Basics of dyeing

Dyeing is not allowed (and cannot be done) without learning the basics of dyeing, its methods and recipes. On the following pages, you will find instructions for dyeing by hand and by machine, as well as the recipe for Dylon direct dyes. You will learn how to work safely in the Occupational Safety section.


  • Read the facility-specific occupational safety instructions and remember to protect yourself appropriately.
  • Select the method and materials in accordance with your project.
  • If you are unsure about the use of a specific chemical, contact the workshop master.

3. Dyeing with direct dyes

3.1. Dylon recipe

Achieving the correct shade and calculating dye quantities for the recipe
  • Boil some water in a kettle.
  • Place various (5) glasses by the sink and pour the boiling water in the glasses (you can add a pinch of salt if you want).
  • Add a pinch of salt in the glass and mix thoroughly.

For example

Glass 1: Dye A 100
Glass 2: Dye B 100%
Glass 3: Dye A 50% + B 50%
Glass 4: Dye A 25% + B 75%
Glass 5: Dye B 25% + A 75%

  • Insert the test fabrics in the glasses and wait for a moment.
  • Dry the test strips with an iron and assess the colour.
  • Continue the experiment until the colour is right and you have determined the correct ratio.
  • Calculate the amount of dye for the recipe: 0.1–6% of the fabric’s dry weight = X grammes.
  • Calculate how much (g) dye A and dye B you need.

Sample recipe (dyeing in a pot)

Material: a cotton T-shirt, 200g.

Pre-treatment: wash / rinse.

Liquor ratio: according to the size of the pot, so that the item can circulate easily in the dye bath.

Amount of dye:

Full shade 2–3% of dry weight = 20–30g dye / 1kg of material.
Dark shades: 4–6%.
Light shades: 0,1-2%.

Formula for full shade 2%: 0,02 (%) x 200 (g) = 4g dye.

Auxiliaries: Salt 125g / 5g dye.

Dyeing curve:

Värjäyskäyrä Dylon

Sample recipe (dyeing in a machine)

Material: a cotton T-shirt, 200g.

Pre-treatment: wash.

Liquor ratio: 20l suffices for even a large amount of fabric, as the material circulates continuously in the machine (0,200kg x 20l = 1:200 is a very high ratio).

Amount of dye: see above.

Auxiliaries: salt 125g / 5g dye, at least 100g salt for each machine load.

Dyeing programme: Select a suitable dyeing programme and amount of water. See section 3.3 for more detailed instructions on how to add dye and auxiliaries into the machine.

Please note: There are pre-programmed settings for wool; turn the temperature dial to 1 "slow heating".