Using Dye to fix faded repro equipment?

Question and opinion regarding Living History / Reenacting.
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82ndrecontbp
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Using Dye to fix faded repro equipment?

Post by 82ndrecontbp » Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:04 pm

Has anyone had any luck staining or dying faded repro WW2 equip?
Some of the musette bags on my jeep were mil-tech and early ATF cheap repros. They have stood the test of time accordingly. They're now mostly an icky yellow/white color. (and its not like my jeep gets parked outside in the sun!)

FYI - The later ATF runs and WWII Impressions bag still look perfect - you get what you pay for.

I've tried a hot tea bath, and even after two days and dozens of tea bags,nothing. i even added coffee. Hot, cold, swishing, sitting, yes i tried it. I even let it sit for most of a week. MAYBE got a shade darker, that did not take.

Anyone have success in repairing this fading? Looking for a cheaper option than buying 4 new musette bags.

Thanks in advance,
Tom

Steve Webb
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Re: Using Dye to fix faded repro equipment?

Post by Steve Webb » Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:16 am

Try Rit dye.

https://www.ritdye.com/

I used some to change color on some gas can straps and it worked o.k.. Economical enough
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Re: Using Dye to fix faded repro equipment?

Post by waayfast » Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:55 pm

What color of dye did you use on the gas can strap? Or was it a combination of colors?
I have a good condition original strap on a gas can holder that could use a "refresh". I also have a bunch of canvas that is close to "British Racing Green" that was used for a boat cover I'm thinking of using for the seat on a Cletrac. Trying to "adjust" that to a bit closer to O.D.

Any insight or tips welcome, thanks.

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Re: Using Dye to fix faded repro equipment?

Post by chibobber » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:33 pm

Found on a Google search.
RIT Dye formula for Olive Drab: 1/2 cup dark green
1/4 cup dark brown
This is the liquid variety. Try it at your own risk :) .I have never done this.

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Re: Using Dye to fix faded repro equipment?

Post by Steve Webb » Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:27 pm

I only used one color but it was too long ago to remember any details. I think I posted it and will try to find it.
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82ndrecontbp
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Re: Using Dye to fix faded repro equipment?

Post by 82ndrecontbp » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:20 am

OK - Since my thread was about dyeing equipment, specifically Musette bags...So I am looking for "khaki" that actually takes to webbing.

And RIT recipes vary tremendously between liquid and powder, and the material being dyed. Those recipes you posted should be used with EXTREME caution and tested on something non-essential. Their idea of OD is not suitable for any WW2 material I have ever seen. GREAT for 60's ChiCom though.

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Re: Using Dye to fix faded repro equipment?

Post by Steve Webb » Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:10 pm

It was a long time ago but I found picture. it is darker than it shows and one is nylon and the other is not. 2009

Image
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Re: Using Dye to fix faded repro equipment?

Post by dwesol » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:25 pm

82ndrecontbp,

I think the easiest, and least expensive, would be the Rit dye Plenty of colors to choose from Easy to follow instructions. You can do it in your washing machine, if you wish. Start by experimenting with one of the faded bags you described.

My Rit Dye experience was with small, cotton items. Hats and gas mask bags. And dark colors, navy blue and black.
Those items were dyed 20 years ago and still hold their color, pretty much.
Dan
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Re: Using Dye to fix faded repro equipment?

Post by John Neuenburg » Thu May 14, 2020 10:29 pm

In your next life you should come back as a collector of 20th century British army equipment. You can resurrect the faded or dirty equipment. Units usually blancoed their web gear and many canvas items for uniform color. Blanco was a hard cake or powder made into a paste colorant using water and brushed onto cotton items. It came in tan, light and dark green, white, blue, black, shades. Like painting. Units required certain colors. So the Brit living historian can buy a cheap bag or belt and color it to look like the rest of his kit and be correct doing it. Postwar the stuff got more like paint.

Dyes are subject to the absorptiveness of the cotton and this can vary from item to item and even across a single item due to contaminants or because fabric from different lots are combined in one piece of equipment. I think adding a surfactant (soap) will help dye penetration.

Maybe try coating rather than dyeing the bag? Re-stamp the U.S. stencil. But with American equipment it's not good to go totally STRAC on the color of everything unless going for a postwar MP or European Constabulary look.
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82ndrecontbp
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Re: Using Dye to fix faded repro equipment?

Post by 82ndrecontbp » Tue May 19, 2020 9:58 am

So I will try to add photos - but here's what I learned through trial and error. My goal was trying to achieve something close to OD#7 (aka dark khaki that was predominant color (range) of US web gear). I used several makers' musettes and a thompson drum mag pouch. Various makers, various results.

-Washing the item first does help. Suggest putting in a laundry bag with all buckles and button undone/open, to protect your machine.
-Pre-soak the item in warm water.
-Use CAMEL or TAN liquid RIT dye, adding ONLY ONE DROP of brown. (you will be shocked at the differences between batches with two and three drops (they become an unusable dark brown)
-Let it dry naturally, and in several days you will see the true color that has taken. Unless it's high quality repro, this is the point where you realize you wasted your time and money on cheap gear, and the "good" stuff is better in every way.

Exec Sumary -
Mil-Tech (sold under many brand names now) and similar cheap repros are simply not worth the money in the long run. The fading occurs rapidly even on garage queen vehicles.
If you're buying repro equip; Spend the extra on the WWII impressions gear, or the US made AtTheFront items. The foreign stuff just has too much polyester type fabric that fades FAST and will NOT take dyes. The fading on the "good stuff" occurs much more slowly if at all.
Once faded, Tea/Coffee baths do not help restore cheap repros' color.
RIT dye does not take to repro equip with any worthwhile efficacy. It will revert to ugly shades of pink, yellow, and white in a matter of weeks - sooner when exposed to sun and/or rain.

Hope this all helps save someone some time and effort.
Hope you make better investments on the small items that make your vehicle look realistic than I did the first time around.

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Re: Using Dye to fix faded repro equipment?

Post by Steve Webb » Tue May 19, 2020 6:52 pm

It all adds to the knowledge for everyone.
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