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Home > Articles > Fall 2003: Dyeing Your Gloves

Fall 2003: Dyeing Your Gloves
Professor Handbell

Hello, fellow campanologists and handbell enthusiasts! Professor Handbell here, applying the rules of science to the wonderful world of handbells. By using scientific experimentation, I hope to add illumination and lessen complication for your ringing situation!

In this issue, we’ll focus on dyeing your gloves. The first question that needs to be asked is: why dye your gloves at all? Well, there are several reasons. First of all, white gloves can be dyed to match a specific robe or outfit color. Secondly, certain glove sizes are available in white but not black, a situation that can be easily remedied by dyeing. Finally, gloves can be “tie-dyed” for a whimsical or fun look.

In our glove dyeing experiment, we used the old stand-by, Rit Dye. It is readily available at most grocery or chain stores and comes in a variety of different colors, 35 to be exact. If a specific color is not found at your favorite store, it can be purchased from the web site, which also provides color mixing “recipes” for almost 70 more colors!

Rit Dye is found in liquid or powder form. We chose the liquid, as it just seemed easier to use. Directions are found on the back of the bottle, but for more in-depth help, check out the handy, dandy web site. We decided on the “stove top” method over the “washing machine” method for a number of reasons:

1) It just seemed easier (Professor Handbell loves the easiest way!), 2) It was recommended for a darker dye job (in our case, black), and 3) Mrs. Professor Handbell said there was no way I was using the washing machine for some science experiment!

Okay, so the dye was chosen (Rit), the color was chosen (black), and the method was chosen (stove top). All that was left was the dyeing itself. All in all, things went fairly smoothly and easily. Your experiment will go well also by following these guidelines…

When dyeing a dark color, remember that the longer the fabric stays in the dye bath, the truer your color will be. Be patient, better to overdo it in this situation.

When you are done with the dye bath, be sure to rinse your gloves thoroughly until the water runs clear. This will make sure the fabric has been fully dyed and will lessen the chance of fading.

After following all the steps in the dyeing process, dry your gloves immediately. This will help ensure your color stays true and also helps guard against fading.

Clean up immediately. Of course, being careful while you work is the best way to make sure things stay clean. Any spots or stains can be easily removed using a bleach-based cleaner. Mrs. Professor Handbell especially appreciated this step!!!

Go to the web site. I know I have harped on this already, but it really is a fantastic resource, providing more helpful hints to make your own experiment a success. Also, if you are interested in tie dyeing (I did a pair this way, and they are COOL!), full instructions can be found here.


That’s it for now, fellow ringers. I’ll be back in a future issue with another experiment. Until then, let me know how your own experiments go by dropping me a line at And if you have any ideas for future science projects, I’d love to hear those, too!