Dyed Tights with Food Coloring

For Halloween I decided I was going to be Poison Ivy from Batman.  I needed green tights, and of course the one time I need them, there aren’t any green tights at all.  Frustrated, I bought a pair of opaque white tights with the intention of dyeing them with food coloring.  I had seen people dye yarn this way, what would be the difference?

Here are my materials:  white tights, food coloring (I used green and yellow), vinegar, a stainless steel pot and a measuring cup.

Pour water in the pot.  It varies for how much you’re dyeing.  I used about 4 cups.

From what I read about yarn dyeing, people added about one tablespoon of vinegar to each cup of water.  So I used 4 tablespoons.  The vinegar makes the color really stay in the fabric.

I put the tights in some water to soak for a bit while I mixed and heated the dye bath.

Add your food coloring to the water/vinegar mixture!  I wanted it to be a very greenish yellowish and I was worried the tights wouldn’t take the color so well because of the material it was made of, so I used a lot of food coloring.

That looks about right.  Now heat it on medium heat until it simmers

Squeeze the water out of the tights and throw them in the simmering dye bath.

Make sure to get all of the material submerged.  This was kind of hard for me because the fabric kept floating up to the top.  You’re supposed to stir it every once in a while as it dyes, but I overestimated just how long it would take to take the color, so I didn’t get to stir it at all, which caused an uneven color.  Fortunately that’s not a big deal for my costume, but if you want an even color, make sure to stir it every few minutes.  I’m pretty sure I could go back later and re-dye it later anyway.

You know when it’s done dyeing when the water is pretty much clear.  You can kind of see in this picture, the water is significantly clearer than before I added the tights.  It’s a pretty bluish green color.  I probably could have left it in longer to get more color but I was satisfied with what shade it was so I turned off the heat and let it cool.

Once cooled enough for you to touch, rinse it with water and a tiny bit of dish soap until the water runs clear.


And here they are!  You can really see how uneven the dye job was in this picture.  Overall I’m super happy with the results, and I’m planning on dyeing more and more tights and things.  Hopefully with time I’ll get better at achieving an even color.  Maybe I’ll even be brave and attempt an ombre sometime!

I will eventually get an action shot of these tights, but it will probably come after I get the whole costume done.



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  1. October 25, 2011 at 8:02 pm — Reply

    I wonder if the dye will stay once they’re washed? Either way, they’re way cool. Great job!

    • chezlin
      October 27, 2011 at 1:42 am — Reply

      I’ve been told that the color will stay because nylon takes food coloring dye well. So we shall see! If not then I’ll just deal with having greenish legs for a while and I’ll use some RIT dye or something to redye the tights 🙂

  2. October 28, 2011 at 5:51 pm — Reply

    […] look… okay.  I tried them on with my dyed tights, but I didn’t really like how they looked with everything.  I was just going to suck it up […]

  3. November 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm — Reply

    […] as most of you know, I decided on Poison Ivy this year.  I dyed my stockings, I made my gloves, I made my boots, I made the leafy eyebrow pieces and I made some fake lashes to […]

  4. February 2, 2012 at 12:52 am — Reply

    […] as most of you know, I decided on Poison Ivy this year.  I dyed my stockings, I made my gloves, I made my boots, I made the leafy eyebrow pieces and I made some fake lashes to […]

  5. Hope
    March 8, 2012 at 6:21 pm — Reply

    This is awsome! I’m going to be Toddle for an anime thing in the mall at my house and i needed to know how to do this so thanks so much the vizuals helped a lot

  6. Grandmommy_02
    May 31, 2012 at 11:20 pm — Reply

    great idea, thanks

  7. M
    October 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm — Reply

    I’m so excited to see this! I too want to be Poison Ivy for Halloween, and of course, all stores are out of green tights. Thanks!

  8. jp
    October 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm — Reply

    I am going to use this for my son’s Hulk costume.

  9. Vschoolcraft
    October 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm — Reply

    Using this for my little ones peter pan costume!

  10. Angie
    October 24, 2012 at 12:53 am — Reply

    Worked great!! I used plain old
    Nylons. Worked just fine! Thanks!!

  11. Hannah
    January 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm — Reply

    Thanks! This worked so good! I achieved an even color using yellow! I was suprised how bright they turned out!

  12. February 13, 2013 at 5:54 am — Reply

    Hey, will nude tights take the colour the same?

  13. Deejay
    March 6, 2013 at 11:21 pm — Reply

    Fantastic! I’ll be using this for my Harley Quinn costume (with red of course)! Hope it all worked well! 😀

  14. Katykate
    September 9, 2013 at 5:16 am — Reply

    This is great ! I’m doing it with yellow for a minion costume, for my yr 12 school dress up day, its worked so far, thou my water didn’t turn clear-er. but my tights are yellow !! thanks so much for putting this online, saved my whole costume !

  15. Lisa Hodges Russell
    October 19, 2013 at 9:27 am — Reply

    Im gonna try this thank you!! Seems so easy!! I need yellow tights!

  16. […] chezlin, […]

  17. Cherisse
    March 30, 2016 at 10:48 pm — Reply

    Thank you! This worked perfectly! I’ve always been so intimidated by dying but that was super easy.

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