Tuesday, August 14, 2012

super quick tute: how to dye F.O.E. with food coloring

Okay, this is going to be short and sweet.  I am currently making little slippers for Az's birthday outfit and I realized that I didn't have any appropriately colored elastic!  I tried using regular 3/8" wide elastic, but it did not work. I wasn't about to buy the proper dye so I figured I'd trial and error with some food coloring. I almost just chalked this up as a failed experiment, but then I spotted some scrap Fold Over Elastic, in all it's illustrious polyester-ness.  I figured that might work instead.  And it did!

You will need:

  • Desired length of WHITE Fold Over Elastic (a.k.a. F.O.E... I only used about 8" for mine)
  • A small disposable container (or something you don't think will stain).  I used a tiny disposable Glad container I used to use for making baby food.
  • Something to stir with.  I used a nearby paintbrush :-)
  • Optional: latex gloves.  Ironically food color will dye your fingers but NOT regular elastic, go figure.
It's best to do this project in a stainless steel or work sink!
The elastic in the picture is WRONG!!!!!!  Use Fold Over Elastic only!

  1. Obtain some food coloring (I had some on hand for the cake we are going to make.  It costs about $2.50 at Target, not on sale.  Look for it in the spice section!).
  2. Mix about 1/4 teaspoon or roughly 8-10 drops of dye (I used all blue with one drop of green.  FYI it has a propensity to come out a tad on the greenish side.  I don't mind for what I am using it for but you may want to play around with perhaps adding a drop of red to the mix.  My hypothesis is that that will offset the green, but I haven't tried it so don't just take my word; test it first.) with about a 1/4 teaspoon of water.  You really don't want it dilute too much.  And temp of the water doesn't matter.
  3. Add the WHITE F.O.E. to the mix.  You can wet it a little first if you like (some people suggest you dampen things before adding it to dye so that it soaks up the color better), but I did not do this.
  4. Stir it around a bit until it is all completely covered in dye.  it will look dark but trust me, it will wash much, much lighter!
  5. You can microwave it for 10 secs if you like (once again another trick of the trade, or so I'm told) but do not exceed that time or you will get scorch marks on your elastic.  I know this from a previous project :-(  This is an optional step.
  6. Set it aside for like 20-30 mins.  Perhaps longer will make the color soak in more?  I don't know, I was impatient so I did like 20 :-)
  7. Rinse. Rinse. Rinse!  Thoroughly.  Until the water runs clear. Wait for it to dry.  I cheated and ironed it a little to speed up the drying process, but if you can wait, let it dry naturally.  I'm sure the elastic will thank you.  That's it!  You're done!!!!!
Before
After!
 It'll work just fine as elastic on her ballet slippers that I'm making her!

Whelp!  That's all she wrote folks!!

3 comments :

  1. Thanks for this quick tutorial! I have some 1/8" polyester elastic I want to dye, but since there isn't much, I feel too cheap to buy regular dye, so I am hoping I can make up a brown with my food coloring.
    Bonny @ thedomesticatedprincess.com

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  2. Do you need to add vinegar or anything else to prevent bleeding? I'm trying to buy white FOE in bulk, then dye it various colors for hair ties.

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  3. Thanks - great tutorial - I just tried it with white foe - love when I have stuff on hand like the food coloring :-)

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