Sunday, April 24, 2016

Gothic Life Hacks 101: Dye it Black No. 1

Let's face it, on average we goths spend more on clothing than the typical consumer. While many of us utilize the magic of thrift stores and have become pros at finding the plain black basics at department stores, the bigger brands, such as Tripp, Kill Star, and Lip Service, tend to hit us hard in our bank accounts.. But come on..have you seen some of the stuff they offer? You can't find this at your local Walmart!

Due to practicality and expense, many of us tend to hold on to our beloved garments after years and YEARS of wear..even when they start to hit their golden years, and like the best of us, start to fade to grey.

And sadly, not all fading is as gorgeous as this.

Or as cute as this.

Therefore, it's never a bad idea to know the basics of extending the looks and life of your clothing. DIY can be both fun and challenging- you can always give your clothing a revamping with rivets, studs, zippers, and chains, but the most simple update goths from any and all walks of life can give their clothes is the gift of dying.
Click image for the perfect romantic gift for your spooky significant other. ;)
Bottles of dye are relatively inexpensive. I found Rit brand dye on Amazon for less than $3/8 oz bottle with free shipping for Prime Members. Gotta love a bargain!

I've tried this only once before on an old (but awesome) Etsy skirt that was losing its color after 5 years and a Torrid top I purchased in the last year but was never happy with the heather grey color. 

  I loved the sleeves and I loved the mesh detail, but I really didn't care for how light the grey was.

This time around I decided to document my adventures in dying because I'm still relatively new to this and realized that many people out there may not have even known that this is a cheap, effective method to give old clothes a new recharge. I don't know about you, but pitch black clothing always makes me feel like I'm looking my best. 

Initially I spent some time (okay, DAYS) researching on Pinterest and the Rit Dye website and message boards as to how to go about getting started. Dye is no joke and I didn't want to screw it up.
Across the board, all of my sources told me the absolute best option for dying clothing black was the stove top method. I decided to pass on this for a few reasons. 1. I was worried about permanently staining my largest pan. 2. I didn't want splatter in my clean kitchen. 3. I had far too much clothing to put in one pan at once, and didn't want to split it in to smaller batches.

I may revisit this option in the future, however, in another blog post, so stay tuned.

The second method that both Pinterest and the official Rit Website endorsed is the washing machine method. For me this was the best option- there's a large enough drum for the entire load, a lid to confine splatter, clean up is a breeze, the water gets relatively hot (though not as hot as stove top) and best of all, the washer does all the work so I can live my life.

The Washer Method:

1. Gather your materials, which surprising aren't many.

-an old towel
-your dye bottles (per the recommendation, I used the maximum of four)
-a cup of salt
-an old, unloved spoon that's okay if it stains
-gloves (I skipped this step because I like to live dangerously. Also because I forgot.)

2. Get your clothes gathered. I chose a variety- my two garments from last time (I want to see if they can get any darker), a pair of purple cargo pants, a pair of faded pinstripe pants made of jegging material, and of course the significant other's old cotton tees. Wet each garment. I used my washer for this just to keep my project contained to the laundry room.

 In the middle you can see my once light grey top, blackened, but still not quite as pitch as I wanted.

3. Set your washer to the hottest setting and add in your salt slowly. Mix with your unloved spoon. Enjoy the sterile smell of home made salt water.

4. Add your dye. Be sure to pour as close to the water as possible to avoid splatter, and remember to add water to the bottles to get every drop of dye out. Being wasteful is bad, mmmmmkay?

5. After thoroughly mixing around the salt/dye solution, begin adding your wet clothing one piece at a time, using your unloved spoon to submerge each piece. With or without gloves you really don't want to touch the water.

6. Once the water reaches a level where your clothing can have enough room to float and soak, stop the cycle. The recommended sitting time is 30 minutes to one hour. I wanted the clothes to soak up as much of the dye as possible, so I let it sit for an hour while I hit the treadmill.

Okay, like maybe 30 minutes on the treadmill, then I spent the remaining time watching Archer. Sue me.
7. After an hour mix around your clothes with the unloved spoon. If you're nosy like me you'll use the spoon to lift a few pieces and take a look..of course it's hard to tell what sticks before the dye has a chance to escape and the clothes are dry, but it's fun to watch the process. Resume the washer's cycle to further agitate the load and spin out all the dye solution. 

8. Next step is pretty simple, leave the clothes in the washer and run the hot cycle all over again, this time with detergent to get the dye out. (You may notice if you consult the Rit Website, there is instruction to rinse with cooler water after the dye soak- the washer takes care of this for you.)

9. Put the clothes in the dryer with a clean, old (preferably) black towel. While the clothes are drying, clean the washer by running a hot cycle once again, highest water level, with a capful of detergent and two cups of bleach. Be sure to splash some water on the top of the agitator and any other spots the dye may have landed- bleach is the goth's natural enemy, so be careful of splatter from this load, my friends. 

10. Assess your clothes. As you can see, some of mine didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped..which compels me to try it again in the near future, this time with vinegar instead of salt, and maybe even witchy style on the stove top. 

Until next time guys and ghouls,
Stay safe and stay spooky,
Sea, The Gothic Optician, A.B.O.C.

1 comment:

  1. Just an FYI: if you are trying to dye fabrics that are made of polyester or similar artificial polymers, you should use a dye specifically made for them. iDye Poly and RIT DyeMore both work well. If an outfit doesn't take dye, or only partially takes dyel, it's usually because you are using a dye designed for cotton fabrics on an artificial fabric.