dyeing burlap

orange-pink burlap!
After completing my pink burlap lampshade, my darling sister requested a similar lampshade, only in the orange-to-pink color family. Of course, burlap does not come in any such shade, which meant only one thing: it was time to dye some burlap!
I did some quick searching to make sure that burlap will take dye - which it will, since it is 100% jute, a natural fiber - and then stumbled upon Rit's amazing color guide. Seriously. It's amazing. It has a whole section called "Yellow-Orange-Peach". Perfect!
Intentionally I wanted to a color (#79, if you're curious) out of the "Orange" section. My impatient self wasn't willing to drive all the way to Jo-Ann, so I checked out the Rit dyes at my local Wal-Mart. No cherry red or golden yellow - the only two colors I needed. So I whipped out my phone and checked all the orange-pink colors to see if any of them were a) an acceptable shade, and b) used only colors available to me. Luckily, I found #464, which requires scarlet and sunshine orange, two colors that the Wal-Mart carried. So I grabbed the dye, four yards (yes, four - just to be safe) of natural burlap, and a large plastic bucket.
dye bath
Today, in between bouts of furious packing, I dyed the burlap. That was my "fun" activity for the day. I washed the burlap in warm water, and then I set up the dye bath about 12 quarts of hot hot water, and two tablespoons each of the scarlet and sunshine orange liquid dye. I put the damp fabric into the bath and let it sit for about 45 minutes, swirling the water around frequently. I couldn't stir the fabric because there was simply too much and it was too heavy for my stirrer (an old paint stick) to maneuver around. But as far as I can tell, the burlap took the dye evenly. Then I rinsed the burlap out - which was easy, because it held onto the dye so fiercely - and ran it through a cold water cycle in the washing machine before drying it on a normal setting.

And voila:

gorgeous, right?
 I am SO pleased. It's exactly the color I wanted. Burlap sheds normally, but washing and drying it made it superduper fuzzy, though. Just a warning to anyone who tries this. I have no regrets, though - the end product is worth a little extra vacuuming.

I can't wait to make the lampshade. Sadly, that project might have to wait until I'm situated in the new house. And I still need to figure out what lamp base I'm going to use...

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