Colors of the Rainbow: Change the Color of Cross Stitch Fabrics

Various ways to change the color of your cross stitch fabric

Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to, Inc.

So many times we are looking for the perfect color of fabric only to come up short. Instead of screaming defeat, why not dye you own. Dyeing cross stitch fabric is very easy and can be done in your kitchen. You do not even need to buy special dye in some cases. You can use items from your home, or purchase products designed for dyeing fabric. Experiment with different methods for creating unique fabrics for stitching.Below is a small sampling of how to dye your cross stitch fabric. 

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    Acrylic Paint

    Acrylic paint is a great medium for fabric. You can use it directly from the tube, dilute it, or incorporate an additional additive that will allow you to heat set the paint. There are even glow in the dark acrylic paints. Using acrylic paints allow for a quick and easy clean up. There are so many colors to choose from, including metallics that you can have any color of the spectrum. 

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    Bleach (Works on Colored Fabrics)

    Taking a careful approach, bleach may be used to remove color from fabric. You should do spot tests first, because some fabrics have interesting under colors. Make sure that you use this method over a sink or wash basin and be careful with your own clothes when trying this method. It is a great way to get a marbling effect. 

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    Photo © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to, Inc.

    One of the easiest ways to dye fabric is with coffee grounds. Change the color of your Cross Stitch fabric with left-over coffee or used coffee grounds. Soaking the fabric in diluted coffee will produce an all over color change while scattering grounds on the fabric produce a marbled effect.

    In the photo, the non-dyed fabric is on the left. As you can see, coffee dying fabric (shown on the right) produces a subtle effect.If you want a darker effect, add more coffee grounds for a longer period of...MORE time. 

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    Crayon Tinting

    Grab the kids crayons and color on your fabric. This may be one of the easiest and most fun ways to tint fabric. You will want to start with light coloring. If you go heavy you will have a waxy build up. This is the perfect way to achieve fun out of the ordinary colors. 

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    Kool Aid and other purchased drink mixes make great dyes. These types of dyes will produce a bright vibrant color and are excellent for concealing any kind of stains on older fabric. 

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    Hot or Cold Water Dyes

    Purchased dyes come in two main forms - hot water and cold water formulas. Either one will be great for changing the color of your fabrics. you can use ice to dye fabric. The effect is very light and pastel colors. This is a great method for dying yarn also. 

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    If you decide to marble fabric, you will want to do more than one piece at a time. Setting up the marbling solution is time-consuming. Learn more about marbling.

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    Use stamps to create a unique background or use the stamps as a pattern for stitching a design. This is a fun way to add a little dimension to your fabric. You can stamp and stitch around it or use it as a unique background. 

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    Tea Dyed fabric smells so good. Use different types of teas to produce different colors. Tea dyeing produces a much more dramatic effect than coffee dyeing.You can use various types of tea for various colors. Green teas will produce the lightest colors while certain herbal teas will produce reds, purples and blues. 

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    How many t-shirts did you tie dye when you were younger? Apply the technique to Cross Stitch fabric for a cool affect.
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    Watercolor Paint

    Learn how to add watercolors to your projects by watching this Leisure Arts video.

There are so many different ways to change the color of your fabric. From painting to dyeing, the choice is up to you. Don't spend extra money trying to get the color you want, make it yourself! The only limit is your imagination.