When I sew or do crafts, I sometimes need elastic that matches my project. The less expensive discount elastic only comes in white, so I bought a pack of multi-colored permanent marking pens which I keep with my sewing supplies. It's amazing how well these work to "dye" the elastic. Simply stretch the elastic as far as you can (it's better if someone else does this for you) then color the stretched elastic with your felt-tipped permanent marker on the front and back. You can even make colorful stripes, plaids and polka-dots which are great for kids hair scrunchies and headbands. Next time you need a piece of red, navy or purple elastic, remember this handy trick!
By Cyinda from Seattle
RE: Making Your Own Colored Elastic
I make patterns on linen for rug hooking. I learned the hard way that all markers are not truly permanent, especially red. Even name brand markers like Sharpie. Sadly, when you add water to them, they can run. Maybe you haven't had this happen to you, but I have. Just thought I would toss out a warning to you. I only use the black Rub a Dub by Sharpie now. This doesn't help you with colors though. (03/27/2008)
*** I am making a necklace out of wooden beads that are light in color, but have a wooden tone to them. How would I color the elastic I am using? I do not want white or black elastic to show so would prefer a brown or "tannish" color. I thought of using tea, but did not know if the acid in the tea would effect the elastic. I am concerned that marking pens might rub off on the wearer.
Thanks for any help you can give me.
Linda from WA
Use Clear Elastic Instead
There's a great clear elastic made just for stringing beads, and it costs very little. My daughter and I have made many bracelets with it, and are real pleased with the way it blends in. You can find it at craft stores. Make sure you put clear nail polish on the knots before you trim off the extra.
Use Coffee or Tea
Years ago, I worked in a showroom and watched the clothing designers use both coffee and tea to dye samples for their lines before using the final fabrics. I have been using this trick ever since. It will not harm the elastic, just make sure you rinse it and let it dry before you use it.
Steep In A Cup Of Tea
I'd try just steeping white elastic in a cup of tea. Rinse and let it dry in the sun after staining.
By Wendy from Oz
Use Separator Beads
If the tea dye doesn't come out to the color you want, you can hide the elastic by putting a tiny bead between each of the main beads.
Use coffee, tea, beet juice, or onion skins boiled in water to dye the elastic. Vegetables make wonderful, colorful dyes. You certainly wouldn't have to worry about it coming off of the elastic plus it could come close to the tones in your wooden beads. Simply drop the elastic in one of the above solutions for several minutes to achieve the color tone, rinse in cold water and air dry.
Use a brown (or color choice) permanent marker. Stretch the elastic a bit as you color, with some scrap paper underneath to protect your table surface from marker damage.
Feel free to post your ideas below!