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Easy Fabric Dyeing

October 18, 2023

Easy Fabric Dyeing


Can you guess what I did this week??  That’s right – I took another Creative Spark Learning course on easy fabric dyeing, and it was FANTASTIC!  Today I wanted to share some of the highlights of Sam Hunter’s course – “Jelly Jar Fabric Dyeing” (that’s jam jar for us not in the US 🙂 .)

Dyeing my own fabric is something I’ve always wanted to try, but it’s always seemed like a bit of a drama – really messy, needs a lot of ‘stuff’, and some kind of chemistry degree to figure out the colours, but honestly, this course has shown me in about an hour and a half just how wrong I was.

Sam promises that dyeing fabric is easy – it doesn’t require any artistic knowledge, and is as easy as ‘baking a box of brownies’.  She demonstrates that it is actually as simple as pouring a certain amount of dye into certain containers and stuffing in fabric.

As she says. “Give it a good shake and watch the magic happen.”

The Creative Spark platform is really user-friendly, and steps you through the course.  In this case, there was a bunch of short videos, with a simple ‘click to continue’ button, and ‘click to download your workbook’.  The workbook is great – it’s got all of Sam’s instructions and tips, as well as the secret recipes for her 24 step colour wheel. You’ll want to print this out and hang onto it for next time…

This course covers how to use just three basic dye colours (red, blue and yellow) to make your own 24 step colour wheel, and also how to then mute the colours for a different set of 24 – including cranberry, plum and olives and rusts.

(The original brights are to the left in the picture below, and the muted range is on the right.)

For fun too, Sam shows just how easy it is to make your own 6 or 8 step graduated colour sequence (and this part is dangerously fun!!), and she demos some easy fabric dyeing techniques on different fabrics too, for when you’re ready to experiment a bit more.

My Turn:

I couldn’t not give this a go, so this week I got my supplies, rolled up my sleeves and jumped in, boots and all!

Sam gave great instructions about where to get the dye supplies, however I couldn’t easily get those brands in Australia, so I spoke with a more local dye supplier here, and used her recommendations for the Procion dye and fabric wash.  The quantities changed a bit, but the result was just as great.

I found nice big glass jars at a dollar shop, and they were only $2 each.

I followed the recipes as they were listed, and I have to confess that my inner science nerd loved that part (!).  It is super easy, but I really liked the logic of it, and I’m already thinking about what I could do to play around with it a bit more next time.

Jars labelled and ready for fabric!

… and fabric in!

I left my fabric for 24 hours in the jars.

Probably the worst part of this easy fabric dyeing process is washing the fabric at the end.  It’s not hard, just a bit tedious.  Having said that though – it was fun opening each jar in turn and seeing how the fabric had coloured.

My only other tip would be to tear your fabric into the sizes you want to dye, rather than cutting.  You get a lot of threads either way, but I found there was less tangled up together in the machine for the fabric I tore into size, than for the fabric I rotary cut.

And Ta Dah – all this from 3 colours!!!

It’s so bright and fabulous, and yes – I just want to keep playing with the colours and patting it all…

I dyed 1/2 yard pieces, and now I have 12 YARDS of yummy fabric to play with!

And as I had some red and blue dye left over, I did Sam’s 6-step colour gradient process too, going from dark to lighter.

This was a learning curve too – Sam’s steps were easy to follow, however it started raining when I had just started doing this outside, so I finished it up really quickly.  Too late, I remembered I hadn’t stirred in the salt properly, and none were poked or mixed around as well as my bright lot, so I have ended up with a kind of wonderful blotchy effect on this batch.  It’s going to be perfect fabric for applique I think.

So now I’m hooked. I LOVED this process – Sam’s course made it super simple to do and understand, and it really is easy fabric dyeing.

As she said: “You’re going to dye one set of this and then dye everything in the house that isn’t moving.”.

Couldn’t agree more.  Ella look out…!!

And the Fun for You Part –  Creative Spark have given me one “Jelly Jar Fabric Dyeing” course by Sam Hunter to Give Away to one lucky reader this week!


To be in the running for access to this class for Free (it’s usually $57.99USD), just leave a comment below letting us know why you’d like to give this easy fabric dyeing a go, and we’ll choose one lucky reader randomly on next Wednesday.

Good luck, and remember, you’ve got to be in it to win it!

Enjoy your week!




49 responses to “Easy Fabric Dyeing”

  1. Marilyn Larkin says:

    I’ve always wanted to try this process, but always scared of the mess I would make. I can see this method is structured, yet fluid simple with small amounts of fabric at a time, which eliminates swags of fabric flapping around the house/garden. I would love to try this process and look forward to having fun with so many possible resulting colours.

  2. Elaine Young says:

    That looks so interesting and exciting. I would love to learn this process.

  3. Ethel says:

    Simple as falling off a log!!!
    I would definately show my sewing group this interesting way to dye cloth. I like the mottled look of batik so this is a close second.

  4. Anne says:

    Dyeing has been a bit of a dream, with trepidation – I’m afraid of the big quantities and producing yuck colours after all the work and costs. This looks small, vibrant and not too complicated. Instead of with fear you have made it look fun and approachable. Thank you for your article.

  5. Carmen N says:

    Wow! I’d try the class just because it looks like so much fun. Your color choices are so beautiful. The fabric that didn’t dye evenly is perfect for appliqué!

  6. Desley Smith says:

    I have been wanting to have a go at dyeing material for my patchwork for more than 10 years, but fearful of doing so.
    You make this sound like it is a lot of fun and not too complicated for my old brain. I really loved the colour range you have and could picture it in a quilt.

  7. Felicity says:

    Wow – i just love colour – how wonderful to be able to create every colour of the rainbow. This is going to be a gamechanger 🙂

  8. Irene Riley says:

    I am never game to try anything new or go out of my comfort game. But having had a terrible couple of months with my husband’s medical issues I think it’s time for something for myself.

  9. Anne Mains says:

    I have oodles of jam jars and would love to use them with this method. It looks so much less messy than others I’ve seen.

  10. Dawn Mason says:

    Oooh my creative ideas are flowing. Just think once you know the ” recipe” the different colour combinations you can do.
    I hope this is accessible in UK too.
    Thank you Jody

  11. Lesley says:

    I would love to do this course as the fabrics are sensational. I tried to find it but couldn’t so would love this freebie. Love the Quilt Magazine

  12. Lesley says:

    Would love this as can,t find it on their site. Love the Quilt Mag too

  13. Cindy Stowe says:

    I’ve dyed using other methods, but this way looks so much easier & more fun!

  14. Cheryl Leabo says:

    I was hooked the first time I tie-dyed a t-shirt back in the 70s. Would love to learn how to do the 24 steps.

  15. Margaret Cavitt says:

    That looks fantastic!
    My mother used to dye thread and it was a complicated process. This looks like something I could do.

  16. Doris Tasker says:

    I would love to try the class. It would be so much fun to watch the colors come alive. Your description of this class makes me think even I could do it. I would love to make a bargello type quilt using fabrics I had dyed.

  17. Jean Kent says:

    I have always wanted to play with dyeing fabric and I think my granddaughter would love to do it as a 4-H project.

  18. Betty says:

    The fabrics you made were so beautiful. I am inspired to give it a try

  19. Darlene says:

    Wow what beautiful colours! I would love to be able to do this- thank you for sharing & offering the chance fot a free course

  20. Barbara Robinson says:

    I recently did my first indigo dye process and now I’m anxious to give this one a try. Love the looks that appear in this process.

  21. Jacquelyn Van Houten says:

    I would love to try dying this way. I’ve tried snow dying but I’d like to dye solid colors to use in my quilts. I already with pdf fabric so I just need the instructions.

  22. Linda Harris says:

    This is on my “things to learn” list.

  23. kit glenz says:

    no joke ella… i’ve seen dyed dogs and they were as beautiful as your mom’s fabric !!!

  24. Bev Thurlow says:

    I have always wanted to learn how to do this but my time is so limited that I haven’t gotten it done yet.

  25. Susan Rizzi says:

    I would love to learn to dye fabric. it would be a good way to get an exact color for a quilt and not have to buy so much fabric. Never too old to learn something new.

  26. Judy Hodges says:

    I tried dyeing fabric once years ago with various plants – onion skins, carrots, beets and coffee and it was fun but no vibrant colors. I am a bright colors great grandma and can never find the shades I want so this looks ideal. I absolutely love how your fabrics turned out – lemons into lemonade!!

  27. Lea Harris says:

    Fabric dyeing is something I’ve thought of trying over the years however have never felt confident that I won’t totally mess it up. It would be wonderful to have the confidence to do it and it looks as if this course is designed with simplicity. Even my 7-year old grandson has tried tie dying and succeeded so I guess, with instruction, I would be able to succeed too. Looks like a fabulous course. Your dyeing looks fantastic.

  28. Vickie Mills says:

    I’ve always wanted to try my hand at dyeing fabric. I love the color gradations!

  29. Mary Ann Hayre says:

    This looks super easy, and a fun thing to do in the winter when you’re stuck in the house.

  30. Chris castles says:

    Fantastic result all the colours are beautiful I would love to try this as I have trouble getting some colours for my big appliqué project keep up the great work.

  31. Lorette Kenyon says:

    Wow – this looks such fun to do. I love all of those colours and I think I would love to do this. Thanks for the inspiration.

  32. Kim says:

    Did my eyes light up when I read this in your newsletter, something I would really like to learn correctly. A few years ago I ventured into Shibori, but getting the chemicals was not easy and quite expensive. I have purchased some Tie Dye kits from K Mart to try also, just need the time to try.

  33. KATIE M PETERSON says:

    Looks like fun, I took a dye course but that was decades ago. Would be fun to do it again.

  34. Sonja Barrie says:

    Wow, you make it sound so easy! I’m just starting to get into art quilts and realize I do need more fabric than those available commercially. Plus hand-dyed commercial fabric is way outside what I can afford. This sounds like just the course I need to help me get started on my new endeavor: art quilts!
    Very interesting and inciteful article, thank you.

  35. Carolyn Clarke says:

    I can’t always get the fabric color I need, this looks like fun and j would have the perfect color waiting for me!

  36. Sharon Diotte says:

    I’ve always wanted to try dyeing fabric but was too intimidated. This looks easy and so much fun! Love your colors.

  37. Sharon D says:

    I’ve always wanted to try dyeing fabric but have been too afraid. This makes it look so easy and I love your colors!

  38. Brenda Stultz says:

    I love the textured fabrics and range of colors. Would love to learn the process.

  39. sandy says:

    I have not done any dyeing in a long time and this sounds like a fun method to get back into it….have wools, cottons and silks ready to experiment with!

  40. Maree McCormack says:

    As a Textiles/Art teacher this would be a fabulous way to get students involved with dying their own fabric, particularly senior students. I love that it crosses both areas of practice. I am always on the look out for ways to engage students that are quick and easy and gets their creative juices flowing.

  41. CAROL-ANN NORMAN says:

    This is something I have always wanted to do but didn’t know where to begin. I have a selection of dyes that were given to me for dying my stash of home spun wool yarn but have been too scared to attempt it.
    This contained (less messy) and structured learning programme for fabric does seem like a perfect introduction and I can already envisage some wonderful quilt projects from these samples.

  42. Diptee Raut says:

    Oh this is beautiful… I have been wanting to do this course but I haven’t been able to afford it. 🙁 So just trying my luck on the free one. 🙂

    Love your colors! ♥️

  43. Mary Fouks says:

    Your fabrics look fantastic!!! I would absolutely love to learn how to make a fabrics that look as great as yours. I have tried several different styles of dying fabric but I have never really been happy with the end result. Your results however are out of this world!!! I would love to learn this technique of dying fabrics and making it look this amazing!!! And you said it’s easy also? Fantastic!!!

    • Jody Admin says:

      Hi Mary! Thanks for your comment. It really is that easy – check out the course from Creative Spark listed in the post – I think it’s well worth the money to be able to consistently create all the colours you need.

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