Dyeing for Fun

Cassandra Tondro dyeing

Greetings Friends,

It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything with Procion fiber-reactive dyes, the commercial dyes used to give cloth bright colors. I wanted some new hand-dyed shirts, and the best way to get them is to dye them myself!

My recollection is that Procion dyes are messy to work with, but it turns out that they’re way less messy than poured latex paint. The cleanup is a lot easier, too, and that was a happy surprise.

I used the scrunch dye method, where the shirts get scrunched up in a bucket and the dyes are poured over them. When it works well, it gives pretty crystal-like patterns.

Sometimes I use unusual color combinations, like ultraviolet and yellow or electric blue and orange. The colors mix and create interesting tertiary colors.

After 24 hours I took the shirts out of the buckets, rinsed out the dye, and washed them. Here are some of the results:

Cassandra Tondro dyeing

Hmmm . . . more white than I was expecting and some of the colors are too pale. I may have to do some over-dyeing. Stay tuned!

What have you been doing just for yourself lately? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,



  1. Hi Cassandra

    Just love your cotton dying. Go girl.

    Don’t try over doing it, they look good as they are.

    Suggest just dying the top/bottom of a “T-shirt just to see if that works out.

    The only thing I have done similar to this (ie on clothing) was to stitch NASA embroidered patches on a plain black casual jacket I got for Xmas.l…and I have some blue suede boots that I put bright red laces in…..get a lot of comments on those. Have just made a poured plaster of Paris “Joker” bust that I am going to multi colour after sealing it with spray varnish. I’ll put it on my website when it’s finished.

    Hope you got your water leak sorted. I know exactly how you felt. I re-presurried our boiler and it broke a seal on one of the underfloor fittings. Has to cut a hole in the fooor, live without central heating for two days, waiting for the engineer to turn up. All sorted,
    £40 lighter in my wallet but now warm and cosy.

    Keep smiling


    1. Thanks, John! The dyes never turn out as I expect, but like painting, it is fun and interesting.

      The studio is mostly dry now. The carpet and floor seem to be fine, and the wall and ceiling — who knows? I think it’s probably OK. Like you, my wallet is lighter! I haven’t even received the bill from the weekend plumber yet. Holiday weekend. That’s going to be a doozy.

  2. I fined dying is my obsession I do a lot of ice dying for my art quilt animals..there are so many ways to play I could dye every day ..Eldrid

  3. Hi Cassandra!
    Your shirts are wonderful! They look like your paintings…Do you think this method would work with natural dyes? Cheers!

    1. Thanks, Suzanne! The only thing about the natural dyes is that you have to cook them. I suppose you could scrunch a shirt up in a small pot and simmer it with natural dye. Would it scorch, though, if there’s not enough dye for it to swim in?

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