Microfiber is a type of synthetic fabric that’s made up of very small fibers. It’s often used in clothing because it’s lightweight and can absorb a lot of moisture. Because it’s so popular, tie-dye enthusiasts may wonder whether it is possible to tie dye microfiber.
So can you tie dye microfiber? Yes, but you may need to use special dyes like dispersed dyes or fabric paints to make sure that the dye can work well with the synthetic fabric.
Let’s take a look at how to tie dye microfiber and some of the things you need to know before getting started.
Can You Tie Dye Microfiber?
Microfiber gets its name from the extremely fine fibers that makes up the fabric – they are less than one denier or one dtex in diameter. The term “microfiber” can refer to both natural and synthetic fibers, although most microfiber fabrics nowadays are made from polyester or another synthetic material.
Despite being synthetic fabric, microfiber fabrics are extremely lightweight and breathable, and it has a host of other applications, from clothing, to upholstery, to cleaning supplies. In recent years, microfiber has become increasingly popular due to its durability and versatility.
However, since microfiber is synthetic, you may wonder if it’s possible to tie-dye microfiber using traditional tie-dyeing methods. As anyone who has tie-dyed a shirt knows, cotton is the traditional choice for tie-dye because it absorbs and holds dye very well.
However, synthetic fabrics like polyester are difficult to tie-dye because the fabric doesn’t absorb dye in the traditional sense, making the result uneven and unpredictable.
There are still ways to tie-dye polyester, using dyes that work well with synthetic fabrics like disperse dye and even fabric paint.
So, the answer to the question of whether or not you can tie-dye microfiber is yes, you can, as long as you use the right type of dye. Let’s take a look at the types of dye that you can use if you would like to tie dye microfiber.
Type Of Dye To Use With Microfiber
If you have a microfiber fabric made from polyester, you can tie-dye it using dyes that are specifically designed for synthetic materials like polyester. Disperse dye and fabric paints are the best methods to tie dye polyester microfiber.
Disperse dyes are a type of synthetic dye that is used to color polyester and other synthetic fabrics. The dye molecules are relatively small, which allows them to penetrate the fabric easily.
Unlike other dyes, disperse dye does not require the use of a fixative in order to set the color. Instead, the dye is heat-set in a dye bath, which helps to form a strong bond with the synthetic fibers.
Once the fabric is completely submerged in the dye bath, the dye molecules begin to bond with the synthetic fibers. The high temperature permanently fixes the color to the fabric to prevent the dye from washing out.
However, the limitation of tie-dyeing with disperse dye is that you can only dye it one color because the dye needs to be heat-set in a dye bath.
The tied areas of the fabric will create “blank spaces” where the dye cannot reach, and the exposed areas will be dyed the color of the disperse dye.
If you would like the bright and colorful look of traditional tie-dye, you can use fabric paint to tie-dye your microfiber. Fabric paint is formulated to work well with all kinds of fabric, and the paint will remain flexible on the fabric and won’t crack when it’s dry.
It is usually made from an acrylic or vinyl base, which you can thin using water. Thinning the paint turns it into a dye solution, and you can use a traditional tie-dyeing method to tie dye your microfiber using fabric paints.
However, fabric paints are not as durable as traditional fabric dyes, so the result is still somewhat limited. The colors may not be very lightfast, or the paint may wash out after a few trips through the washing machine.
It’s best to use this method if you are tie-dyeing something that doesn’t need to be washed very often, like a wall hanging or curtain.
How To Tie Dye Microfiber
In this section, we will walk you through how to tie dye microfiber fabrics using disperse dye. Disperse dye needs to be heat-set, so the process will be a little bit different than traditional tie-dyeing methods.
You will need:
- Disperse dye depending on how much fabric you want to tie dye. For example, one bottle of Rit DyeMore can dye two pounds of fabric. However, microfiber tends to absorb more dye, so you should prepare more than the required quantity.
- A large pot (enough to hold your fabric)
- A large wooden spoon
- Rubber bands
Step 1: Wash Your Fabric
Pre-wash your fabric with a mild detergent (without using fabric softener) to remove any dirt and grease on the surface. This step will remove any contaminants that can interfere with the dyeing process.
Don’t dry the fabric; you can dye it when it comes out of the washing machine.
Step 2: Prepare A Dye Bath
Fill your pot ⅔ of the way with water, and bring it to a boil. Add the dye to the dye bath and stir to mix it into the dye bath. Bring the heat down to a simmer.
Step 3: Tie Your Fabric
While waiting for the dye bath to boil, you can tie up your fabric to create any pattern that you want. The areas that are tied up will be sealed off from the dye, creating negative patterns.
You can create traditional swirls, stripes, or any whimsical pattern that you’d like.
Step 4: Dye
When the dye bath is ready, submerge your fabric in the dye bath. You can use your wooden spoon to adjust the fabric in the dye bath to make sure that the dye can reach the areas that you would like to dye.
Let the dye bath simmer for about 30 minutes so that the dye has time to react and bond with the fiber.
Depending on vibrant you want the color to be, you can shorten or lengthen the dyeing time in this step. Since microfiber tends to be highly absorbent, it won’t take long for the fabric to reach the desired color.
Step 5: Rinse
After 30 minutes, use a tong to remove the fabric from the dye bath and rinse the fabric under cold water.
While rinsing, you can gradually remove the rubber brands as the fabric cools down to reveal the pattern. Rinse the fabric until you see the water runs clear, and the fabric is completely cool.
Step 6: Wash & Dry
Wash your fabric using warm water and air dry. Because the dye has been heat-set, the result should be permanent and very lightfast.