Tulle, a stiff, lightweight netting fabric often used for the structural design of a garment, is not always available in every color. Typically relegated to a volume-increasing or accent role, tulle appears in wedding dress accessories such as petticoats, veils and underskirts; stage or costume pieces; ballet uniforms; prom dresses; and even ultra-feminine streetwear styles. Pairing an unsuitable or almost-matching tulle with a garment can ruin the entire look of an outfit, and a custom dye job may be necessary. Transform nylon tulle with all-purpose dye, and polyester tulle with the more dangerous disperse dye.
Dyeing Nylon Tulle
Boil 3 gallons of water. In the meantime, rinse the nylon tulle in cold water to dampen it.
Put on a pair of rubber gloves and add the boiling water to a large bucket.
Add one packet or half a bottle of all-purpose dye to the bucket. Stir the mixture with a wooden utensil.
Submerge the tulle in the bucket. Pour 3/4 cup of vinegar into the bucket. Avoid hitting the fabric directly, because this can cause mottling. Stir the bucket mixture periodically for 5 to 30 minutes. The longer the setting time, the darker the final color.
Remove the tulle from the bucket and dump the dye bath down the drain. Fill the bucket with warm water and rinse the tulle. Repeat the rinse with clean water.
Wash the tulle on two cold-water cycles with detergent to remove all excess dye. Hang the tulle to dry.
Rinse the tulle in cold water to dampen it. Put on rubber gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, safety goggles and a respirator mask to protect yourself from the toxic dye.
Mix 4 tablespoons of disperse dye with 1 cup of water. Stretch a pair of nylon stockings over a container and strain the mixture to prevent clumping.
Boil 3 gallons of water in a large stainless steel cook pot.
Add 2 tablespoons of dye carrier to 1 cup of boiling water. Pour the mixture into the pot.
Pour the dye mixture into the pot. Add the tulle, and then stir for 2 minutes.
Pour 2 cups of white vinegar into the pot. Stir the mixture periodically for up to an hour. The longer the dye bath, the darker the color.
Rinse the tulle in a clean pot of boiling water to rinse out the dye carrier chemicals. Pour the rest of the dye down a drain.
Wash the tulle in two hot-water cycles with detergent. Hang the tulle to dry.
How to Dye Tulle
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- Teach Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing; Barbara Parry
- Rit Dye: Sink or Bucket
- Select plain white tulle to dye. Tulle with any type of finish, such as beading or decorative stitching, will dye unevenly.
- Breathing in disperse dye powder can have harmful effects. Always wear a respirator mask when using this dye.
A writer with a Bachelor of Science in English and secondary education, but also an interest in all things beautiful, Melissa J. Bell has handed out beauty and fashion advice since she could talk -- and for the last six years, write for online publications like Daily Glow and SheBudgets.