Dye can allow you to create tulle in any color of the rainbow.

How to Dye Tulle

by Michelle Powell-Smith

Need just the right colored tulle or you're going to die? Simply dye to avoid a dismal demise. Dyeing tulle can give you a custom-colored petticoat for a wedding or formal event, allow you to create colorful tutus for the little darlings in your life or help you to make custom decorations for your next event. While you can buy colored tulle, the options are often limited. With dye, you can create any color you like.

Dyeing in a Top-Load Washer

Prewash your nylon tulle in the washing machine on warm using your usual detergent to remove any finishes, starch or other additives that might interfere with the dye process.

Set your washing machine to the longest, hottest cycle available. Allow the washer to fill with hot water.

Dip the tulle in the water to wet it thoroughly and remove it temporarily.

Put on your gloves. Add between .25 ounces and 3.5 ounces of dye to the washing machine. Use less dye for light colors and substantially more for deep shades -- including reds, dark brown or black. Agitate to mix until the dye has dissolved completely. Return the tulle to the washing machine and agitate for three to five minutes.

Open the washing machine and add 1 cup of white vinegar. Close the washing machine and reset the washer to the longest possible cycle, but avoid allowing it to drain.

Wash using a specialty detergent designed to set dye. After you’ve completed the dyeing process, run your washing machine through an empty cycle to remove any dye residue.

Dyeing on the Stove Top

Prewash your tulle in the washing machine, using your usual laundry detergent.

Add enough hot water to a large stainless steel or enamel pot for the tulle to move freely. Put the pot on the stove and set the heat to medium-low.

Put on your gloves and add to the pot between .33 ounces and .66 ounces of dye per pound of tulle. Stir well with a wooden or plastic spoon.

Wet your tulle thoroughly and add it to the dye pot. Heat to just below boiling, between 185 degrees and 200 degrees. Stir well and add 1/4 cup of white vinegar per pound of tulle.

Maintain the heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Rinse well and wash with a dye-setting detergent by hand or machine.

Items you will need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Nylon tulle
  • Laundry detergent
  • Acid dye made for dyeing wool, nylon or silk
  • Washing machine
  • Vinegar
  • Dye-setting detergent
  • Water thermometer
  • Stainless steel or enamel pot, designated for craft use
  • Wooden or plastic spoons, designated for craft use


  • These instructions are designed for acid dyes, available from specialty retailers and some craft stores. Other types of dyes, like those sold for tie-dye, will not work. If you’re dyeing a sewn garment, like a petticoat, don’t be surprised if the thread, elastic, or other elements of the garment don’t take dye as well or in the same way as the nylon tulle does. If you're sewing your own garments, dye before you sew to choose matching notions. If you're dyeing a ready-made garment, look for one with cut edges, rather than sewn hems.


  • Always follow all manufacturer's directions. Do not reuse dye pots or utensils for food. While nylon tulle will dye easily with acid dyes, polyester tulle does not dye well. If you’re planning to dye your tulle, be certain to buy nylon tulle. While lighter colors can go darker, darker ones can't go lighter. Start with white tulle for the best results.

About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images