How To Dye A Stuffed Animal In 5 Steps (2023 Updated)

How To Dye A Stuffed Animal In 5 Steps (2023 Updated)

Maybe you’d like to dye your favorite teddy bear because the quality looks washed out. Or perhaps you thought that this stuffed toy would have a really unique and different look in bright pink! 

Whatever your reasons are, you’ve come to the right place. Learn how to dye a stuffed animal today! 

5 Steps In Dyeing A Stuffed Animal 

1. Prepare Your Stuffed Toy 

Prepare Your Stuffed Toy

Of course, the first thing you have to do to start dying a stuffed toy is to prepare the toy itself! 

2. Determine Its Fabric Type

Secondly, determine the fabric type of the stuffed toy you plan to color. Certain fabric types only work with specific dyes; otherwise, you risk wasted effort because it will not work. 

Is your teddy bear made from polyester microfleece and other synthetics? It’s highly difficult to change the color of most materials from fabric type, not to mention costly. 

On the other hand, cotton, mohair, hemp, wool, silk, and nylon are dyeable materials, so if you have teddy bears with fur made from this fabric type, they can be easily dyed with your choice color. Learn how to properly wash your stuffed animal here

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3. Choose A Compatible Dye Type 

Acid Dye

Acid Dye

Stuffed toys made from nylon or wool can be dyed with acid dyes. Boil the stuffed toy in a large pot with acid dye and some salt and vinegar [1] for an hour at 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Rit Dye is a popular brand. 

Note that acid dye will not work on polyester, acrylic, and fabric made from plant fibers. 

Cold Water Fiber Reactive Dye

Cold water fiber reactive dye, like Procion MX, will work in stuffed toys made from cotton velveteen, silk, or rayon velvet. As the name suggests, you don’t need to use heat for it. 

Hair Dye

Hair Dye

Hair dye might be effective for your stuffed toys, but it’s unlikely that the new color will be permanent. It’s okay to use this for plush toys made with protein-based or polyamide material. 

Food Coloring

Food coloring can effectively dye stuffed animals, but it likely will not stay permanent. Polyamide and other protein-based fabrics will work with food coloring.  

Pigment "Dye"

Pigment "Dye"

Pigment “dye” is a bit of a misnomer, as this other type is actually fabric paint. Of course, there’s the risk of changing the original texture of the stuffed toy, but thankfully this one won’t glue the fabric together too much. High-quality fabric paint will also have a much better texture than cheaper ones. 

Dharma Pigment Dye is one of the most commercially-available pigment dyes. 

Pigment dye does not require boiling in a dye bath, but you will need to heat-set it after the paint dries (which will affect its texture). 

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Airbrush Paint

Airbrush paint is another great way to dye your stuffed toy the color you want. Just make sure that you use one specifically for fabric. 

Soft Body Textile Paint

Soft Body Textile Paint

Soft body textile paint is similar to that of airbrush paint. When using soft body textile paint, you will need to mix it with an airbrush medium to reach the desired consistency. This will work best on stuffed animals made from cotton or drawing on details. 

4. Follow The Recommended Dyeing Process

Follow the dyeing process recommended depending on what you’re using. Simply follow the instructions found on the packaging. 

Some dyes will require you to boil the stuffed toy in a pot for a set time. Others will not require hot water; regular tap water will be fine. Take note to rinse properly and hang them out to dry, preferably under sunlight. Find out what's the best stuffing for stuffed animals here

5. Allow Curing Time

Allow Curing Time

Curing simply means putting your stuffed toy in a heated chamber after the dyeing process to evaporate the water and lock in the pigment from the eye. The curing process also varies depending on what was used. 

Read: Easy Crochet Animals For Beginners


Can you dye polyester stuffed animals?

Yes, you can dye polyester stuffed animals, but you have to use disperse dye. The thing is, the process of dyeing with disperse dye requires you to boil the stuffed toy for at least half an hour or more. Teddy bears made from polyester fleece might not be able to withstand that treatment. But how will you make stuffed animals soft again?

How do you dye stuffed animal fur?

The best dye to use for stuffed animal fur is Rit Dyes. Follow the dyeing instructions on the packaging (the stove top method is usually used). We would recommend that you test dyeing a small patch from your teddy’s fur first before you decide to dunk the whole piece. 

You can also color fake fur using acrylic paint. Carefully start at the edges of the fur before working your way inwards, even up until the backing. 

So, How Do You Dye A Stuffed Animal? 

It is simple to dye a stuffed toy, but it’s an intricate method if you want to do it correctly. 

Firstly, you’ll need to determine what type of fabric your stuffed toy has. Certain fabrics require certain dyes. 

Next, follow the instructions found on the packaging. Some will require you to use hot water, while others will work just fine with regular cool water. The length of time used in dyeing will also depend on your desired shade. Take note of the curing process as well. 

All in all, it’s feasible to dye your stuffed toy on your own. Let us know how this goes for you by sounding off below! 

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