St. Patrick’s Day is next Monday (March 17th)! The day was typically observed by those of Irish descent and the Catholic Church to commemorate the start of Christianity in Ireland. Now St. Patrick’s Day seems like an excuse to wear green and pinch your forgetful friends. Regardless of your reasons for celebrating, holidays provide a great opportunity to try something new. This year, try dying basic white clothes from Goodwill green! You’ll have as much fun wearing your new, green clothing as you will pinching those unfortunate people who forgot.
Below are steps to dye with spinach, Kool Aid© and packaged dyes.
You will need:
-A variety of white clothing from Goodwill (100% cotton, silk, wool, or linen—synthetic fibers require other methods for dying)
-PH neutral soap
-Large cook pot from Goodwill
- Alum (8 tsp per LB of fabric,
- About 3 frozen packets
- Cheesecloth or stockings
- Dye packet
- Rubber bands (for
- White vinegar
- Unsweetened Kool Aid©
- Rubber bands (for tying
Before beginning you will want to wash all of your Goodwill clothing with PH neutral laundry detergent. After washing follow the instructions for the type of dyeing you wish to try.
Spinach dye will take the most time but will yield subtle, more natural shades of green. In order for the dye to soak into the fabric you need to prep the fabric by filling a pot of water (enough to cover your clothing) and adding the appropriate amount of Alum. Stir and bring to a boil. Let simmer for an hour (or let sit overnight). This will make the fabric accept more of the dye.
Next fill stockings or cheesecloth with spinach and add this to a new pot of water then add your clothing. Boil and let simmer until desired color is reached (about 1 hour, or let sit overnight). Once you like the color, let the clothing dry and wash it with gentle laundry soap.
Follow the instructions on the packet for best results, but typically you will use 1 gallon of hot water and ¼ cup of salt. Mix this together and add the contents of the dye packet. MAKE SURE TO USE GLOVES! And be sure to read the label, some dyes are much more toxic than others and not safe for children. Before adding your clothing, consider folding or tying your clothing into interesting designs. (Watch my video, or go online for tie-dye or shibori techniques to see more ideas!) Once prepared, add your clothing to the dye. Let sit at least 20 minutes or until the desired color is reached. Rinse under cold water until the color stops running and dry.
This uses a similar process to other packaged dyes. Use about a gallon of hot water (or enough to cover your clothing). Begin by mixing the dye with about a cup of hot water. Stir until completely dissolved. Then add this to the rest of your water. Add about 1 cup of white vinegar per dye packet to this mixture. Add the clothing and put the pot on the burner to simmer for about 45 minutes, covered, or until the desired colored is reached (the fabric will be a lighter color once it dries, so let your fabric dye a little longer than you think!). Then let the mixture cool to room temp, dump out the extra liquid in the sink and rinse your clothing with cold water until the color stops running. Then let dry. For more longevity wash your clothing in cool water with a mild detergent. Have fun making up new designs and enjoy wearing green clothing (from Goodwill) that will be more interesting than what everyone else is wearing. Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Goodwill!)