Add color to clothespins by dyeing them with regular fabric dyes. Use wooden clothespins; wood absorbs the dye, much like fabric does. The longer you leave the clothespins in the dye bath, the darker the final color.
Things You'll Need
- Plastic tablecloth
- Plastic or foam bowls -- one per color
- Liquid fabric dye
- Hot water
- Tea kettle (optional)
- Plastic forks
- Rubber gloves
- Paper towels
- Foam plates
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Cover the work surface with a plastic tablecloth. Plastic protects the surface from spilled liquids and from accidental stains.
Set one plastic bowl atop the tablecloth for each dye color. Use bowls or empty food tubs that are large enough to hold all of the clothespins you wish to dye in each color; otherwise, you'll have to take some out of the dye bath to color the rest.
Old sherbet containers or thrift-store glass baking pans may be used in place of household plastic bowls. Keep the dye-bath containers for craft use only; do not reuse them for food purposes.
Mix 1 part dye with 4 parts hot tap water in each container, using one color of dye per container. If the tap water isn't as hot as you'd like, heat the water in a tea kettle, but remove the kettle from the heat before the water boils. Use plastic cutlery to stir the liquids. A fork comes in handy since you can use it to grab the clothespins out of the dye bath.
Dip a paper towel or one of the clothespins into each dye bath to test the colors. If testing the dye on a clothespin, keep the pin submerged for a minute or two. Add a little more dye if you prefer a darker color; the color may turn lighter after the clothespin dries.
Set the clothespins gently into the dye bath to prevent splashing. Push them down once or twice with a plastic fork to arrange them so that the clothespins are submerged as much as possible.
Flip the clothespins over with a plastic fork after 30 to 60 seconds to ensure all of the wood absorbs the dye. Wear rubber gloves while doing so, in case you need to touch one of the dyed clothespins. The pins may be ready in 2 to 5 minutes; turn or flip them frequently until they reach the desired shade.
Remove the clothespins with a plastic fork when they reach the desired color or appear slightly darker than you'd like, since the dye may look different once it dries. Set the pins atop folded paper towels. Rest the paper towels atop foam plates first if you wish to keep the plastic tablecloth dry. Allow the pins to dry overnight or longer before handling. Test them by first grabbing them with dry paper towels; otherwise, you may get dye on your hands.
Do not use dyed clothespins to hold up soaking wet clothes on a clothesline, or the dye may transfer to the clothing. Test them with wet scrap fabric first if you intend to use them for laundry purposes.