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Tips on Dyeing your Fabric

Tips & Hints | Bear Making Terms

So what if you have a great idea for a teddy bear but just can't find fabric the right colour? Time for a DYE JOB!! Following is a primer on dyes so that you can create those bear with coats of many colours.



  • usually from plants like coffee, tea, indigo, saffron, beetroot and juice from berries.
  • messy work, stain your fingers but produce soft natural earthy shades.


    • made from coal tar and classified into 16 different categories based on their chemistry and how they react with different materials.
    • wide range of colours.
    • usually more predictable than the naturals. Intensity varies with the temperature of the bath and length of time submerged.

      In most cases hot dye solutions will not mat or "felt" mohair, alpaca or woolen fabrics, but you may get up to 30% shrinkage so be sure to dye enough to complete your project.


      To make sure you have enough fabric, draw your bear on the material before dyeing it.

      Also you will not have to start with "white" - any light colour will absorb dye to create one-of-a-kind colours.

      The most important part of your dye job is to end up with a colourfast product. Test your finished product for fastness as follows:

    • Wash a piece in hot water, then iron it against a white cloth with a very hot iron. If it does not bleed it's colourfast.
    • Leave a piece of dyed material in direct sunlight for about 3 weeks to test for fading.
    • Rub a dry and wet sample against a white cloth. If colour comes off with any of these tests repeat the rinse and dry cycles with dyed material.


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