This is part two of me learning how to dye dollhouse shingles. You can read about part one here.
All the Shingles Are Dyed. Time to Clean Up?
First, here’s the pile of totally dyed shingles heaped together per the instructions:
I’m not going to lie. I have no idea why I’m supposed to do this. But, since I’m a total newbie on how to dye dollhouse shingles, I went with it.
I will say this, as an expert hair dyer, you do have to let that stuff sit on your hair for 30 to 40 minutes, so I get the idea of allowing the color sit for a while. That’s how it does its job. But, this said to let the shingle heap sit for the better part of a day.
And, I had to stir the heap every couple of hours. I guess maybe to break up the shingle clumps to help the dye drain off and help make sure the dye is spread evenly over all the shingles. Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t stir my hair when I dye it. But, as a newbie, I’ll defer to the instructions on this one.
Here’s how much dye I had left over.
You’re supposed to put it in the refrigerator to keep for touch-ups.
I did not see this ending well. It’s hard to tell, but those are short sides on my dye “bucket.” And, let’s not forget, that dye is liquid. How the heck am I supposed to get it from my backyard and in the fridge without splashing it everywhere? Yeah, I could transfer it to a container but what container? And, I know it’s going to splash when I transfer it.
I said, “nope,” and did this instead:
That’s right. I wrapped it up in a grocery bag (guess from where!) and placed it in the shadows so it wouldn’t heat up in direct sunlight. I have no idea if sunlight is bad for shingle dye. But, I will say that when I dye my hair, I use heat to help the process along, so my guess is that’s why I was supposed to put it in the refrigerator — to stop the dye from activating.
Then it was time to sort of clean up.
How does one sort of clean up?
I wasn’t sure how this shingle dye job was going to look, so I didn’t want to throw anything out or clean the plastic off until I was sure I loved how the shingles look.
But, I had dye on my ungloved hand and my arms — just a few splashes but nothing major.
I didn’t want red-brown hands, so dye expert that I am, I grabbed this:
It’s from a beauty supply store and is fantastic for getting unwanted dye off skin!
But, you have to get to the unwanted dye quickly. The longer you let it sit on your skin, the more set in it will get. You can still get the dye out with this stuff, but you’re going to have to rub pretty hard.
Second, it has been my experience that it only works on skin. I know it says it can “assist” in removing stain from clothes, but ask my bathroom rugs their opinion on that.
The Waiting Game
Then, I had to wait on the shingles. I stirred them with my gloved hand every few hours, but that’s all I could do.
Side note, I had a lot of leftover dye, so I started another project with it.
After a few hours, I decided to check the shingles. Here’s what I had:
That’s some very uneven dying. And, I promise, this is not a result of weird lighting or bad camera angles.
It’s not bad, but it’s not awesome. I’m not loving how this is turning out.
So, I repeat the whole process. Here’s the second heap:
It’s a lot darker. It kind of scared me, to be honest. But, oh well, I’m stuck now!
And More Waiting
I stirred the heap every few hours. And, on the last stir, this is what the pile looked like. It’s still a little uneven, but the color! I love it. That is fantastic!
Then, and only then, was it time to clean up (sorry, no pics)
I washed the excess dye down the drain in the utility sink. Protip: don’t run the water while you’re pouring the dye down the drain. It might seem like a good idea, but it’s not. It does not help wash the dye down the drain. If you run the water while you’re dumping, you’ll end up splashing the dye all over the bottom of the sink. Carefully pour down the drain, then rinse.
The paper that took up the excess dye went in the trash, as did the gallon container. The plastic tarp I kept outside until the splashed dye was dry. Cleaning that off will be a whole other project.
Then I moved my heap of dollhouse shingles to the basement.
I couldn’t leave them outside, and they needed a place to dry overnight. The basement is cool, and I knew no one would disturb them. Plus, there was rain in the forecast, and I feel like rain on newly dyed dollhouse shingles wouldn’t be a good thing.
The Next Day
The next morning, I checked on my heap.
They look even better. And, they’re basically dry. I spread the dollhouse shingles out on clean newspaper to help them dry a little better.
I pulled a few shingles out to check for consistency. Unfortunately, it’s still uneven.
I knew going in that one of the problems with batch dying small pieces of wood (like dollhouse shingles) is an uneven dye job. But, I wasn’t expecting this level of uneven. Some of the shingles are way darker on one side than the other.
I suppose it could be my technique. I probably didn’t separate the shingles very well during the second dye, so some of this is probably on me.
Wait! You Said Five Days
I know. And that’s still true. I think.
I try to build and write in real time. Meaning, I build (or dye, or glue) then write the post the same day (or the next). The truth is, the shingles are still drying in my basement. I’ve been checking on them daily, but it hasn’t been five days yet. When that happens, I’ll share the final results.
But, I get why the instructions say five days. Depending on where you live, where you dye (and dry) your shingles, and how much dye you use, it might take a few days (like, you know, five) for these shingles to dry. You’ve got to keep going back to them, checking them, stirring them, spreading them out, and so on.
That’s not to say that dying dollhouse shingles takes five days. I think the better way to say it is that it takes “up to” five days to complete the whole process. There’s no way to know how long the whole process will take when you start. You have to allow at least a full day to dye, heap, and stir the shingles. Then, they have to dry. That’s the part that varies. There’s no way to predict how long it will take your dollhouse shingles to dry.
My advice is to budget five days for dying dollhouse shingles. This way, if it takes less than five days, you’re happy and pleased with the extra time you get back. And, if it takes all five days, at least you planned for it.
Wrapping It Up
For all of the problems I found with this technique (not that there’s that many), I can’t think of a better way to dye dollhouse shingles. I suppose I could dye them one at a time and get a very even finish. But, there’s like 1000 shingles in one bag. I want to assemble this thing before I die.
In this newbie’s opinion batch dying is the best way to dye dollhouse shingles, unless I’m missing something (in which case, call it out in the comments!). You’ll end up with an uneven finish, but I don’t know how to prevent that (again, comments!).
That said, since these are shingles, they’re going to be layered (I think) on the roof, so hiding imperfections might be easy. And, I can pick the side I want facing up, so too dark on one side isn’t a problem.
Plus, I have a feeling I’m not going to use all these shingles. So, the really bad ones may end up in the spare parts pile.
Phew. Did I miss anything? Any advice for this newbie?