Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Technique Tuesday at Shelly's Images

Hi again! I'm back with another exciting post! This time I'm here to share another super functional tutorial!

Ever working on a card or project and realize at the last minute -you don't have the right color ribbon, trim, or embellishment for it? Yeah...well, I definitely have had this problem! However, being the frugal (aka: perpetually BROKE) sort, I have found a way to ALWAYS have just the right color ribbons and flowers on hand - whenever I need them! I buy mostly white or ecru ribbons and embellies & DYE 'em to match! Curious? Well, here is how I do it!

Materials List:
Mixing containers - I used recycled pudding cups.
Ribbon/Lace/Twine/ Fibres, etc.
Paper/Silk/Felt Flowers or shapes.
Reinkers -  ie: water based, alcohol-based (See the list at the end for how to prep each type!) 
Water and/or Vodka (depending on ink type)
Optional - spray starch, oil, Non-Alcohol baby wipes, curling iron, protective sheet for work area, tweezers, drying rack.

Step 1: Gather the materials you want to dye. Felt shapes, ribbon/twine/lace of any sort, paper/silk flowers. Anything that is absorbant will do!
Tip: Ribbon and lace are often starched, so you might want to rinse it with clean water and hang it to dry so it will properly absorb color. If it feels stiff...it's probably starched!

Step 2: Gather your Dyeing tools and materials. Be sure to check out the info below as different inks require different additives! I used Stampin' Up REinkers, but there are a wide variety of inkers available - just find out wheather they are water or alcohol based inks and you should be all set!

Step 3: Place a few drops of ink in your dyeing container.

Add a little bit of water, and gently swirl container to mix.

Add your material.
Tip: You can always add more later...but you can NEVER take it away...so use your supplies sparingly! You don't wanna waste ink but you also don't want a full spool of ugly ribbon!

Step 4: Gently squeeze out the excess dye. I do this with my hands, and then use a baby wipe to remove more of the color before hanging it to dry. The longer your material is left soaking, the richer and deeper the color will be. Wear gloves if you are going anywhere in the next few days...the dye's stain skin pretty badly! 

Tip: My 'drying rack' is a part of an old shoe rack! The legs got lost during one of our moves, but it still serves a great and useful purpose! You should be able to find one at goodwill if you want one.

Step 5: Once my ribbon and embellies are completely dry, I can use them! To speed up drying time you can also spray them with starch and hit them with some air from a HOT hairdryer. A fun & frugal way to make functional embellies for your projects doncha think?!

Copic Various Reinkers, Rangers' Adirondack (Tim Holtz) Alcohol Inks, and many others are Alcohol Based. I disperse the ink color by dipping the item in Vodka before adding them to the dye mixed with 1/2 water and 1/2 vodka. Vodka carries no scent and evaporates quickly. (So your materials will dry quickly!) They are usually very stiff too, and will not require any starch. Using a steamy curling iron will help straighten your dyed ribbon and lace. Just move SLOWLY as they are not as stable after dyeing. If you notice they are giving off color after drying, blast them with hot air from your hair dryer to set the color!


  1. Thanks Shellie, I am also frugal and need help to entertain ideas to help me get the right material at the time and helps to save on gas. :)

  2. So glad that you enjoyed our tutorial today Josephine. Scrappy always teaches me something that I haven't ever tried before.

    Great work Scrappy. This is an incredible tutorial and I know that I will be using this idea.

  3. This is great Scrappy! All new to me!

  4. Loved the tutorial great tips:) Sandra H