How do I make tie dye with a group of children?

This video answers this question in detail...

How do I dye my stained couch covers?

I made a video to answer this question...

Join our community on Facebook

Are you looking for ready-made tie dye to buy?

Are you making tie dyed garments to sell using our products?

Join the community where we support makers using our products at this link...

Ice dyeing

Many of you have asked me about Ice Dyeing. I have answered all of your questions in this detailed online course at this link...

Start with the right information and get great results right from the start.

Join my online school on Patreon

"Melanie, I really want to attend a workshop with you, only it is...

...too far

...too expensive a time that does not suit me."

I listened to you and have create an online school that you can use...

...from the comfort of your own home a price you can afford any time that suits you.

Your color choices

Click through to this link to view the selection of color combinations that you can choose from in the Box Kits...

Learn to dye a heart

I made a new tutorial video for all of you this week. Here is the technique you can use to dye a heart.

Make local, buy local, support local, grow local.

How do I buy Slipstream Dye?

If you are in a hurry and would like to buy something off the shelf, click on the button that says "Stockists" at the top of this page and you will find the national list of stores that carries our products.

If you want the widest selection, and are prepared to wait a little for what you need to arrive in the post, you can order through our mail order channel at

For Special Offers, click on the button at the top of this page that says "Special Offers" and you will find the current selection.


Is it a Hot or a Cold fabric dye?

Slipstream Fabric dye gives the best results at 65-70 degrees Celsius.

You will find the online course with the long explanation at this link...



Learn to dye and print your own fabrics

Over past years I have taught thousands of people how to dye and print their own fabrics by hand.

The cost of travel is high and I often only have a handful of interested people in any place, so I found a way to make my courses available online so that I can reach my students anywhere in the world, at any time of the day or night, at a price we can both afford.

The online courses are a blended experience of video and reading with plenty of clear pictures and explanations.

The learning platform is interactive. If there is anything you do not understand in the course, you simply ask your questions on the course feedback forms and I will answer them in person.

Thanks to the marvel of modern technology, I now have students all around the world, including Europe, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and Russia.

I have also created different ways of learning from me, depending on your learning style and budget.

You can sign up for the online courses and eBooks if you want to learn something specific at any time. You choose the topic of your choice and sign up when you are ready.

If you prefer to pay a small monthly subscription, I have also created an online school on Patreon. For a monthly contribution you learn something from me every day on the exclusive learning feed. Patrons on this platform receive daily learning and discounts on courses and eBooks.

Sign up and learn how to create your own designs and prints, in the colors that you want, when you need them, and on a shoestring budget.




Are you looking for more information about techniques for different patterns and ways of using the dye?

Click through to this link to view the selection of online courses and eBooks...

Dip Dyeing

Between 2002-2008 I manufactured hundreds of dip dyed items for the South African fashion industry for brands like Sun Goddess and Stoned Cherrie. Later I went on to teach the technique i scores of workshops around Southern Africa.

There is an easy way and a difficult way to achieve this finish. The different techniques have different benefits and drawbacks.

I have written down all of my knowledge about the process in an eBook that you can use to assess which method is best suited to your specific purposes.

Are you in a hurry?

Do you need the finish to be wash fast?

Do all of your curtains need to look exactly the same?

Are you making it for somebody else?

Do you want a dip dyed wedding dress?

This eBook will answer all of your questions about the process.


A favorite Box Kit of forest fairies... This color combination of cool greens with navy and purple for accents, is a favorite color combination among our customers.

Click through to the Special Offers for the Tsitsikama special until 23 February.

Today's Tie Dye Tutorial

 You can make these colors using a Rainbow Box Kit.


Would YOU like to make one of these?

Would YOU like to try making something like this?

Here is the video to show you how to bind the fabric...

Any 100% cotton fabric will work. Perhaps you have some old stained sheets that need a face lift?

FREE Course In Time For Valentine's Day


Extra Tutorials

If you are interested in extra tutorials and video, Melanie shares all of her secrets with her Patrons on Patreon.

Learn from Melanie in person on Patreon, from as little as $1USD a month. The more you spend, the more you get. Click through to this link to become a Patron and start learning more about dyeing and printing cloth from somebody with twenty four years of experience making decorative textiles. 

How to make rainbow gifts for Christmas

"Melanie, I want to make tie dyed T-shirts for Christmas gifts."

How to select suitable fabrics for dyeing... Watch the video that explains how different fibers respond to different chemicals...

Here is an easy one-stop-reference for identifying fibers using a burn test...…/…/T168_Burn_Test_Chart.pdf

We recommend that you start by watching this FREE video so you can get an idea of what the activity entails. This is a fail-safe technique. If you stick to the suggestions in the video, you should get a happy result. Thousands of people have achieved great results using this video. 

This online course is on an automated platform that you can access at any time of the day or night, from anywhere in the world. No waiting for our office to get back to you with information that you need in a hurry. Once you have worked your way through the information you will also have a better understanding of what you will need.

Purchasing the tie dye kits... If you use the technique in the video you can get up to 30 kids T-shirts from a Rainbow Box or other Box Of 3 color combination. This is the same kit that we use in the video and the colors will mix rainbows. If you use the technique in the video, you can get up to 50 kids T-shirts from a Box Of 5. Select a pre-packed color set that you like.

Purchasing the T-shirts... Click through to the link below to download the entire list of suppliers that we have used over the years. This is a FREE resource.

I hope that this helps you to plan how you will make your rainbow gifts this year?

Can I re-use Slipstream Fabric Dye once I have mixed in all of the chemicals?

Absolutely! Click through to this link for detailed information...

The chemistry is most efficient right at the start where all the chemicals go in, and then the reaction tapers off over time. It tapers off over quite a long period of time and you can certainly re-use the dye a second and even a third time. Each time that you use it the colour will be more pastel and your textures will become softer.There is no need to add more chemicals once all the powders in the packs are in the fluid. Re-heating the dye the second time around can improve results, as can longer exposure times. I have left fabrics in recycled dye for up to three weeks and I got beautiful results. Do not be afraid to leave the fabric in the fluids for a longer period of time. Just remember that if you want to manage the outcome and get a perfect colour, you can only do so with fresh dye. When using dye that has stood for a period, the result will be a variable. I quite enjoy working with recycled dye because I look forward to the surprise of the colour that comes out of the dyebath. You never quite know what it will be. Re-using your dye is a great way to achieve graded shades of a similar colour that go from dark to light, especially for quilters.  If you want to learn more about how reactive dye works and how to achieve results that are bright and lasting wash after wash, click through and sign up for my online course at the link below...


Customer Feedback

"Best Dyes in South Africa and sold with love!" Veronique Breugelmans

"We did spiral tie dye with a group of over 30 kids this weekend with your dye. They came out fantastic! We used the brights set and the combinations were great and the colours bold and bright. It was great to see their faces as they opened up their shirts! It was so easy even with so many kids." Rina Coetzee Gous

How much fabric can you dye with 250g Bulk Dye?

"How much fabric can I dye with 250g of your dye?"

How much chemical you use will depend on the specific technique and fabric used.

We recommend that you sample your technique and fabric for your specific purpose and work it out from there.

For example, if you mix the dye and dip the fabric in the color, you might get 200 T-shirts from the 250g pack. If you are doing ice dyeing, you might only get 20 if you like to use a lot of powder to achieve your specific effects. Different effects use vastly different quantities of chemical, so your choice of technique will determine how much you will use. The techniques that we usually recommend for beginners use less dye than the ice dyeing techniques that are currently fashionable. 

Different size washing machines with different volumes and cycles will use different quantities. You will have to sample your fabric in your machine to get your specific quantities. 

Click through to the link below and select the online course that answers the rest of your questions about specific techniques like washing machine dyeing... 


Click through to the link below to read our latest newsletter...

We Love Slipstream Fabric Dye

We have created a Facebook community where our students can show off what they have made.

We often get inquiries from visitors to this website who are looking for ready made T-shirts and not the kits. If you post the garments and products that you are making for sale in this group, we can send these people directly there to choose what they would like from your selection.

In this way we grow the customers who support our brand.

Click through to the group below to add your images of your products that are dyed with Slipstream Fabric Dye...

If you are somebody who is looking for ready made tie dyed T-shirts and not self-help kits, please click through to the link above to view the selection there.

Introducing...Carol Tebbutt!

Carol Tebbutt is our stockist in Durban. She has been working with our products for many years and she can help you with your Slipstream Box Kits in Durban.

Carol does not have a brick and mortar store. Contact her on her cell number and make an appointment to collect what you need from her. Her cell number is 0829217360.

Here is a really simple technique for heating the chemicals...


You really DO need all of the extra information

With more and more people using Slipstream Fabric Dye to color their textiles in different ways, I found myself spending more and more of my time answering specific questions. I eventually turned these answers into detailed videos and online courses where I tried to think of everything and answer EVERY question I have been asked on that topic.

The online courses are now uploaded onto an automated platform that you can access from anywhere, at a time that suits YOU. You can work through the material at your own pace, in your own time. If you find there is something you are not clear on, you can refer back to it, even in the middle of the night. No more waiting to try to get hold of me in person to get the answers that you need, when you need them.

Here is a short list of the resources that most people need most often...

How do I choose suitable fabrics for dyeing?

I need a simple technique for working with groups of children or for my Hippie theme birthday party?

I want to dye fabric in my washing machine. 

I want to redye my faded denims. The fail safe technique.

For general information like human and environmental safety, suitable fabrics, quantities and basic mixing instructions...

If you REALLY wan to understand how the chemistry works and how to create a number of different tie dyed patterns, the course that will answer ALL of your technical questions about the process and offer you a method to use for troubleshooting when you have challenges...

I want to learn how to Dip Dye 

I want to learn how to make a rainbow spiral. 

How much should I charge for my products?

I hope that this list helps you to find the resource that you need to answer your specific questions.

Custom Dyeing Of Fabrics In Specific Colors

We get inquiries every day from people who ask if we can custom dye their fabrics and garments to match a certain Pantone color.


We supply craft dyeing kits for crafters and manufacturers who color their own cloth in-house.

If you would like to learn how to dye your own fabrics in your washing machine, we recommend that you start with this online course that explains what is required... 


Can you re-use Slipstream Dye?

Yes you can!

Store your leftover dye in a sealed container in a cool dark place and you can recycle it again for later use.

The chemistry IS most efficient just after all of the chemicals have been mixed into the hot water and the longer the mixture stands, the paler the colors become.

And If you do not mind pastel shades, some of our customers use their leftover dye up to six months later for pastel colors.

There is no need to add extra chemicals. Just add the fabric and heat the dye to 65 degrees, and it will fix what is left of the active ingredients to the cloth.

Click through to this link for more information...

Human and Environmental Safety

Do YOU have questions about the product? Would you like to know that they are safe to use? Are you concerned about the environmental impact of the chemicals in the kits?

Click through to this link to find all of the answers to these questions...

Are they safe to use?

Yes! As far as we know in terms of current global best practice standards. The reactive dye in our kits is the same that is used in many industrial fabric mills that produce for reputable chain stores. IF USED CORRECTLY it is vibrant and color fast and safe to use even on baby clothing.

The small quantity of waste chemical that you will produce for your home craft project can be safely disposed of into the municipal drainage system.  It should not be thrown into a septic tank, as it will interfere with the delicate bacteria balance of the system.

Click through to the link above for more detailed information.

Aiming for Perfection

I meet so many creative humans who are hanging up on a project because they are striving to make a perfect item and they are afraid that they will mess it up in some way. They wait for the perfect day when they feel absolutely ready, not realizing that they are unlikely to ever feel ready.

And Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. To some, tiny neat stitches are Perfection. To others messy stitches to make bold statements are Perfection for a different set of reasons. Perfection is a subjective thing.

It also changes with perspective and time.

When I first saw this dress from my first book, Contemporary Dyecraft, I felt it was a failure because it did not turn out quite as I had planned. Eight years down the line, I know it is one of the most successful images in the book and I have worn the dress to tatters. Scores of people have begged me to buy it off me. It achieved a Perfection to a purpose, beyond my obsession that it turn out exactly as I planned.

If YOU are a creative who is waiting for the perfect day to start on a project that you care about, start today, even if you do not feel ready.

The Jaclyn

This heart shaped Jaclyn stamp is a favorite with school and craft teachers. It is so pretty that many of our customers are using them for coasters and place mats rather than spoil them with paint. 

Print on cloth, paper, card, glass, pvc, wood and many other porous surfaces.

Use them to emboss soft ceramic and polymer clay.

Give them to little children with paper and wax crayons and let them make rubbings.

What is the difference between Art and Craft?

This wonderful video explains the difference between the two...

Another NEW eBook!

Many of the crafters who contact us are hoping to turn their hobby into a business. If you are one of these people, I have create a FREE eBook to help you with your decision. Click through to the link below to download your FREE copy...

How do you do it?

"How do you do it?"

I am asked this question often on the forums.

"How do you know so much about dye?"

"How do you print such perfect fabrics?

They call it 10000 Hours Of Mastery. Or as my old Mum would say..."Practice."

And not just any kind of practice either. I was making products to sell to commercial buyers, who had an expectation of quality and wash fastness.

For the early part of my career, before I started teaching, I was MAKING. Between 1993 and 1998 I produced THOUSANDS of garments that I sold at markets. On average I made 100 garments a week back then. If I made something that I was unable to sell because of something I had done that people did not like, I ended up marking it down and selling it off at cost to recoup my losses. This forced me to pay attention to what people were buying and make more of that.

Later, between 2002-2008, when I mass produced for the local fashion industry, I not only made similar volumes, I now also produced them to a very specific brief supplied by the customer, and usually on a very tight turnaround time. With little margin for error working on other people's garments and fabrics, high levels of customer expectation and tight deadlines, I had to produce high quality work quickly and consistently, month after month to pay my rent.

If I messed up a customer's fabrics, I would buy them from them to recoup their financial loss. I could not afford to do this too many times, so I made sure my quality was the best I could produce.

Then I climbed in my car and drove 250 000km around Southern Africa to teach thousands of people, where I explored a whole bunch of other questions that my students asked me. I learned to make while talking and teaching. Teaching takes up most of my brain, and when I teach I fall back on old habits learned during hours and hours of making the same thing over and over again.

When I create my eBooks and online courses I draw on ALL of this knowledge for your benefit.

It has become easy for me to produce beautiful things over the years. It is a Gift earned with practice.

If you are a creative who is just starting out and you wish that your work was "better" in some way, make more of your art. Practice. Make more of your art. Make even more of your art.

And one day you will wake up and realize that you are easily and instinctively making wonderful pieces, without the same struggle that accompanied your earlier efforts.

FINISH things. Even if you feel that you have messed them up in some way. Press through the difficulty and produce a finished work. A finished work that you dislike is still far more emotionally empowering than one that you have abandoned half way.

Press on. Persevere. Practice.

The Up-Cycled Cloth Collective

In less than two years the Facebook group has reached almost 47000 members...

The admin that has accompanied the growth was unexpected.

So I have created an archive where I am recording the entire project including bio's and information about participating makers, photo's of the fabrics that I have printed and images of the finished textile items that are emerging from the collaboration. The list of names of participating artists also appears here. If you are involved in the project you can also visit this page to see if your package of cloth has been shipped yet.

If you want to view the whole project in one place, click through to the link below...

Are YOU a Patron Of My Rainbow Arts?

I was first introduced to the idea of creating artistic works and presenting them to people for free, and then ASKING them to pay you what they feel you deserve, based on their own personal budget and means, by Amanda Palmer in her TED Talk four years ago. The concept blew my mind and I wondered if I would ever have the courage or the network to work that way.

Over the past weeks, several of my international customers have approached me and asked me to create a way for them to contribute financially towards my activities, simply because they enjoy the information that I share freely on Facebook. They say they have learned so much from me, they feel it is time they give something back.

And so, this week, the crowd funding platform was born.

If you would like to become a Patron Of My Rainbow Arts with a financial contribution via PayPal, click through to the link below to select a coupon that fits your budget...

THANK YOU to all of you who help to keep my creative machine running! I appreciate you all so very much.

Customer Feedback

"What a thoroughly enjoyable course!

I found it to be quite relaxing, almost meditative in style. The music and the simplicity of the visuals complimented the dye techniques that you demonstrated Melanie. The presentation was appealing, it was delivered in short bursts of information and demonstrations.

I also enjoyed having the option to go slowly and to replay the presentations to suit my own speed of learning and my home duties!"

Yanina Carling

Keep your kids busy with useful crafts this coming holiday...

Kids really love to make tie dye because there is such a magical Wow Moment! right at the end of the process. They wear them and love them in the months that follow and when somebody compliments them on what they have made, they get to say...

"I made it MYSELF!"

It is a powerful feedback loop for building confidence in children.

Watch the video and see just how easy it is to keep a whole group of them busy this holiday...

Where to find all the FREE stuff!

The link to the FREE online tie dye course...


The link to the FREE online lino printing course...


The link to the FREE lesson plan for school teachers...


The link to the FREE list of suppliers for Fashion Designers in South Africa...


The Fail-Safe Method

There are many ways to play with dye and manipulate techniques to get different finishes. If all YOU want to do is to redye your faded denims and maybe a few stained items, I have uploaded a video that will help you...

New Online Courses

Many of you have been in touch to ask about workshops and classes. Instead of waiting until I finally reach your town to teach, you can sign up ANY TIME and take the online course instead.

Sign up at a time that suits YOU when you have the money for it, and learn at your own pace in the comfort of your own home, without the distractions that come with other students in the workshop.

Here are some of the new online courses that you can sign up for...

Learn how to make a Rainbow Spiral 

Learn to dye a Heart   

Learn Different Binding Patterns for Tie Dye

"You can't do it like THAT!"

"You can't do it like that!"

I often hear these words when I get involved on forums about techniques. And perhaps this is a good time to explain where and how I learned what I know?

When I first started working with textiles in 1993, there was no such thing as Google. I learned what I needed to know about the products that I work with directly from my suppliers and when they could not answer my questions, I would return home and TRY IT FOR MYSELF.

There was no internet to refer to; no access to online craft teachers to harass for information.

Over the years, I personally manufactured THOUSANDS of hand dyed and lino printed garments and fabrics for retail. First I sold my own clothing line through markets, and later I manufactured custom textiles for the Fashion Industry. At the height of my manufacturing career I pushed around 100 garments a week through my hands with little help.

Fashion Weeks come with deadlines and I often had to produce something magical on an unfamiliar fabric within 24 hours. Designers would give me only one frock to work on. No sample to try the technique on first. I was under pressure to get it right first time, every time.

Designers would also make requests for things that they did not understand were not possible (certainly not within the timeframe and budget that they expected) and I became quite practiced at understanding what can and cannot be achieved on cloth, on a shoestring budget.

Often they would press me to go back to my workshop and try anyway. Often I did, usually to my own personal cost. I remember every lesson I learned this way, until I learned to say "No. This is unsustainable for me". I have tried MANY things, with variable results.

And on this journey I worked out a handful of simple, fail-safe techniques that reliably serve a wide range of needs within short timeframes.

Such techniques are safest to use when you are a fashion designer who needs to make a sample now, that you can replicate later when you have an order for 60 garments from a store, and the store has an expectation that your production run will look the same as your sample. They are also suitable for anybody who wishes to teach crafts to beginners and children.

This is where my techniques were born. I sampled a bunch of things and then turned the simplest of them into learning material for beginners to give them the best chance of good results with little experience.

This sometimes frustrates my students who are hoping to hear very complicated information from me. Great teaching, like great design, is all about economy and elegance. It is my aim to make it simple for you. Not difficult.

Some of my techniques come under fire on the public forums where theories abound. My information comes straight from trial and error and hard personal experience.

I am NOT teaching you from the place of a craft teacher who has read a few techniques from books and then dabbled in my kitchen with a few bits. I am a mass producer sharing what I have learned over twenty years of making THOUSANDS of garments for retail

I have trained at least as many people as I have made T-shirts over the past twenty years. If the information seems almost too simple for you, it is because I designed it that way so that you can have the best chance of success on your first projects, without having to walk the same road of expensive trial and error that I did.

There are MANY ways of achieving similar things. I teach the ways that have worked best for me commercially.

If you prefer to use another way that you learned somewhere else, it is awesome! I am happy to hear that your spirit of adventure and trying for yourself are alive and well.

Please do not suggest that I use somebody else's material and start to teach their techniques. My material is ONLY authentic because of how it came to life and I have no interest in copying others, whether it is their designs or their training material.

Why I believe tie dye is important to ALL children...

Why I believe tie dye is important for ALL children...

Yesterday Sam Brown experienced the Wow Moment with her students for the first time. Late last night she was still buzzing with excitement from the day.

It is truly magical to watch them all light up!

When kids make their first tie dye they have little idea of what they are doing at first. In that magical moment when they open the T-shirt from its bindings, they light up with surprise to see what they have made. They get a kick as they realize... "I made this MYSELF!"

It is a powerful moment for any human. It is the private internal moment where we step into competence and confidence.

The T-shirt then becomes a powerful feedback loop for building on that first spark of confidence. Every time that kid wears the T-shirt that they have made, and somebody comments on how nice it is, they get to say "I made it myself!"

The most common complaint that I get from Moms is that they cannot get their kids out of the T-shirts afterwards. Many kids will wear them again and again as they emerge from the wash, and until they are way too short and small, before they are ready to give them up.

Often Moms will just come back for another kit so that they can make another one in a bigger size.

The value of the experience far outweighs the small amount of cash that you spend on a kit like this. For around R10 per child for the dye, you can give them this empowering experience that will boost their confidence for the rest of their lives.

Include the cost of the T-shirt and extra bits, and this experience costs around R60 per child. A very small amount to pay for a powerful emotional experience that will last a lifetime.

As kids we are often told "Be careful. Don't mess that up." This kind of language can make a child shrink back from trying at all in an effort to appease the adults.

The Rainbow Wow experience gives them the space to try and succeed for themselves. When they open the T-shirt with their group of friends and everybody cheers together, they get the positive social feedback that they need to cement the internal experience.

When kids make their first tie dye, they are not just splashing some colour onto a functional garment. They are unlocking their will to try for themselves and succeed. They are learning to receive and give praise for a job well done. The internal experience is far more powerful than the playful methodology gives away at first glance.

This kit is not "just a toy for kids". This kit is a way of transforming humans in a magical and FUN-damental way.

Try it on children of all ages and you will see that the outcome is the same.

Dip Dyeing

If you would like to learn how to do Dip Dyeing for yourself, click through to the link below and sign up for the online course...

When You Buy From A Small Business...

Many of our customers make and sell handmade textile items. They make extra money that goes towards school fees, food and other gaps that salaries do not cover. Many of you contact us and ask us to make your tie dyed items for you. Please support our customers who buy from us. They will do a happy dance if you buy from them.

Of course we will do the same happy dance if you buy our tie dye kits from us to have some of your own fun doing your own happy dance...

Whether you choose the self-service option or the ready made option, there is sure to be dancing!

How the mail order works...

If you elect to use the mail order option, please make sure that you include your nearest Postnet branch for shipping and your cell number for the waybill. We frequently receive orders without this information and it is very difficult to actually ship the product to you without it.

We currently use Postnet because they are quicker and more reliable than the local post office. If you are in a remote area and there is no Postnet nearby, we can use the post office although you should expect your orders to take longer to reach you.

Mixing Your Own Colours

Many of you are interested in mixing your own colours for making garments and quilts.

Humans have been fascinated with mixing their own colour throughout time and recently a little known Dutch publication about colour mixing has historians excited and chattering on all the blogs. Click through to the links below to read more about this early colour recipe book...

Why do blue denims run in the first wash?

When I teach workshops I realize how little is understood about basic dyeing processes by the average human. Many people do not realize that it is a very wet process where the garment is submerged in dyes and chemicals. Most people also do not realize that there is a process of washing those chemicals out at the end.

Some of the dye is fixed to the cloth to form a molecular bond with the fiber, and some of the loose chemical is trapped between the fibers of the cloth. The excess must be rinsed away with vigorous rinsing in clean water.

In our modern times, clean water is becoming scarce and factories look at ways of saving money and resources. Many of them trade their last washing process off to their customer and this is where you find fabrics on retail shelves that bleed and run.

A fabric will bleed like this for two reasons...

If the dye was not heat set properly, the colour will run and will continue to run until the fabric is very light. If there is some bleed and then it stops, leaving a vibrant colour, the dye was properly heat set, only the fabric was not properly laundered before it left the factory.

How much do you charge for your handmade products and WHY?

This morning somebody in my network shared a fantastic video with me about Pricing Your Products by a leading global art expert. I enjoyed the video very much and she had many useful tips for growing your art career. Click through to the link below to watch it for yourself...

Her video left me thinking..."There is SO MUCH more to it!"

The conversation is too linear in my mind. The question we are typically asking is "How much do I sell this for?"

At the end of the month when we struggle to make ends meet, the ACTUAL question is "How many of these have I sold and at what profit margin to pay my rent, food, overheads and costs, school fees, medical aid, pension, insurances, holidays and savings?"

The linear question simply does not address the complex, organic realities of month end.

Until we wrap our cost of living into the sum, the numbers are practically meaningless. If we cannot cover our personal cost of living from selling our art, no matter what the price we charge, we have real challenges. Artists who work for less than they need to survive financially, spend their lives on the outside looking in at the financially active community. After a lifetime of that, they are bound to be embittered about their art when they are eating cat food from a tin in their old age?

One school of thought will say "They were irresponsible and should have got a real job like the rest of us." Others will say "Artists work for LOVE not money!"

And the Struggling Artist struggles on...

We must sweep aside perceptions and social pressure and act selfishly in our own best interests to educate and stand on our value. Artists are smart. We have every right to the same financial freedoms as everybody else. If you are a freelancer, the only person who can take that freedom is YOU. You cannot afford to wait for permission to sort your shit out if you do not want the coming month end to hit you like a train smash.

And it is complex...

Until we wrap the market into the sum the numbers are also meaningless. If we cannot find enough people out there to buy at our price, we have real challenges.

By asking..."How many of these do I have to sell and at what price to pay my rent, food, overheads and costs, school fees, medical aid, pension, insurances and savings?"

...we have a more realistic view of what we are facing. informs timelines. informs sales strategies. helps you to decide what is worth pursuing and what work you should abandon completely.

My Costing & Pricing online course connects these numbers for you in a meaningful way. It is written in plain English and the concepts are simple to master, even if you are not good at numbers.

The course powerfully shifts your awareness about the numbers so that you begin to have the confidence to charge what you need to to survive and the wisdom to ignore the constant peer pressure for cheaper pricing.

When you invest in the course you are investing in your own financial future. As soon as you implement what you have learned you will begin to make more money.

If you sign up for only one course this year, it should be this one.

Click through to the link below to read more about it and sign up...

For BEST Results...

For the best result using our house brand of Slipstream fabric dye...

Our Box kits are pre-packed with the chemicals in the right quantities so you do not have to worry too much about that if you are a beginner. If you are working with Bulk Dye you are likely sourcing your own salt and soda ash. The ratio is constant and can be used for all of the colours.

Dye  :  Salt  :  Soda Ash

1     :    4    :     1

The product works best in suspension. This means that you are working with liquids. If you want something sticky to paint on to fabric that is an opaque block-out, you need to find a fabric paint. Fabric dye is a wet mixture, often applied in a pot.

If the dye does not reach 65-70 degrees ON THE FABRIC for long enough, you will get variable results. We recommend an hour of heat if possible for best results. Flash heating in the microwave oven also works well. For more information about these techniques, refer to one of our eBooks or order the Dyecraft video.

For maximum wash fastness, leave the colour on the fabric for 24 hours before washing off the excess chemicals. If you do not want the colour to fade, give it a chance to bind properly with the cloth.

Kids Birthday Party Kits

Are you looking for a way to entertain a group of children?

Whether you are a school teacher, a Mom, a kids craft teacher or a kids entertainer, our kits are the perfect tool for keeping your group busy with some super fun craft activity. Click through to the link below to see how the whole thing works...

Cotton Knit Dresses

Many of you have commented on the cotton knit dresses that I wear when I teach. I buy them ready-made in cream from Rheola's in Harrismith. Rheola runs a Skills Development Center called Tsa Lapeng, where she teaches rural women handcrafting skills that they can use to be self-reliant. They manufacture quality knitwear made from natural fibers, sourced locally. They specialize in 100% cotton and cotton/bamboo blends. They make jerseys, dresses, shawls and beanies. The shawls are by far my favorite and I always have one draped around my shoulders in chilly weather.

Contact Rheola directly for pricing on 058 623 1521 or 083 334 2724, or click through to her Facebook page below to see more of their products.

I have taught there a few times and I always enjoy it very much. Here is the color chart that the ladies at the center created after one of their training sessions.

If you would like to learn how to create your own color chart of recipes like the one in the image above, sign up for the online course today and work in your own home in your own time to make this useful reference tool for manufacturers.

I stumbled on this old video today...

In 2011 we did a make-and-take stand at Hobby-X. We invited people into the space to come and make two T-shirts. One they could keep, the other they left behind as a donation for needy kids in orphanages. We collected hundreds of T-shirts this way over three days. Here is the video so you can see the action in the stand...

Our drive to benefit needy kids with rainbow T-shirts continues, and I would love to see the idea spread virtually around the world. Click through to the link below to become a member of the online community that drives it...

My Favorite Publications

I have two Fiber Art publications that I love the most. They always inspire me and their information is interesting, educational and from trusted sources. If you want to learn about natural dyes, community development projects and who is making waves in the industry, click through to...

Q&A And Free Resources

Many of you who are new are just busting with questions. While we try our best to answer them here with my eBooks, many of you want free resources that you can refer to to answer your specific technical questions.

Paula Burch has done just this on her incredible website. It is a mine of information and she has taken the time to answer every conceivable question about dye in detail for you.

The Dress That Caused All The Hullabaloo

My network sends me links and images to interesting things that I might like on Facebook. This week I was sent an image more than ten times by different people. The dress is certainly breathtaking and it captured the imagination of the world, sweeping across the social networks like a wave.

Here is the link to the entire article of how it was made...

There was a great deal of speculation about how it was made among those who saw only the image and not the whole blog. When you read the blog Taylor Ann tells you that she airbrushed it. And it has spurned an uprising Dip Dye trend on all the social networks...

There were also a great number of people who spoke about trying to copy it or trying to order a copy from somebody else. Once again illustrating how incomplete the general understanding is about Copyright.

If you were in the shoes of the Maker, how would YOU feel to hear these conversations?

This is a great way of figuring out whether you are doing something ethical or unethical when using another work for inspiration. Put yourself in the shoes of the person who made the original work. Ask yourself, "How would I feel if I made this creative work and saw somebody else copying it in this way?

And then, there is the compelling conversation on the other side of the wheel, presented by one of my FAVOURITE Fiber Artists, Katwise...

What Does It Cost To Hire Top Talent In Fiber Art?

This is the question that Abby Franquemont answers in concise detail in this fantastic blog. Click through to the link and have a read if you would like to know what the industry unit standard is currently.

I was quite delighted when I found this article. In today's difficult financial times, I am bombarded with people who say "Your workshops are too expensive for me."

This article explains the REAL costs to teachers and venues of running workshops for people.

As a Fiber Artist who has worked extensively for the local Fashion Industry and who has published two books with editions in South Africa, USA, Canada and Russia, I still often get requests from people who ask for workshops and then ask "Do I have to pay?"

As a professional who has made a living in Fiber Arts for more than twenty years, I deserve to charge for my time and expertise just as any other professional does.

The common perception, when we dig deeper, seems to be that Creatives work for Love, not money, and that that should be good enough for us. It is very difficult to continue loving something, when pursuing it excludes you financially from so many things that "other people" seem to be doing with their financial resources like pay rent, food, medical, education, savings and a pension.

If you spend a lifetime on the outside looking in at that while you doggedly persist with the work that you thought you loved in the beginning, you do not love that work in the end. You might go to your grave with bitterness for the very thing that you Loved because you feel that you wasted years chasing a dream that was not real.

Creatives must be respected financially in the same way that any other professional at the top of their game is.

Manmade vs Natural Dye

Almost every week I get an inquirey from somebody looking for a natural dye that they can use to manufacture a more environmentally friendly product. The issue may not be quite as simple as that. Let us compare the two to figure out the real story.

Chemicals are mined from the earth and synthesized into man made dyestuffs. Natural dyes are made from natural materials, gathered from the environment, such as lichen and bark.

Ten grams of man made dye powder can dye 250 grams of fabric to a vibrant shade, every time, if used correctly. Natural dyestuffs will have variable shades. Vibrancy depends on the potency of the raw materials. As much as two kilograms of raw material is needed to produce very dark colours on 250 grams of fabric.

Man made dyes result in the same colour every time if used correctly. It is possible to get an exact colour match using these chemicals. Natural dyes will give you varying colours, every time. Colour changes with the potency of the raw materials. This is governed by climate, soil and plant dna.

Heavy metals in certain man made colours, fixatives and other chemicals used in the process put a burden on the environment and the health of the people working with them daily. Mordants used to fix natural dyes will have exactly the same effect if you create enough waste and do not dispose of it in a responsible fashion.

Man made dyes are robust and colour fast over many washes of they have been used correctly. Natural dyes will fade over time.

People often assume that if they can find a natural dye, they are free of the guilt that they might feel about polluting the environment with their commerce. The truth is, no human activity is without its footprint.

In fact, the dye is only part of the problem. What about the fabric that you are about to dye? Was it produced with organically grown cotton that has not been genetically modified? Were the workers on the farm treated fairly or were they children? Was water used responsibly throughout all stages? Was the fibre scoured with chlorine in the mill? Chlorine is one of the most damaging chemicals out there.

The answer seems not to lie in the chemicals, but rather how to dispose of them in a responsible manner. We cannot escape our responsibility, but the least we can do is minimize the damage. If you would like to explore the thinking further, you might be interested in our eBook...

With so many things to consider, finding a natural dyestuff is not the quick-fix you might be hoping for.

For more information about natural dyes click through to the links below...


What Do I Do If I Spill Bleach On My Trousers?

As a dye specialist, this is the most common question that I am asked by people. I do not have a simple answer for this challenge.

Dye is translucent, not opaque. This means that the light actually passes through the colour and reflects off the white fabric behind it. Dye is see-through. When working with it, imagine working with sheets of coloured transparency film with light shining from behind.

It is this quality that leads to such vibrant results when experimenting with dyed techniques. It means that the base cloth can be seen through subsequent layers of dye. If the base is uneven, the next layer will also appear uneven. 

It is very difficult to cover bleach marks. You will have to completely saturate the fibre to get rid of the mark. The lighter marks may reappear later in subsequent washes as the fabric fades again. Those particular fibres will always have less dye on them than those that were not bleached. 

Bleach is very destructive, and if you did not wash it out thoroughly just after the spill happened, it is likely to damage the fibre. A fibre that has been softened in this way may not hold dye very well either. This further reduces your chances of solving the problem. 

When faced with this dilemma (yes, I too am clumsy), there are only two routes that do not lead to more heartache: 

If the spill is relatively small, I find a permanent black marker at my local stationer that is closest in colour and simply colour it in. Remember to keep the marker in your handbag because the ink is bound to fade and will need touching up once in awhile. (You will usually notice it on the way to a job interview or a meeting with an important investor.) 

If the spill is large and the “koki-treatment” just too tacky, I simply go with the flow. I go outside to the hosepipe with the garment, the bottle of bleach, a syringe and some rubber gloves. I put on the rubber gloves, draw some bleach into the syringe and squirt it all over the garment to create an artistic dripped effect. As soon as I see the marks I want emerging, I spray the fabric off with the hosepipe to slow down the reaction. 

Do not stand too close to such a project. The chlorine gas released by the reaction smells bad and can make you very ill. Try not to breathe in the fumes and wear a face mask if you have one. 

I have created some fabulous “designer” garments for myself from some of my clumsier moments. 

Wash the fabric thoroughly to remove all the bleach. How many washes will depend on how strong the bleach was that you used. When you can no longer smell it, you can stop washing. If you leave traces of bleach in the fabric, it will weaken the fibre and you can expect the garment to tear.

Good luck with your spill.

Hot Or Cold Dye?

What is the difference between a Hot and a Cold reactive dye? One would think it is quite obvious; the one is used with hot water and the other with cold. Almost every commercial dye available is labelled this way. Unfortunately, for the consumer who buys this product, this labeling is a little misleading. 

A Hot reactive dye requires boiling at one hundred degrees Celsius for the bond with the fabric to be permanent. A Cold reactive dye does not need to be boiled, but its optimum temperature is still sixty five to seventy degrees. If you measure this heat with a thermometer, you will see that it is still steaming hot. I have burned blisters on my skin at that temperature. 

The other misconception that people have is that they assume the Hot dye is more colour-fast than the Cold one because you have boiled the colour in. This is not so. Cold dyes are more robust and colours will remain brighter for longer than Hot dyes. The cooler process is not only a little easier, it is also more lasting. 

Cold reactive dyes are very reliable and used throughout the global clothing and textile industries to permanently colour fabrics made from plant fibres. The dyes react with the fibre on a molecular level to produce a permanent bond that withstands wash after wash. The colour becomes part of the fabric. 

A Cold reactive dye is, in my opinion, the most convenient by far for the hobby dyer. 

It can be used to dye any fabric that starts out as a plant, i.e. cotton, linen, hemp and bamboo. Any fabrics with these bases will bond with reactive dye, e.g. denim, twill, calico, muslin, T-shirting, toweling, corduroy, cotton velvet, viscose, track suiting, poplin and cheesecloth. 

Cotton/lycra and viscose/lycra blends also work well, providing the lycra content is under five percent. Reactive dye does not bond to lycra. Poly/cotton blends will only take the dye partially. The cotton fibres that run in one direction will take up the dye normally, but the polyester fibres that run in the other direction will remain white. 

Because these dyes are used at high temperatures, expect your fabric to shrink. 

The fabric is woven on a loom in the factory, where it takes its dimensions from the equipment. From there it is usually put through a stent which steams the fabric into the desired dimensions for shipping. Sometimes there are variances in fabrics that come off the same equipment. Research has shown that such variances are caused by differences in the cotton fibres used. A fabric made from a crop that has had more water will behave differently from one that had less water in the field. Fabric stability is fibre-specific and will vary from one roll to the next. 

Most cotton fabrics shrink about ten percent in the length. The width is usually stable to within one or two percent.

Why kids of ALL AGES love tie dye!

* They have to dress up to do it…We recommend kids kit up with mask and apron to make tie dye. This will protect their clothes from spills that stain. By far their favourite is the latex gloves they have to put on to keep their hands clean. I am told they make for very good water bombs when you are ten years old. 

* It gets messy! Most kids enjoy activities that are messy…of course!? 

* They play with color. Most children love to play with bright colors. Color is known to stimulate the brain in a number of ways. 

* They work with their hands. Tie dye improves strength and fine motor co-ordination in the hands. Children are forced to work with both hands using string and elastic bands. 

* They have to follow a set of instructions from beginning to end, in order to achieve a desired result. This teaches children to read, concentrate, think logically and analyse their results. All skills they can use in later life. 

* It gives them a sense of achievement and self-worth. Having successfully made something on their own fills a child with a great sense of pride which leads to more confidence in their own abilities. 

* Tie dye lends itself to self-expression and uniqueness. Children learn about uniqueness and the beauty of a hand-made thing. These are old-fashioned values that have been lost in our mass produced society. 

* The Wow Moment! Kids love the moment when the bindings come off and the end result is finally revealed. I call it the Wow Moment. After more than tweny years, I still experience it every time I open a new tie dye. 

* They get to wear what they have made. Kids get an even bigger boost to their confidence when they are praised for work well done. Every time they wear their tie dye, somebody will tell them how beautiful it is, or ask where they got it. 

* Conclusion…tie dye is a kids-confidence-builder…and it is fun!