Tie dyed bedsheets: Fixing a botched-up dye job

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tie dyed bedsheetsWell, we have had an eventful few weeks. First we had to take my little boy to the ER twice, first because of a bad fall right on his face on asphalt strewn with gravel (much of which got lodged up under his skin. I will spare you the story of my picking pieces out with my tweezers. Ick!), and second because of a stitch removal gone bad, which led to the wound being opened right up again. Then during his recovery he also got the chicken pox. And then my mother and her husband arrived from the United States to visit us. (That part of the eventful is considerably nicer!) Anyway, my point is, I have been busier than usual for these and other reasons. So today I have a very simple project for you that doesn’t require much in terms of explanations.

stained bedsheetsWe have a bunch of boring white bedsheets. And sometimes they get stained while hanging out on the line. I think it’s the wooden clothespins, but I’d hate to switch to plastic so I just keep using them anyway. So this bottom sheet had these yucky yellow-ish/brown-ish stains on it and I decided to just dye them in the washing machine. (Don’t pay any attention to the stained towel in the picture. I decided at the last minute not to dye it because I thought there was already too much fabric for the amount of dye as it was.) Have you ever machine-dyed? You know that part about getting the fabric wet beforehand? Well, I discovered why. If it’s all more or less uniformly damp, the dye will soak in evenly. If the dye touches dry fabric, it will soak in like crazy in that spot, making that part much darker and leaving the others less colored. I thought I’d gotten the sheets nice and damp, but I guess that the bottom sheet had some dry parts still, because my dye job came out pretty bad-looking.

pre tie dye bedsheets


pre tie dye bedsheets

Here you can see where more dye got soaked up by the fabric.

pre tie dye bedsheets

There were also white spots that looked like dried on drool or boogers. Yuck. This was not the effect I had been going for at all.

bedsheets folded for tie dying

So I got myself another package of the same color of dye, was very careful to get all of the fabric damp, folded up the sheets accordion-style to tie-dye them, stretched numerous rubber bands around them and popped everything into the washing machine.

tie dyed bedsheets

This time it went considerably better. The original bad dye job is not totally covered up, but is much more camouflaged. I like the way the non-dyed parts are a lighter shade of the dye color as opposed to the original white. Unfortunately the elastics on the fitted sheet (which had been harder to fold up because of the elastic corners) came off partway through the washing cycle, so it didn’t come out with a very defined design.

tie dyed bedsheets

But both the top sheet…

tie dyed bedsheets

…and the pillowcase came out great.

tie dyed bedsheets

There are even little faces hidden in the tie dye job, which of course my daughter loves.

tie dyed bedsheet

Well, actually, she loves everything about these sheets! And I’m thrilled that I managed to fix my fix! This was only my second go at tie dying (my first was my pool bathrobe) and I’m far from being an expert, but the nice thing about it is that it still looks cool even if it’s not perfect!

12 thoughts on “Tie dyed bedsheets: Fixing a botched-up dye job”

    • Nope, the dye gets completely washed out, also because it’s advisable to run the dyed fabrics through a regular wash after the dye wash just to get any extra out of the fabric. (I think all brands of dye say to do this in their instructions.) This way the washing machine also gets cleaned out completely. You can also add some extra things to get washed in the second cycle so as to make better use of the water/electricity/detergent.


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