Dye for Hooked Rugs

For making beautiful hooked rugs at home, you need to have materials with the right kind of colors so that the completed rug looks attractive. Buying hand-dyed wool or wool that can be cut from a large bolt of material can be considered in case you do not want to go to the trouble of dyeing the wool at home.

There are several methods to dye the wool strips that are used for making hooked rugs. Rug hooking dye can be bought from stores and used to dye the wool so as to get the desired color you want. Apart from the synthetic dyes, you can also opt for organically coloring the wool by using onion skins as rug hooking dye.

Here are the instructions for dyeing wool using onion skin:
Materials needed:

  • Wool strips (if you can use solids, plaids, textures etc, it will give enough variety while making the rug)
  • Dye pot
  • Wooden dye spoon
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Citrus acid (or, white vinegar)
  • Red onion skins
  • Water

First soak the wool strips in liquid dishwashing detergent for at least one hour in order to make it easier for the dye to be soaked up by the wool. If you use wool strips with colors such as white, beige, off-white and buff, you will be able to have a variety of colors to choose from once the strips are dyed.

Put the onion skins in the dye pot and add water generously to cover them. Heat the pot until it gets very hot but not actually boiling. Add about 1 tablespoon of citrus acid and stir the pot using the wooden dye spoon. White vinegar can be used as an alternative but citrus acid is more effective.

Now, add the soapy wool strips one by one to the pot and layer them evenly so as to start the dyeing. If you want to have a “molted” effect, stir the wool strips occasionally. For evenly colored wool strips, refrain from stirring. Instead, you will have to dye individual wool strips, one by one, and remove each one after the dyeing is done.

When the water in the dye pot looks clear, it shows that the dye has been mostly absorbed by the wool strips. After taking out the wool strips from the dye pot, rinse them either by hand or put them through the rinse cycle in a washing machine and then use the dryer so as to fluff up the strips. Once the strips are dry, you can use them for making beautiful hooked rugs.

In case you have got the desired color for the wool and there is still dye left, you can always store it in the fridge for later use and create lighter-colored wool strips that can be used for highlighting while hooking rugs.

Rug hooking turns into a fun activity to indulge in when you have got wonderfully dyed wool material to make them and when you have created those colors using rug hooking dye on your own, it makes the finished rug all the more special.

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