How to Dye Cork


Add your own colorful twist to cork's inherent natural beauty by dyeing it for your next cork-based project. All types of cork -- craft sheets, bulletin boards, flooring and wine corks -- absorb tints, as long as the cork has not been treated with a sealer. Sealers, such as the type used to protect cork floors, prevent cork from absorbing liquids. Water-based fabric dyes or even red wine may be used to stain cork successfully.

How to Dye Cork
(Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Lint-free cloth
  • Old plastic tablecloth
  • Shallow plastic tub or container large enough to fit the cork
  • Hot water
  • Plastic spoons or forks
  • Fabric dye in desired color
  • Rubber gloves
Step 1

Wipe the cork project material down with a damp, lint-free cloth to remove dust or debris. Allow the cork to air-dry.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media
Step 2

Cover the work area with an old plastic tablecloth or plastic tarp to prevent spilled dye from staining the surface.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media
Step 3

Set a shallow plastic tub on the table, selecting a tub that is wide enough to fit the cork project pieces completely. For instance, if dyeing a thin, 10-inch square sheet of cork, the tub must be wide enough to fit the sheet without folding the cork, which may crack or break it.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media
Step 4

Pour a cup or two of hot water into the plastic tub or container, mixing in an appropriate amount of dye, based on the directions on the dye package. For some liquid fabric dyes, 1 tbsp. is the amount needed for 1 cup of water. Stir the liquid using a plastic spoon or fork until it is well blended.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media
Step 5

Put on rubber gloves, then set the cork piece or pieces into the dye bath. Press the pieces under the liquid from time to time using a plastic fork to submerge them completely, since cork floats.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media
Step 6

Remove the cork from the dye bath after 5 to 10 minutes or when the cork color looks as dark as you want it to, or even a little darker. Rinse the cork under running water until the water runs clear.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media
Step 7

Place folded paper towels atop the plastic tablecloth. Set the rinsed cork pieces on the paper towels until they dry completely. Flip or rotate the cork after a few hours to dry the other side.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media

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