You will need a large bowl or basin, 24 cups of very hot water, about 6 heaping tablespoons of salt, and, of course, ticking (prewash it in warm water with detergent to loosen the fibers and clean it; then dry thoroughly). Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin, and use metal or brand-new porcelain bowls because dye can stain plastic, fiberglass, or worn porcelain. (You can also dye in a washing machine, but don't use our recipes; instead, follow the instructions on the dye container.)
Soak ticking in a separate bath of hot water until ready to begin dyeing.
Prepare the dye bath: Fill the basin with very hot water. Add salt to cover the bottom of the bowl. Pour in dye. Stir well. Wring ticking, and slowly submerge in dye bath, making sure fabric is not bunched so it will dye evenly (if you want, use a test strip to see what the color looks like).
To create our colors, leave the fabric in the dye bath for about 30 minutes and move it around every 10 minutes. If you're experimenting with tints, check fabric frequently to inspect shade, starting after just 30 seconds. To make the trivets, we used different dyes on several pieces of pink ticking. Pictured at left: plain pink ticking; 1/4 teaspoon purple; 4 teaspoons yellow; 1 teaspoon royal blue and 3 teaspoons country blue.
Rinse ticking in cold water until the water runs clear; this will remove excess dye and salt. Dry each piece of fabric separately in a dryer or on a clothesline.
When cleaning dyed fabric, machine-wash on the gentle cycle with detergent in cold water.Get the Braiding How-To
Pink ticking fabric, at fabric stores and flea markets
Liquid fabric dye
Large metal or porcelain bowl or basin
24 cups of very hot water
You can make your own tints by playing around with standard store-bought liquid dye in a large basin. Our process lends itself to experimentation because results are immediate -- and you can adjust the colors as you go. Get the Braiding How-To.