string or elastic bands. Remember to tie as tight as you can, because you are trying to stop the dye going where the string or bands are. In other words the tied fabric is resisting the dye. You can retie the dyed rinsed fabric to create different colours and shades of fabrics. Play play play !!!!



A sample of fabric tied with string



A sample of fabric tied with rubber bands 


But remember:


Another easy resist is pegs. 


Fold your fabric 


and then use nice large plastic pegs and push them right into the fabric. You will create squares and other marks, I love them ! You can choose the distance you want between the pegs to create different designs. The fabric needs to be folded a few times and to be fairly thick for best results.




 But again, experiment, find your own way of dyeing and using resists. Just enjoy and have fun, when you are relaxed you create the best pieces.

About Maeve : 



Maeve Hunter


I am an artist crafter and educator. I have a BDes in Textile Design, a HDipADE in Art and Design Education and a Masters in Visual Arts Education.

I love to create and I love to teach.  Although I was always interested in art I didn’t attend college until I was 36 and continued going for many years and I don’t think I am finished yet! I first became interested in dyeing whilst studying textile design. I used to spend hours in the dye room. I love its spontaneity and the fact you are usually surprised with the results whether good or bad. I usually dye my own fabrics for my textile work. I also use dye for interiors and  for my crafts. I have worked as a dyer on several films and for the theatre. I have given workshops in dyeing with children in Kenya and Namibia. Last year on an artist residency in Namibia, as well as giving workshops to college students and children with special needs, I had an exhibition of my textile work and dyeing was a major part of this.


Thanks Maeve for the lovely tutorial ;) I think it is safe to say there are definitely some textile projects in both of our futures

Emily & Aideen x 

You Might Also Like

0 comments