Resources on Surface Design: Dye

SAQA Seminar (Article)

Explore the wonderful world of dyeing in this unit of SAQA Seminar: Surface Design. Whether you use natural dyes such as indigo or a full rainbow of synthetic dyes, there are just so many different ways to add color and design to fabric.


History and Culture

Strand of Silk has an excellent collection of articles about textile techniques from India. They are linked as part of their Journey Map. Related specifically to dyeing, this article about bandhani is particularly interesting.

The mighty cochineal bug has created bright, colorfast dye for hundreds of years all over the world. This interesting article highlights some of its uses including images of the people recreating the dye process in Colonial Williamsburg.

Artist Rushyan Yen received a Thomas J. Watson Travel Fellowship to study batik in eleven different countries. Read her fascinating blog.

This short video from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London a profile of a family of expert indigo dyers from India.

The World Shibori Network has several excellent resources including this article that highlights the different tools and techniques used in traditional shibori.

Fabric dying practices around the world pose an enormous risk to water supply. Several companies are exploring ways to use less water — or even no water at all. Read more >

Tutorials, Blog Posts and other Inspiring Links

Lynda Heines has an amazing collection of tutorials on her blog including ice dyeing, parfait dyeing, low immersion dyeing and more.

Check out Lisa Walton’s short, peppy video including images of ice-dyed fabrics and in-progress shots of creating a pieced quilt with the dynamic fabrics.

Dianne Giancola joins Pokey Bolton in this excellent segment from Quilting Arts TV highlighting three different shibori techniques.

Frankie Magazine offers a beautifully photographed tutorial for eco-dying.

Susan Purney Mark uses cold water fiber reactive dyes to create beautiful color gradations in this excellent video.

Mary Marlowe Leverette has a great series of articles on how to create color with plants. Check it out if you are interested in natural dyeing.

Candy Glendening also uses fiber reactive dyes and highlights their earth-friendly benefits in this tutorial.

You just can’t beat this comprehensive, honest, nitty-gritty dying tutorial from Melody Johnson.

Elizabeth Michellod-Dutheil has some great videos on dyeing and rusting.


Book Recommendations


Color by Accident: Low-Water Immersion Dyeing
by Ann Johnston *

A great book for people who want to learn to dye fabric.  Easy instructions result in lots of different possible combinations. It is no longer in print; but is available in a free pdf.

Color by Design: Paint and Print with Dye
by Ann Johnston*

The original spiral bound book using thickened dye and many tools and techniques.

The 2nd edition paperback is now available.  

Fast, Fun & Easy Fabric Dyeing: Create Colorful Fabric for Quilts, Crafts & Wearables
by Lynn Koolish *

A thorough instructional book with easy to follow instructions.  An easy read with lots of possibilities.

Shibori: Creating Color & Texture on Silk
by Karren K. Brito

The world known expert on Shibori on silk. She explains how to manipulate fabric to make marks and/or pleats while dyeing silk. Brito is world known for her Shibori work.


Visual Texture on Fabric: Create Stunning Art Cloth with Water-Based Resists 
by Lisa Kerpoe

If you’re going to dye cloth, you may want to consider resists. This comprehensive guide to water-based resist dyeing techniques makes the process easy to learn. Create dimensional effects with ingredients like oatmeal, sugar, and soy wax for endless possibilities.


More book recommendations from Carol Anne Grotrian