Give your dress a new purpose with black fabric dye.

Can You Dye a Wine Satin Dress Black?

by Chance Henson

Every woman who has been a bridesmaid has been forced to deal with the dress dilemma. Some bridesmaid gowns should be boxed up and forgotten, but your wine colored satin dress has genuine potential -- if you use your imagination. Satin, which is made from silk, is a luxury material that can withstand the heat of color treatments. You can take advantage of inexpensive fabric dye by transforming a one-use bridesmaid's gown into a modern and elegant little black dress.

Cover your workspace with newspapers or plastic to protect your counters and floors from dye splatter. Clean all accidental dye splashes immediately with chlorine bleach to prevent staining.

Fill a large metal cooking pot with three gallons of hot water, and place the pot on a stove. Add one tablespoon of mild laundry detergent to the water, and stir until the detergent is dissolved.

Dip the end of a cooking thermometer into the hot water to determine its temperature -- the water should never be hotter than 140 degrees Fahrenheit when dyeing silk fabrics. Heat the water on the stove to 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, and check its temperature regularly to ensure that it does not climb higher than 140 degrees.

Cover your hands with rubber or plastic gloves to protect them from dye stains.

Mix one package of powdered fabric dye or one-half bottle of liquid dye with two cups of hot water. Stir the dye until the powder is dissolved or the liquids are mixed. Add the solution to the large pot of water.

Fill a sink with hot water. Submerge the dress into the water, and work over it with your hands until it is soaked.

Drain the sink and squeeze out the excess water. Gently place the dress into the dye bath. Take care to not splash the hot dye on yourself or your counter when adding the garment to the pot.

Stir the dress continuously for five minutes.

Add one-half cup of distilled white vinegar to the pot to give the dress even coloration, then resume stirring.

Stir the pot constantly for 30 minutes to one hour. Check the temperature of the dye every five minutes, and adjust the heat on the stove as necessary.

Remove the dress from the pot, then rinse it in the sink with warm running water. Slowly cool the running water until the dye ceases to run out of the fabric, and then rinse the garment completely with cool water.

Squeeze the excess water from dress, then hang it outdoors to dry.

Clean your workspace and tools with chlorine bleach and hot water.

Items you will need

  • Newspapers or plastic
  • Large metal pot
  • Mild detergent
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Rubber gloves
  • Medium bowl
  • Black fabric dye (liquid or powder)
  • White vinegar
  • Chlorine bleach


  • Always read the care tag attached to garments before attempting a hot-water color treatment.


  • Never leave a hot stove unattended.

About the Author

Chance Henson earned a B.A. in English literature and a writing minor from Lamar University. While interning at the "University Press" newspaper and "UP Beat" magazine he received an award for news feature writing from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. Henson went on to serve as content editor for "CUSH Magazine," eventually leaving to pursue the development of an online secular humanist educational publication.

Photo Credits

  • Images