Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dyeing: using the bar-b-cue

Often I am asked at Studio Tours or Exhibitions and Sales, "Do you dye your own cane?" The answer is, "Yes." The question that then follows is "How?" The answer, "I dye on my bar-b-cue."

After lighting the bar-b-cue, I place my wash bucket, containing two pails of water on it. I add Rit dye of a selected colour and then place the selected skein of rattan cane into the mixture. (Rubber gloves are essential unless you want to be a charter member of the Black Hand Gang.)

I ensure the skein is fully immersed and that all parts of the cane get dyed. This involves swishing it, turning it over several times, and thoroughly enjoying the process.

The skein is removed and hung to drip. (Last week when I dyed about a dozen different skeins the decking was wet following an overnight rain. A quick mopping ensured the deck was not dyed too.) Other skeins of different cane size, flat and round, were then dyed the selected colour. The dye vat was emptied and a new colour selected.

When all the cane chosen had been dyed, I then soak each skein in cold salt water to set the dye. Then I rinse in clean water an hang to dry.

I learned that dyeing on the bar-b-cue is much more fun than dyeing on the kitchen stove. I no longer have to spend as much time cleaning as I did dyeing.


  1. That sounds like a really awesome idea! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I would love to see pictures of that BBQ cane dying and cane deck drying. Very interesting.