Dyeing Baby Clothes: The Do’s and Don’ts

Dyeing Baby Clothes

Since we only have one girl, the majority of our stuff is pink. Lots of pink. Tubs of pink.

While we are thrilled to have a baby boy on the way, I realized that unless I want to dress him in pink and flowers (which I realize wouldn’t kill him, but not my particular style) there were very few clothes I could repurpose for him. I was trying to think of some creative ways to turn girl clothing into boy clothing when the idea of dyeing the clothes came to mind. Could I take pink stuff and turn it blue? Or brown? Or green???

I got excited about the idea and went digging through my tubs of clothes to find some outfits I could try out my theory on. I found a few onesies and shirts that looked like they could potentially be boy clothes if another color.

I then swung by Hobby Lobby and picked up some fabric dye. The only brand they had was Tulip so that is what I got. I used a 40% coupon so got this packet of blue dye for around $1.75.

I followed the directions on the packet and did my first round of pink to blue clothes. I did a second batch of clothes in grey.

Dyeing the fabric was really easy and low maintenance. However, I’d say only half of my clothing was usable for what I was going for. Here are a few of my results with my commentary.

using fabric dye with baby clothesI’m not a pro at fabric dying but I did learn some lessons from this project.

Lessons Learned from Dyeing Baby Clothes

  • Some stitching in clothing does not pick up the fabric dye. If the original color of the stitching is going to look bad with the new color, it may not work well for you. So for example, since the pink stitching didn’t dye blue, the onesie looked kind of funny. It was usable but again, not my preference.
  • Buttons and/or other attachments won’t absorb the new color. Seems like a no-brainer but I didn’t think through the fact that some of my clothing had pink buttons that wouldn’t turn blue.
  • I noticed that stained areas tended to absorb more dye which made the fabric seem splotchy. I was hoping I could use dye to camouflage previous stains but the brand of dye that I used only highlighted the staining.
  • Strictly follow the directions! Don’t try to dye more clothing than your dye amount says it can handle. If so, you will see uneven results.
  • The best results came from simple, white onesies.
  • Try out different dyes. While the Tulip brand gave me OK results, I want to try out a few different brands to see if some of my results were operator error or an issue with the quality of dye.

Like I said, I will probably try to dye a few more items of clothing. Since I won’t have any use for pink clothes, I think it’s worth a shot to try to repurpose them rather than store them away for years with just the CHANCE that I’ll use them again some day.


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  1. Meghan says

    I’m wondering if there are any organic dyes out there for a mama who is trying to use everything organic. I have 2 crib sheets in very light yellow i was hoping to dye pink or black to match her room.

    • Polly says

      Sorry, not sure if I know of any!

  2. I love this idea:) I’ve been thinking about dying my little girl’s pink clothes in preparation for her soon-to-arrive brother. Any recommendations for certain safe-for-infants dyes to use?

  3. samantha says

    I gotta say this is a great idea! It is pure genius. If you have children that are a little older it could be a really fun project to get them excited for the new baby.

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  5. elizabeth says

    I haven’ used Tulip fabric dye but have used Ritz, at least that I think that’s the name, in the past. You can find it at Walmart, Target or most grocery stores. That brand has been around for eons so it might work better.

    • Polly says

      I was actually looking for the Ritz brand because that is what I was familiar with. I think you can dye more clothes at once with how much dye they give you. I think I’ll use that brand in the future. Have you ever tried it?

  6. hickorynut says

    This is a great idea. I have 2 boys and am pregnant with a surprise due in March. If it does happen to be a girl, (can’t even imagine), using a dark pink/purple dye is brilliant. i’m just wondering if there are special washing instrustructions afterwards? does the dye come off easily in the washer then? will you wash all these dyed clothes together to avoid dying something else by accident? thanks for another great tip!

    • Polly says

      I would say pay close attention to what the packaging tells you. I plan to wash mine with very similar colors in cold water for the first few washes.