Additional dye works. Some of these involve a higher concentration of lycra/spandex to cloth ratio, so these required both fabric dye and paint:
Purple leotard and gloves for Aria: [link]
Fleshy skin-tone for Lady Lilith: [link]
Basically everything green for Rydia: [link]
2-tone purple hat and leotard for NiGHTS: [link]11/29/11 Update:
A few images from my gallery of where I dyed spandex so you can see the wide array of possibilities:
Everything blue for Darth Simi: [link]
The green and red in this photo of Saki Omokane: [link]
The skin tone, lavender, and black were dyed for Cloud of Darkness: [link]
Remember to always test a swatch first for desired effect! Detailed Steps:
First how-to guide! Apologies for the crappy lighting. The bathroom was not made for fancy. I had a few people message me after seeing my journal entry, so here we go!
I’d recommend using white spandex as your starting color. I’ve been dyeing for at least 10 years and have gone through a myriad of fabric types. Cotton, spandex, suede, leather, pleather, vinyl. You name it. This particular layout is intended for fabrics that have at least 8% spandex, but no more then 40%.Note:
This method can be used for polyester blends as well since the focus is on keeping the water hot so color fuses to the fibers.
Spandex takes time to dye. Most websites will recommend you use fabric paint, not dye, and paint the spandex. However, it can be difficult to achieve an even color doing this. Because it’s a synthetic fiber, spandex needs heat to fuse the dye to the fabric. The reason that I like this method? Clean up is incredibly easy (damp paper towel and wipe out the cooler. No stains!), more control over your color, easier gradient dyeing, and consistent heat (compared to a sink/bathtub/washer). 1.
I like to add in more water then indicated on the fabric dye packages. I know. Bad me. But they ask that the fabric be able to move freely in the water, and I’m usually dyeing 2-3 yards at a time. You can’t move 3 yards of fabric in 4 cups of water. Thus, the cooler gets filled about halfway. It’s still possible to obtain the shade on the box of dye with more water. It just takes a little bit longer. The water should be hot, but not so hot that you can’t put your hands in (no issues with stained hands so far due to the excess H2O).2.
Adding salt, 5 tablespoons, helps reduce the fabric’s tendency to resist the dye. Science time! The fabric and the dye have negatively charged electrons and, as such, they will repel each other. Salt helps to reduce the electronegativity and allows the dye and fabric to form a chemical bond. Stir salt in the water until dissolved. After the salt, add the dye and stir until dissolved. 3.
Add in your fabric and stir for about 15 minutes. Dylon and Jacquard will dye about a 1/2 pound of fabric per package. If you are dying more then that, your color will turn out lighter then the shade on the package. To compensate, keep the fabric in longer. For this tutorial I used Jacquards China Blue color for about 2.5 yards of fabric. It ended up taking about 3 hours to dye to the color on the package.4.
After the initial 15 minutes of stirring, close the cooler and let it sit for about 45 minutes. Make sure the fabric is completely submerged in the water before you close the cooler. Come back, check on the fabric, and stir it for a few minutes. Close it and do an hourly check/stir. Allow the fabric to get at least a shade darker then your intended outcome. The darker you want your fabric to be, the longer it’ll take. Lighter shades can take about 1-2 hours. Darker shades 3-5 hours.5.
Rinse the fabric with cool water. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear. This can be done in a sink in a few minutes without any stains. You would do this step with almost every type of fabric dyeing to ensure that the color has fused to the fabric. This can cause your fabric to go lighter because you’re removing excess dye. That’s why you should make it a littler darker in the initial dye, or it’ll be too light when you’re rinsing it out.6.
Squeeze out as much of the water as you can before you hang your fabric up to dry. I hung mine on hangers in a well-ventilated bathroom that has a fan. I’d strongly recommend covering your floor with layers and layers of newspaper, or paper towels, or even paper bags from the grocery store. Spandex likes to hold water, so it’ll drip, even after you wring it out. Depending upon how much fabric you have dyed, drying can take a couple of hours.
My result was the color as indicated on the package. While this takes longer then the stove-top method, I find this is a great alternative with little to no worry about staining your home. ^^ Next time I do this, I’ll take better pictures. Thanks for reading! Constructive feedback appreciated.