Fabrics overdye upcycled felted wool tutorial (3 of 5)

Published on September 12th, 2011 | by Julie Finn

5

How-to: Overdye Upcycled Felted Wool to Create Custom Colors

 

my felted wool Christmas trees are pink!

Last year for Christmas I made a LOT of felted wool Christmas trees out of upcycled and washing machine felted wool sweaters (check out my tutorial on how to felt wool sweaters if you don’t already know). I was sort of mindlessly cutting and stacking my felted wool Christmas trees while watching a movie, and I didn’t notice, until I’d already completely finished them, that six or seven of the trees had become a little heavy on the pink. Yikes!

I wasn’t happy with my pink Christmas trees, but by that time it was too close to Christmas to bother fretting over them. Instead, I just stuck them in storage and crafted something else for those six cousins and family friends.

The weather has turned here, however, and as I dug through my bins of autumn clothing last week, I happened upon those pink wool Christmas trees. Fortunately, since then I’ve had several months’ worth of playing with acid dyes under my belt, and so within the hour I had brand-new (to me) green-tinted felted wool Christmas trees drying next to the sink. I’m apparently getting my Christmas crafting done early this year!

If you have a wool piece, whether it’s a finished product or an unfelted sweater that you’re ready to upcycle into something new, with a color that doesn’t appeal to you, it’s simple to overdye that wool to create a new color. Here’s how:

prepare an acid dye solution for the felted woolFirst, choose your dye method. If you’re familiar with my tutorial on Kool-aid dyeing and my review of professional acid dyes, then you’re all set–if not, just pick one. They’re not hard!

While I use one best method when I dye play silks, for instance, because I want perfect and consistent results, overdyeing a fabric that’s already been dyed is an artform that you can play with. For instance, I made several concessions from my usual strict dye routine:

  • I mixed up my dye bath as if I was dyeing one pound of fabric, and re-used that same dye bath until it was exhausted (when the color’s gone from the water, you’ll know that your dye is exhausted).
  • I heated the water to boiling to help the dye saturate into the bath, then lowered the temperature to merely warm so that I could manipulate my felted wool trees in the dye bath with my bare hands (yes, they’re green today!).
  • I did not pre-soak my trees. I just need a new tint, not a fully saturated new color, so I didn’t bother with the full prep of the fabric to be dyed.
  • I did not dye my trees for the recommended time period. Instead of soaking them for half an hour, I soaked them for perhaps a minute. Overdyed fabric, especially if it was originally a dark color, can get much darker very quickly, something that I did not want.

Next >>




Keep up with the latest in the world of green crafts by signing up for our free newsletter. CLICK HERE to sign up!

Tags: , , , , , ,


About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.



5 Responses to How-to: Overdye Upcycled Felted Wool to Create Custom Colors

  1. I never saw this before but it looks interesting to try and I think I can add this to my decoration for Christmas. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pattrishy says:

    Thank you for sharing this technique. I’m wondering since the trees were rinsed and not washed, if there would be a problem w/color fastness…would the overdye bleed if they were placed on a tablecloth or other cloth surface? This is definitely a technique I will consider as I am rummaging through old wool sweaters!

    • Pumpkinbear says:

      There would be a problem with color-fastness if the trees got wet. Three solutions:
      1) Whenever possible, overdye your felted wool before you create with it. I only overdyed a finished project because it was a craft emergency!
      2) If it’s a decorative object, like my felted wool trees on a cloth tablecloth, glue something waterproof to the bottom of the object, such as a piece of an old plastic grocery bag.
      3) Hand-wash the object, which will allow you to completely rinse away excess dye as well as keep the finished object sound.

  3. Pingback: Crafting a Green World | Crafty Christmas Projects for Upcycling Old Sweaters | Page: 1 | Crafting a Green World

  4. Pingback: Wool Felt Thread and Felting –wool challenge « easy sewing projects, beginner sewing projects, sewing techniques, tips on sewing,

Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑
  • Advertisement

  • Let’s Connect!

  • Advertisements

  • Back to Basics Ebook

    We are thrilled to have a project in Jen Gale’s guide to mending. Get your copy here!

  • Crunchy Kids!

    Our very own Scott Meeks (aka Crunchy Scott) has a new book of kid-friendly green crafts. Get your copy from Amazon today!

  • Popular Posts


    Do you ever see old glass bottles, maybe at a flea market, maybe scrounged from an old dump site (we have one of those back in our woods, sigh…), and think, “That bottle would be so great… IF it wasn’t covered in 50 years’ worth of grime?” Here’s how to clean old glass bottles so they’ll look like new.

    Do you love toilet paper roll crafts as much as we do? Today we’re sharing 50 projects that you need to see!

    We’ve rounded up 25 incredible DIY crafts and activities that will make you rethink the average disk. Click through each link below and be inspired!

    We’ve put together 75 of the BEST DIY garden projects in a mega round-up. All of the garden creativity you’ll need this spring is right here at your fingertips!

    Do you love vintage sheet music? We’re sharing 40 DIY projects that you can create with your favorite recycled paper!

    Let’s celebrate spring with some spring cleaning ideas you can make from scratch. Here are 50 natural and green cleaning ideas for spring!

  • Search the IM Network

  • The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc., its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.