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Mini Tutorial #10 - Dying Fur

Although fake fur can't be dyed in the proper sense, since the plastic fur fibers do not absorb colour pigments, it is possible to paint larger areas of fur for use in accents with reasonable coverage and little loss in texture.


Our materials: the fur to be dyed (in this case Monterey Mill's white fox), acrylic paint (artist's quality paint is preferred), a container to mix it in (a paper dixi cup), and something to mix it with (a plastic spoon), plus a table that you can get dirty/a container large enough for the fur. You'll also need a slicker brush.

Mix up some of the paint with water. Insure you break up all the lumps or that will affect the fur later on. The consistency doesn't matter as long as it's easily pourable.

Flip the fur so the backing is facing up and pour the paint on . Try to cover as much area as you can from edge to edge.

Then fill up your container with water and then pour it on as well. Too much water will dilute your paint more than needed and not enough will result in the paint not covering all of the fur. Use your best judgment.

Now grab the fur and 'mix' the paint into it. Roll it up and squeeze out the paint and then mop it back up into the fur. Don't try to 'rub' the paint in but just gently use the water to carry the paint pigments to the undyed area.

Once there is no white fur left, lay it fur side up and brush out the fur with a slicker brush. It will be drippy so lay it out flat to keep the water pooled in and around the fur.

IMPORTANT: Do not squeeze out the water - the water carries the paint and you need it to dry by evaporation so it leaves the paint behind as it dries.DON'T hang it up or lay it on a grate where the water can drip out.

Then as it dries, occasionally brush out the fur so that it does not clump. If you have any clumps of paint, get rid of them or the fur there will dry hard like a rock and you'll not be able to remove them later.

For deep colours, one coat will not be enough. Once the paint has dried fully and cured for a few days, you can repeat the process for a darker result. Do this as many times as you want though the fur will of course get a bit rougher the more paint that is in it.

EDIT: The finished tail using the new blue fur:

crossposted fursuit and beetlecat



( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 27th, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC)
Your coding is messing up my page ;_;
Jul. 27th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
Good? I found a slash I'd forgotten
Jul. 27th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
It no longer messes up my page, but it isn't LJ-cut like the one on LJ fursuit is. Dunno if that's intentional or not.

But at any rate, thanks for the tutorial! I tried to do this sort of once, but I didn't think to water it down... that would have worked a lot better. ._.
Jul. 27th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
Heh .. my very first attempt had me trying to water down the paint *on* the fur. Ugh. Uneven and lumpy XD
Mar. 7th, 2013 07:12 am (UTC)
This is a VERY old thread but I have a question I must ask!

How much paint is needed to dye roughly 5 yards of fur? @_@ The fur I got needs to be dyed to get it looking correctly, I appreciate your time and help!
Jul. 27th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)
Just curious if these would work as well? http://www.pettingzoowigs.com/wigsupplies_dye.html
Jul. 28th, 2008 01:51 am (UTC)
Since I've not used that product I can;t say but I *assume* it's basically the same as watery acrylics or airbrush paint. Which would work yes. If you were doing a large amount of one colour it might be work getting.
Jul. 28th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)
Ah very nice to know. Last time I colored fur, I used a brush and fine artist quality watercolor paint. Similar, but more expensive results. And I think this is the first one that resolves the white backing problem of coloring fur (for those like me who usually just start with white).
Jul. 28th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the instructions!

One ?, how does the color hold up later in the life of the fursuit, in particular, if the fursuit ever gets washed. Does the color fade/run/bleed?
Jul. 28th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC)
It's comparable to airbrushing. It will fade over time with heavy washing. If washed gently and seldom it will hold up well.
Feb. 18th, 2009 10:18 pm (UTC)
If this is the tail I think it is (which would be RaveFox), I've seen it a few times now and it's holding up beautifully.

Another thing I've done that seems to have worked, but involves quite a bit of work, just less time for me, is to pain on air brushing dye using a paint brush and then brushing it every hour, over the course of a few hours.

You have to baby the project for up to five hours, but it renders the same results.

I'll have to try this though when I have more then just markings to do.
Mar. 6th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
Yup, it's Rave's :D

Airbrushing gives a similar result. I like this better when the particular piece of fur is all one colour because it's 1. less labour intensive and 2. it dyes the base which can be a hard spot to reach on thick furs. But otherwise I tend to do everything with the airbrush :)
Mar. 6th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
I will most definitely have to try this technique for my red panda tail though! Simply because the plan is to cut it in sections and go from there.

You wouldn't happen to have any better recommendations? I'd like it to look its best but be less labor intensive. XD
Dec. 31st, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
Is it OK to dry it with a hairdryer?
Mar. 3rd, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC)
Re: drying
My guess would be No. I would never ever use a hairdryer on my fursuit because heat singes the fibers. If you used it on cool, and in the direction of the pile, it might be okay, but at that rate you'd be just as well off with a fan as a hairdryer.
Dec. 23rd, 2011 11:53 am (UTC)
Re: drying

I used this technique, but I needed to paint it 3 times because the color was too light/thin... Anyways, I used hairdryer and it worked fine. You need to make sure that the dryer is far enough from the fur. On the backside, you can move closer. Be sure to turn off the dryer for every 5 mins and comb out the fur, as it tends to clot.
I hope i can help with this. ^^
Jun. 13th, 2012 04:09 am (UTC)
O.O This was acrylic paint used on fake fur...? Will it come out in the wash or if it gets wet though? What can I use that's waterproof?
Apr. 10th, 2013 03:41 pm (UTC)
It's comparable to airbrushing. It will fade over time with heavy washing. If washed gently and seldom it will hold up well.

thats what beetle cat said but i would say there is not really any thing that is water proof other then already colored fur
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )