Fast, Fun & Easy Fabric Dyeing Class Plan

by Lynn Koolish

NOTES for Shop Owners
More and more quilters are interested in dyeing their own fabric. 
Increase sales and expand your market with the following:

1.  Offer classes based on the book

Many quilters are interested in dyeing, but they often don't know where to start. Our two class plans offer tips on how to plan the classes to fit your classroom set up. Classes will bring customers into your shop and provide the opportunity to sell them the fabric and other supplies they need.

  • Class #1: Get Started with Fabric Dyeing the Fast, Fun & Easy® Way
  • Class #2:  More Fast, Fun & Easy® Fabric Dyeing

2.  Carry products for dyeing and create a special display area so customers know that you are a one-stop-shop for their dyeing supplies
Dyers often have to mail order supplies for dyeing. Carry the supplies in your shop and make it easy for your customers to get what they need right now. When you offer classes be sure to advertise that you carry dyeing supplies. Set up a featured display area with the following items:

  • Copies of Fast, Fun & Easy ® Fabric Dyeing by Lynn Koolish
  • White prepared for dyeing (PFD) fabric – cotton, silk, rayon, and linens are available from fabric companies such as Robert Kaufman, and RJR Fabrics
  • Fat quarter packets of fabric that can be overdyed such as white-on-whites, black-and-white prints, other fabrics with light backgrounds
  • Procion MX Dyes, soda ash, sodium alginate, and Synthropol. Jacquard dyes and other dyeing supplies are an easy brand to carry, they are available in a convenient display rack from Peterson Arne and other distributors (Jacquard's website: www.jacquardproducts.com/stores/StoreLoc.php)
  • Show examples of hand-dyed fabrics using the fabric you carry. Sample blocks can be used to showcase both hand-dyed fabrics, overdyed fabrics, and hand-dyes used with commercial fabrics.

3.  Plan an employee dyeing day
Turn your employees into knowledgeable dyers. Set up a time and place for employees to dye fabrics for themselves. It's more fun to dive into a new technique with others who are learning as well. Now they'll be prepared to answer consumer questions about dyeing and to teach classes.

4.  Schedule a class for customers to use their hand-dyed cloth.
Hand-dyed fabric can be used for almost any project—traditional to innovative. Plan a class for customers where they can bring in and use their hand-dyes. Then plan an in-store display to show off their creations.

5.  Set up short demos on combining commercial fabrics with hand-dyed fabric.
Many quilters don't think to combine hand-dyes and commercial fabric. Short in-store demos can show them the possibilities.

6.  Plan a Freebie Dyeing Day.
Set up a dyeing area (either inside a classroom or outside) and invite customers to bring a T-shirt or fat quarter to dye. Show them Fast, Fun & Easy® Fabric Dyeing and help them dye their fabric or t-shirt.  This is a great way to let customers know that you have the book, dyeing supplies, and classes (if you offer them).


Get Started with Fabric Dyeing the Fast, Fun & Easy® Way

From Fast, Fun & Easy® Fabric Dyeing
by Lynn Koolish
**See notes at end of class plans for tips on setting up the classroom

Class description:

Learn everything you need to know so you can create your own fabulous hand-dyed fabrics including how to mix dyes and create your own colors, basic dyeing techniques such as low-water immersion, creating gradations, and dyeing multiple colors at the same time.

Approximate class time:

This class plan is for a 6-hour class. If you prefer to teach a 3-hour introductory class, have students bring less fabric and fewer plastic containers and plan to cover a limited amount of the material.

Supplies the instructor should provide:

  • Procion MX dyes
  • Soda ash
  • Salt
  • I recommend bringing extra measuring spoons, mixing spoons, and plastic containers.

Advance Preparations:

  • Decide what colors of dye to bring. Be sure to bring at least red, yellow, blue, and black. I also recommend turquoise, magenta, and brown. I bring whatever I have on hand so there are a variety of premixed colors.
  • Put the soda ash into an easy-to-use, recloseable plastic container. A beverage storage container that is easy to pour from is recommended. Be sure to label the container

Student supplies:

  • Required Text: Fast, Fun & Easy ® Fabric Dyeing
  • 4 yards white fabric that is either PFD or prewashed in hot water and detergent
  • Other assorted natural fiber fabrics to overdye (optional)
  • Rubber dishwashing gloves (short latex gloves are NOT recommended)
  • Dust mask
  • Measuring spoons (note: these cannot be used for food after they have been used for dyes)
  • Plastic spoons (6 – 10)
  • 6 – 8 oz plastic containers such as recycles yogurt or cottage cheese containers (6 – 10)
  • Plastic buckets (1 or 2, 2 1/2 – 5 gallon size)
  • 1 gallon size Ziplock-type plastic bags (10 – 12)
  • Scissors
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Plastic to cover work tables and to take home fabric for washing

During the class:
**With beginning dyers ask them often if they've remembered to add the soda ash to the dye baths. 

  1. Review the materials in Chapters 1, 2, and 3 (Basic supplies, Basic techniques, and Color, pages 5–19).
  2. Review the Mostly Solid Dyeing technique (pages 21–24). Have students work together and share large buckets for this technique. Make sure each group stirs their dye bath regularly.
  3. Review the Textured Dyeing technique (pages 25–31). Show students the different ways to scrunch fabric and apply dyes. Show them the rolling technique. Remind them that it does make a difference if the fabric is wet or dry when they start. Then set them loose do mix their own dyes and scrunch, roll, and dye away.
  4. This is probably a good time to break for lunch.
  5. Review the Gradations techniques (pages 36–41). This is a good exercise to do in plastic Ziplock-type bags. Especially for the two-color gradation, remind students to label each plastic bag with the amount of dye to add.
  6. Have students look at their fabric from the textured dyeing exercise. If there is a place to rinse fabric, have them rinse it in cold water. These fabrics can be overdyed if desired.
  7. Clean up and remind students to take fabric home and wash it in cold water first, then in hot water with detergent until no more dye comes out in the water. Tell students to iron their finished fabric and have fun using it in their quilts.

More Fast, Fun & Easy® Fabric Dyeing

From Fast, Fun & Easy® Fabric Dyeing
by Lynn Koolish

Class description:

If you already have some basic dyeing experience or have taken Day 1 of Fabric Dyeing the Fast, Fun & Easy® Way, this class explores easy ways to create patterns and textures with dyes using techniques such as shibori, monoprinting, rag rollers, and more.
This class plan is for a 6-hour class. If you prefer to teach a 3-hour class, have students bring less fabric and fewer plastic containers, and plan to cover a limited amount of the material.

Supplies instructor should provide:

  • Procion MX dyes
  • Soda ash
  • Sodium alginate
  • Several rag rollers used for faux painting – available at hardware/home improvement stores in the paint department
  • I recommend bringing extra measuring spoons, mixing spoons, plastic containers, PVC pipe, squeeze bottles, notched spreaders, and vinyl

Advance Preparations:

  • Decide what colors of dye to bring. Be sure to bring at least red, yellow, blue, and black. I also recommend turquoise, magenta, and brown. I bring whatever I have on hand so there are a variety of premixed colors.
  • Put the soda ash into an easy to use, recloseable plastic container. A beverage storage container that is easy to pour from is recommended. Be sure to label the container.
  • Mix up the sodium alginate the day before class.

Student supplies:

  • Required Text: Fast, Fun & Easy ® Fabric Dyeing
  • 4 yards white fabric either PFD or prewashed in hot water and detergent
  • Rubber dishwashing gloves (short latex gloves are NOT recommended)
  • Dust mask
  • Measuring spoons (note: these cannot be used for food after they have been used for dyes)
  • Plastic spoons (6 – 10)
  • 6 – 8 oz plastic containers such as recycles yogurt or cottage cheese containers (6 – 10)
  • Plastic buckets (1 or 2, 2 1/2 – 5 gallon size)
  • 2" to 5" diameter PVC pipe 18" – 24" in length (available in hardware and home improvement stores)
  • 1 square 18" x 18" of vinyl such as Quilter's Vinyl
  • Foam or bristle paint brushes
  • Several squeeze bottles such as those used for condiments or hair color 
  • Scissors
  • Spray bottle
  • Rubber bands
  • Plastic notched spreader
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Thin plastic such as dry-cleaner bags to wrap fabric for overnight batching (6 – 7)
  • Plastic to cover work tables

During the class:

  1. Review the Direct Application techniques (pages 44–46). Demonstrate and give the students time to try out each of the different direct application techniques.
  2. This is probably a good time to break for lunch.
  3. Review the Pattern Dyeing techniques (pages 47–52). Demonstrate the different techniques and give students the rest of the day to experiment. Encourage them to combine different techniques in one piece of fabric and to experiment with color combinations.
  4. Clean up and remind students to take fabric home, let it batch overnight, wash it in cold water first, then in hot water with detergent until no more dye comes out in the water. Tell students to iron their finished fabric and have fun using it in their quilts.
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