Home dying fabric in Taiwan

1 Aug

I’d been looking for fabric dye for a while in Taiwan. Apparently such is not easily available on the web, that I could find.

So I lucked out the other day when I came across a hand woven Taiwanese basket shop in the streets behind Taipei Main Train Station, and asked them if they knew a dye shop. They did, and their kind shop owner even took me there directly, though I didn’t buy any baskets from them.

It was a very old dusty store that you wouldn’t have noticed really. So I was really grateful for the directions. In my experience, stores like this either charge exorbitant prices (to make up for their years of under-performing foot traffic), or the same price they charged decades ago when they opened up, which would be considered more than reasonable in today’s market.

This store had the latter.

An old gentleman came out behind a desk and showed me a booklet of sample swatches when I inquired about dye (for plant based fabrics, like cotton). They were good basics, with lighter and richer tones based on the percentage of dye you put in (powder based). Each small container was 50 NT/per. He was patient with me as I looked over the colors. I got 4 colors this time. Here are the instructions (translated from Chinese):

  1. First decide portion of water to fabric ratio
  2. Water to fabric is about 20:1, If you don’t know this, let the water cover the fabric about 3 cm.
  3. The small bottle of dye can dye richer colors of about 0.5kg fabric. For lighter color, use about 0.5%~10% of fabric weigh.
  4. Use a pot and add water, soak fabric wet first then place aside.
  5. Heat water and allow to boil on medium-low fire
  6. Dissolve dye completely in hot water before putting in pot (not directly in pot to prevent inconsistencies)
  7. Add fabric in pot and allow to simmer for 20 min, stirring for even distribution
  8. After 20 min, add salt (same amount as dye used). Notice do not directly add on fabric, but brush fabric to side of pot to add salt in liquid.
  9. Allow to simmer for 20 more minutes, stirring.
  10. Take out of pot and wash with water, until fabric doesn’t wash out with color. Dry (can be in washing machine)
  11. To set color, clean pot, add water (over fabric height), water temp slightly lower than a hot shower (about 35 degree Celsius), add in dye set (about 4 capfuls for 1 shirt), soak for 30 min and dry without washing.

So where is this store I found?

Jiin Bo Dyestuffs Company

Address: 274, Chan An West Rd, Taipei, Taiwan

Tel: 02-2558-5828, 02-25586303, 02-2555-2936

The store owner doesn’t speak English, so you should probably point and purchase. Good luck crafters in Taiwan!


6 Responses to “Home dying fabric in Taiwan”

  1. Jal- July 26, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    where do you get the dye fixative? same place?

    • Grace En-Tien Chang July 27, 2013 at 6:22 am #

      Yes, they sell it there too. Though he seemed to imply that I didn’t need it so I didn’t get it. I found that the color doesn’t fade too much after rinsing, or bleed. Also, the dyes I got were mainly for plant fiber fabrics, so don’t know if there’s another dye that applies to animal based fabrics (wool…etc).

  2. CPat March 18, 2014 at 12:59 pm #


    Thanks for the information. I’ve been trying to find the shop on google maps. Does this look like the right area?



    • Grace En-Tien Chang March 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

      Hi, this place should be walkable from the Taipei Main Station, so the location you found is quite a distance away on the other side of the road. Here is the Chinese version of the address


      This should make your google search more accurate!

  3. blueyesintaiwan September 8, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

    I am currently living and working in Taipei! I bought a pair of denim overalls that I would like to dye a darker shade of blue and I have been searching for a place with fabric dye. Your article is a LIFE SAVIOUR! Thank you SO much!

    • Grace En-Tien Chang September 8, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

      So glad this is useful to you! This seems to be one of the few old fashioned stores around Taiwan and I’m sure they would appreciate the business!

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