I wanted the title of this post to read – “How to dye Fur” – but realised after the first attempt that I have no idea how to dye fur. Instead, I’m sharing an experience from the day that I dyed fur. This is probably not how one should dye fur.
I found Kadam Fast Pigment Dye in a fabric shop in Satwa, Dubai. Finding long haired fur, in a rainbow of colours, is challenging in an all-round summer country. I decided to buy fabric dye as an alternative. My rainbow came in a poisonous No. 18 Baby Pink and a poisonous No. 10 Sky Blue. Yes, poisonous. From my understanding, one would only consider a fabric dye as poisonous when in powder form. Fabric dyes are no longer dangerous when mixed with water. Remember tie-dyeing as a school activity when you were 10? We all survived dipping and wearing those shirts. I did not remember to purchase a pair of rubber gloves. I embraced al 10 of my stained fingertips.
SKY BLUE DYEING
The packaging had no instructions. I had no idea if the dye was suitable for synthetic fibres (the stuff faux fur is made of) or if the fur would be able to boil in a pot on the stove. Should fabric dye even be boiled? I boiled the first batch of blue pigment, but was hesitant to boil the fur on the stove as well. Once I have removed the pot from the stove, I placed the fur in dye mix and let it soak for 15 minutes. Removing the dripping fur from the pot was messy and resulted in blue fingertips. My guess was that the fur should be rinsed with cold water, until the water runs clear. The No. 10 Sky Blue turned into another number blue.
BABY PINK DYEING
The original colour of the fur (for the Blue dye experiment) leaned more towards a creamy colour than white. I decided to use a pure white fur with the Baby Pink dye. This time around, I didn’t boil the mixture in a pot on the stove. I simply emptied half of the packet into boiling hot water. The idea was to “dip dye” the fur and create an ombre effect. My motivation might have been to save my fingertips from another colour. Staining your fingers happen when you rinse and wash the fabric. Not while you are dipping.
Once dipped, the fur was rinsed immediately. No soaking. Fur becomes all tangled and “knotty” once wet (think of a wet dog). Using a hairbrush, I managed to untangle the fur and straighten it out while wet. The deep red dye washed out to a dusty pink, not so much a baby pink, and the ombre effect was more or less there.
I had some leftover dye in the jug and decided to colour a yellowish fur (with lighter and darker parts). Realising that fabric dye will colour fur now matter how hot the water is, or for how long you let the fur soak, I simply poured the leftover dye over the fur in the sink. The fur was rinsed immediately, brushed and what a pleasant surprise!
Once the dyed fur is dry, you can expect it to be another shade (and number) lighter. Most of the fur pieces were as soft as they were before, except for the pure white fur. It is still soft but I’m sure a little less so than before.
FINAL COLOUR RESULTS BELOW: