Monday, March 22, 2021

Use RIT Dye to Stain Wood Embroidery Frames

It's been a while since I posted a tutorial here but I'm glad to say I have a brand new one to share today. 
Lately I've been brainstorming ideas for different ways these new larger embroidery frames could be finished and was hoping to find some fun and colorful options. After a little searching I came across this tutorial from RIT dye and I immediately wanted to try it.

So, here's how it went: 

First I gathered my supplies. I used two wood frames that I had lightly sanded. I only dyed the outer piece of these frames - front side only - since the other pieces won't show. I also used one box of RIT dye in "Denim Blue," a plastic container and some craft sponge brushes. I also covered my work area with some chipboard to protect it.

Instructions for how to use RIT dye were included in the box. It's pretty simple - hot water + powered dye 😀. One box makes a LOT of dye for a project of this size. I wish I would have had something else ready to dye when I did this so I wouldn't waste so much. One coat of the dye was applied and then, after allowing it to sit for 15 minutes, I re-heated the dye and applied a second coat. Then I left the frames to dry for the rest of the day. 

After drying, I did notice that the stain/dye was a tad bit splotchy. It wasn't bad but I probably would have added another coat to try to even it out had I not thrown out my leftovers. On the bright side though, I found that when I went over the frames with some very fine steel wool, the surface seemed to even out somewhat and produce a velvety looking surface that I really liked. I liked it enough that I opted to just leave one of the frames without any clear coat.

 I had some leftover polyurethane from another project at home so I opted to use that. I followed the directions on the can and applied two coats to the oval frame. It seemed to darken/deepen the color which wasn't a bad thing, but a good thing to know when you are choosing colors.

It's difficult to see the differences between the two from these photos, unfortunately. I promise the oval frame has a bit more shine to it. 

Overall I am happy with how these turned out. RIT dye comes in many colors and can also be mixed to produce custom colors. It's also easy to find (I can even pick it up at my local Target store) so that makes this a pretty simple project. There are colored wood stains available and I have not had a chance to try those yet but I am curious if they would perform differently. I wasn't able to find these in small cans (less than 1 quart) so I think I will wait until I have something else I want to dye/stain in addition to a frame so I can make the best use of it.

Here are just a couple of things I might have done differently:
  • I liked this particular color but it was a little more "purpley" than I anticipated. If I had it to do over, I might have used their "Navy Blue" shade. 
  • Again, it probably wasn't a great idea to throw out my dye before the second coat had dried. I might have put on one more coat to try to even it out somewhat.
  • I used a sponge brush for my polyurethane even though the directions on the can said to use a bristle brush. I noticed I had some streaks to deal with and I wonder if it was my brush choice that caused that. 
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and feel ready to add this handy idea to your crafting toolkit. I can't wait to try out more ways to embellish these frames!

This tutorial was not written in partnership with RIT dye - I just like to try new things, I promise 😊.

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