Dyeing Your Cotton with Procion Dyes

Now that you have your beautiful white cotton and have spun up lots and lots of plain white yarn, you are ready to do some dyeing and creative work. I sometime use PROCION DYE, which is a reactive dye. Fiber reactive dyes develop color inside the fiber of the materials being dyed. It is the most permanent dye on the market. They are designed for use on cellulose fibers including rayon.

The salt in the recipe enhances the solubility and availability of the dye and the soda ash is the activator. Be careful to use pure sodium carbonate. The grocery store variety of washing soda has bleach in it.



  • 8 oz. COTTON LINT
  • 8 TO 10 grams of PROCION DYE
  • 243 grams of SALT (sodium chloride)
  • 22 grams of SODIUM CARBONATE (sal soda,washing soda, soda ash)

Steps for Dyeing

  1. Fill a large enamel or stainless steel pot 3/4 full of water and add a tablespoon of detergent and begin heating. As the water warms, tease the cotton lint and immerse it into the warm water. Bring pot to a simmer, and simmer 15 minutes. Rinse in tap water and squeeze out excess water.
  2. In a large plastic container or enamel pot, put 8,920 ml. (9 qt's.) of luke warm water (85 F, up to 100 F..turquoise MX-G 140F). and add the salt (243 gr or approx. 1 1/4 cup) Dissolve the salt by stirring and then add the wet scoured lint. Let it stand 10 minutes.
  3. Dissolve the dye in 250 ml. (approx. 1 1/4 cups) of hot tap water (104F). Stir carefully until completely dissolved. Remove or push aside the cotton, stir in dissolved dye and replace the cotton. Stir to make sure the dye is evenly dispersed in the cotton. Let the cotton sit in the dye mixture for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use rubber gloves and use caution with the dye especially in the dry form.
  4. Mix sodium carbonate (soda ash) with 1/2 cup of very hot water, stir until dissolved. Remove dyed cotton, stir in the soda and replace the cotton. Stir frequently, and leave for 45 minutes. Soda sets the dye so the lint will be color fast.
  5. Remove dyed cotton, rinse thoroughly in tap water and then repeat scouring procedure (step #1). Spread the dyed cotton lint on a screen to dry outdoors or in a well ventilated area. In humid areas, you can finish off the drying process by putting the dyed lint in a pillow case or mesh bag, and drying it in the dryer on medium heat. Be careful not to over dry and make it brittle.

Your colored cotton lint is now ready to tease, card and spin. Blending a little colored lint with natural white cotton makes a lovely heathered yarn.