8 Fabric Dyeing Techniques

There are so many fabric dyeing techniques that produce gorgeous and diverse results. Today, I’ll show you 8 different fabric dyeing methods with video tutorials.

All of these techniques are demonstrated using Rit Dye, which is an all-purpose dye, but you can also use other types of dye like fiber reactive dyes to get the same results. Just check your dye’s instructions to figure out how much to use, how long to keep it in the dye bath, water temperature, how to fix it, etc.

For the basic method of dyeing fabric a solid color with Rit Dye, try the Immersion Dye Technique tutorial or see our Rit All-Purpose Fabric Dye Product Guide.

You can now dye polyester and other synthetic fabrics with Rit DyeMore. See our Rit DyeMore Synthetic Fiber Dye Product Guide for details and a demo.

Visit the dyeing section of OFS Maker’s Mill to see all our tutorials and guides about dyeing.

1. Shibori Tie-Dye with Rubber Bands Fabric Dyeing Technique

This tutorial shows you how to dye fabric using the Shibori tie-dye technique.  There are many ways to tie the fabric, which can lead to unpredictable and beautiful results.  This video shows 3 ways to tie the fabric with rubber bands to get different patterns.

2. Shibori Tie-Dye with Stitch Resist Fabric Dyeing Technique

For the Shibori stitch resist technique, use thread to stitch any design or pattern you can think of onto the fabric, from simple lines to complex patterns.

3. Shibori Pole Dyeing Technique

This tutorial shows you how to dye fabric using the Shibori pole dyeing method, which creates a striped pattern.  You can experiment by wrapping the pole in different ways and using different colors of dye.

4. Shibori Folding Technique

This DIY tutorial demonstrates how to dye fabric using the Shibori folding technique. You can customize the dyeing pattern by folding the fabric in different ways, using clamps, and using multiple dye colors.

5. Ombre Dip Dye Technique

This tutorial shows you how to dye fabric using the Ombré dip dye technique. Creating a color gradient using this method is easy, and you can use it on many different items like clothes and pillow covers.

6. No-Wax Batik Technique

This tutorial shows you how to dye fabric with the no-wax batik technique, which uses glue instead of wax. You can experiment with different colors of dye and create any design you can think of.

7. Low Water Immersion Fabric Dyeing Technique

This tutorial shows you how to dye fabric using the low water immersion technique. To get a subtle effect, use a larger container and more water. You can vary the results by using multiple colored dyes.

8. Painting Fabric with Dye – Watercolor Technique

This tutorial shows you how to dye fabric by painting the dye by hand onto the fabric. You can create beautiful watercolor effects and combine this method with other fabric dyeing methods for a truly unique look.

UPDATE: We’ve added some more techniques since publishing this list, so be sure to check out Ice Dyeing and Marble Dyeing too!

There are endless variations of these fabric dyeing techniques, and you can also combine them to create complex designs. Fabric dyeing is all about experimenting, so try different things and you’ll come out with some unexpected and unique results!

If you’re wondering what I did with all these dyed fabrics, I made a quilt! See this DIY Herringbone Quilt Tutorial to see how.

Want to try it out? Find fabric dye here.

Questions & Comments

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I want to dye a black bandana to have gold lines, how do I do that?
A shopper on Dec 16, 2018
BEST ANSWER: You would be best off using a gold fabric paint instead of dye.
I have a 100% cotton fabric batik print that is too bright to coordinate with a fabric I want to combine with it. The batik is a red-orange print that is too bright. Could I use a Rit dye to tame and darken the batik print? What color should I use? The coordinating fabric is a print as well with a deep red-orange background and winter berries of the actual orange in my batik, but the batik is just too loud.
A shopper on Oct 7, 2019
BEST ANSWER: You could, but all parts of the fabric will be dyed. So the batik pattern might be compromised. If you are dying it a different color than what is already there the pattern would still be visible but the white would be dyed and the other color would just mix with the dyed color. I hope that helps.
I bought a dye kit at a yard sale but it wasnt in the original box & didn't come with instructions. It claims it replaces all of your glues, fuses, paints & dies. It's made by "Emson" & all of the bottles have ML2000 printed on them. Some are larger bottles are some type of adhesive in either white or clear. The smaller bottles are dyes & come in various colors. It also came with glitters & sequins. I have no idea how to use it & cant find any info online. Have u heard of it or a similar product where I can get some directions on how to use it to dye and/or paint fabric? Any assistance would be GREATLY appreciated, as I've had this kit for over 8 months without knowing what to do with it! Thank u in advance!
A shopper on Jul 19, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Sorry, we haven't heard of it either!
On the lovely orange stitch resist pattern, is that folded to the size of the template? I wish there was a video, that piece speaks to my soul :)
A shopper on Jun 14, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Sorry it wasn't captured on film! The pattern repeats regularly so you move the larger piece of the template to create the pattern on any size of fabric. The part of the template that shows where to stitch isn't to scale. I hope that answers your question!
Can you dye something silver that is burgundy?
A shopper on Oct 18, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Sorry, dye doesn't cover the existing color so this won't work.
I found a slipcover to us so but that is a very ugly yellow with a floral pattern. Is there way to make it a dark colored solid with dye?
A shopper on Jun 15, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Yes, you can make it darker, but it may be hard to completely cover the pattern. We suggest using Rit Color Remover first to get rid of the color and pattern as much as possible. Here's our tutorial for dyeing fabric a solid color: www.onlinefabricstore.net/makersmill/rit-all-purpose-fabric-dye/
Rit Color Remover Powder
Rit Color Remover Powder
Which patterns can be made by folding the fabrics in dyeing process?
A shopper on Apr 21, 2018
BEST ANSWER: The best way to come up with different patterns is to experiment with different ways to fold the fabric. You can make variations on triangle and rectangle patterns. See this tutorial for more about the folding technique: www.onlinefabricstore.net/makersmill/how-to-dye-fabric-shibori-folding-technique/
I purchased a beautiful lace jumpsuit in poly/spandex. It's white lace, which I don't like. It's for a wedding so I'd like to change the color. The fit is beautiful, the style is flattering. Is there any way to dye this?
A shopper on Apr 1, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Yes, you can dye it using Rit DyeMore Synthetic Fabric Dye. Here's more info: www.onlinefabricstore.net/makersmill/rit-dyemore-synthetic-fiber-dye/
Would 100% cotton fabric be the best fabric to use for rit dye?
A shopper on Mar 13, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Rit All-Purpose Dye works well on fabrics containing 100% natural fibers, like cotton, linen, wool, or silk, and also rayon and nylon. 100% cotton is the most common choice and work great!
Can I dye leather?
A shopper on Feb 22, 2018
BEST ANSWER: There are dyes that will work on leather, but we do not recommend Rit dye for this purpose because it contains salt, which can make leather brittle. Also it's possible the dye could rub off.
can i dye gray fabric yellow?
A shopper on Oct 25, 2017
BEST ANSWER: No, but you could try using Rit Color Remover to remove as much of the gray as possible, then dye it yellow. I'm not sure the color remover will get it white enough to get a clean, bright yellow. (Bleach won't work because it will damage the fibers and it won't dye properly.)