Can You Tie-dye Nylon? (5 Materials To Dye Nylon With)

Creativity is returning. You don't have to be a hippy or been a part of the hippy era to tie-dye your fabrics. This unique creative behavior seems to be making a comeback and people are jumping on the tie-dyeing bandwagon.

Can you tie-dye nylon? Yes, you can tie-dye nylon and some people dye the fabric one solid color first before doing their tie-dyeing. That method produces some interesting results. The key to success in this operation will be to follow all the instructions correctly.

To learn more about tie-dyeing nylon and the different materials you can use, just continue to read our article. It is filled with the information you want to know about so you can unleash your creative nature.

Can You Dye Nylon Fabric?


Yes, it is possible to dye nylon and there are several different types of dyes you can use. Which one you go to depends on how you want the color to look. An acid dye will help you get close to the color on the packaging while an all-purpose dye takes the work out of the process.

The all-purpose dye comes with two dye formulas. One is for cotton and is called a direct dye and the other is for nylon and is called leveling acid dye. You should find that the latter dye is the only version that will work on nylon.

Make sure to follow the instructions as some dyes may not penetrate deeply enough to stay with the fabric. If you get that type of dye, then friction and water will remove your work very quickly.

Does Nylon Dye Well?

Nylon has the reputation of dyeing well. It seems to be able to accept other colors with ease and does not seem to distort that new color. But there are a few problems that you should be aware of.

First, nylon does not work with every dye option out there. Second, synthetic fabrics are notorious for creating difficulties when you try to dye them at home. Usually, you need a professional to handle the dyeing process.

Third, the heat needed to dye nylon may cause shrinkage and distortion to the material. Your clothing item may not come out at the end looking like it went in. All of these warnings mean you have to be careful when you dye nylon and you should be more than prepared when doing it yourself.

Make sure to do a test before you dye the actual nylon garment. Check your results and technique with an item that doesn’t matter.

What Do You Dye Nylon With?


Because nylon is one of the few synthetic fibers that work well with dyes, you actually have quite a few options to choose between. The first option is an acid dye and that is probably the best for this fabric.

Next, is the all-purpose dye which does make the dyeing process a lot easier. Or you can try food coloring and those kids’ drink mixes like Kool-Aid to tie-dye your nylon clothing.

Then if you like to go natural and avoid any chemicals, beet juice is good for red, turmeric is good for yellow, and spinach juice is good for green. You should be able to mix colors together to create your own unique style or get the color you actually want.

Food coloring does not wash out so make sure you want the color you chose.

Dyeing Nylon With Rit Dye

When it comes to dyeing nylon with Rit Dye, the type of dye you use depends on the number of synthetic fibers are in the garment. If the clothing item has 35% or more nylon in it then you need to use Rit Dye More.

If the garment has less than 35% nylon in it, then you need to use the all-purpose dyes that this company produces. Next, you need to remember that if the nylon has an existing color, then you can only go darker, not lighter. That means you cannot dye black nylon shorts, etc., white, green, purple, and so on.

If you are dyeing white nylon then the chances of reaching a true color are good. Do not expect miracles as dyes can only do so much and some times it is better to just buy new in the color you want

Can You Dye Nylon With Dylon?


Unfortunately, you cannot use Dylon with nylon. The reason for this answer is that Dylon is made to work with natural fibers only. Those natural fibers are cotton, linen, and viscose.

If you use this brand of dye on blended fabrics then you should expect to achieve a lighter color than what is on the package. Polyester, nylon, and other synthetic fibers withstand this dye and their fibers do not accept the new color.

If you do choose this brand of dye for your next dyeing project, it is recommended that you stay in the same family of colors to get the best results. For example, you should use navy blue when dyeing an old vintage blue blouse and so on.

When you take up the dyeing project, there is a lot to learn before you start dipping the clothing into the pot to change its coloring.

Dye Nylon With Food Coloring

This is a good option as there are many colors you can work with. Then if you pick up special dye packs, for example, Easter egg coloring, you should have access to a lot more colors. This may be your hardest task in the whole process.

Usually, 10 drops of food coloring will do the trick and if you want a lighter color then reduce the number of drops you use. Add a few more if you want to go darker. If the fabric weighs more than a pound, then you will need to add more drops just to maintain the color.

This means you should weigh the material before putting it in the water to make sure you know if it is a pound or less. Your results will differ from others and food color dye may not last a long time. Be prepared to do this again if that happens.

Dye Nylon With Coffee


Coffee is generally best used with natural fibers like cotton and linen. When used on nylon the color you get maybe a murky brownish tone that is not that attractive. Synthetic fibers do not absorb coffee that well.

If you decide to go ahead and use coffee, then wash the fabric first so that it is free from any contaminates. Then brew a lot of coffee if you want a darker color. You need about a pot so the amount of coffee you use will depend on the color tone you want on your fabric.

Next, add the brewed coffee to the pot of water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and add your fabric. The longer you keep the fabric in the coffee dye, the darker the tint you will get.

When you see the color tint you want, remove the fabric and rinse it off in cold water until the water runs clear. Wash and dry like normal for nylon and you should have a nice coffee dyed outfit.

But as we said, coffee is better with natural fibers so your results may not be that exciting when you use nylon.

Dye Nylon With Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid or some other drink mix will work with nylon as well. The most important part of using this food product in dyeing nylon is to use 1 package for every pound of clothing you are dyeing.

Also, you need the drink mix variety that is sugar-free and also free from sugar substitutes. If you use the alternatives then your nylon is not going to come out looking like it belongs in a museum. It is going to look like a real mess.

There is one positive out of all of this. Kool-Aid or drink mix dyes do not wash out. That means you really have to be sure of the color before you start the process. Wet materials usually look darker than when dry so keep that in mind when you preview your work.

With Kool-Aid, you should be able to mix the different flavors and create your own color scheme.

How To Dye Nylon Rope

  • Step 1: Fill a pot with 3 gallons of hot water or heat the bucket of water until it is very hot.
  • Step 2: Put one packet of dye in a small bowl and add 2 cups of hot water. Stir till it is fully dissolved. The formula is 1 packet of dye and 3 gallons of hot water for every pound of rope.
  • Step 3: Now mix the dye into the larger bucket and stir till completely mixed.
  • Step 4: Place the rope in hot water first and let it soak for a few minutes. Then move it to the dye bucket submerging it underneath the surface. Stir the rope for 30 minutes.
  • Step 5: When the 30 minutes is over, rinse the rope under warm water turning that water slowly to cool. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear.
  • Step 6: Wash the rope using cool water and 4 tbsp. Of laundry detergent. Work the soap into the rope. This prevents color bleed. When done rinse the rope off.
  • Step 7: Let the rope dry and do not use your dryer to do this. Air drying is enough but it will take a few hours to get the job done.

Dyeing Nylon Backpack

If nylon accepts paint, then the easiest way to change the color of your backpack is to use fabric paint and paint the nylon to the color you want. The first step in dyeing your nylon backpack is for the item to be clean.

Then you need to choose the type of dye you are going to use on it. Also, be careful as only lighter colored material will give you the new color tint you want. The darker the color the harder it is to get the new color to be true to form.

You can use Rit Dye made for nylon and then follow the instructions carefully. If it is your favorite backpack, do not take any chances or you may end up ruining it. Before you start, remove any belts or cords that you do not want to dye.

When placing the backpack in the dye go slow for the air to escape quickly. If you follow instructions your backpack should come out of the process well and you should be satisfied with the results.

How To Dye Nylon Yarn


You can use a variety of methods when dyeing nylon yarn. Not all colors will produce perfect results as grape Kool-Aid usually turns into an ugly gray color when done. Also, if your yarn is made from blended fabrics, then the nylon may not accept as much dye as the natural wool or cotton, etc., it is blended with.

For best results use the Rit Dye made for nylon products. That way you will get as close to the color you want if the yarn is not a dark color. Remember, you cannot dye a dark color lighter.

The process is the same as described in other sections of this article. Take your time and do a test first to make sure the yarn will accept the new color.

Some Final Words

Nylon is an exception to the synthetic fabric rule. It can accept dyes and it can change its color. But not all dyes will work for nylon so you should read the labels of the commercial dyes you want to use to make sure they are good for nylon.

Food coloring and drink mixes are fine substitutes if you do not have the budget for commercial dyes.

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