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How to Dye Wooden Roof Shingles for Doll Houses

Updated on September 7, 2010

Getting Started

This is the first time I have had a roof to shingle. First you need to decide what color you want to dye the roof shingles. I decided to dye mine dark gray. I dyed the shingles too dark. My suggestion is when you make the dye solution-test a shingle.

The dye for the shingles is a special one-it is dye that is used to dye reeds for basket weaving. Just Google "basket weaving reed dying". I chose to go to the Real Good Toys site and order the dye from them. If you ask, they have other colors they can mix up for you. Real Good Toys dye is also sold at Hobby Lobby.

A package of Real Good Toys dye is 1/4 oz. of dye, that is mixed with 1 1/2 oz. of water and will dye 1,000 shingles.  This is information for you to use if you decide to use the basket weaving reed dye.



Cut two plastic gallon milk jugs in half. Save the lids.







Put a plastic drop cloth on the floor. Put a large stack of newspaper on top of it. I found it worked better if I put a thick layer of news paper first, then open sheets of full pages of news paper on top.






First put on some rubber/latex gloves. Open the dye package very carfully-do NOT inhale dye powder. I worked over the kitchen sink. My sink is stainless and the dye did not stain it.






Slowly and carefully pour powder dye into the "bucket" (bottom of cut off milk jug).







Depending on how intense you want the color is how much water you put in the "bucket". I used 1 1/2 cup of warm water and it dyed them pretty dark.







Mix dye and water with your gloved hand completely.



This is where I differ from the directions on the package.  As previously suggested, take one shingle and test it in the dye.  The shingles absorb the dye very quickly.  The package directions suggest to put two handsful of shingles in the dye.  I found you can not control the color putting that many shingles in the dye.  One handful will due.

Stir the shingles in the dye by putting your gloved hand under the shingles and lift bottom shingles to top.  Work quickly, so you don't over dye the shingles and all the shingles get a coat of dye.


Pour the dye with the shingles in it into the funnel top of the milk jug-make sure the cap is on the funnel.  Put the drain hole over the other jug bucket and take off the lid and let it drain out into the bucket.  Put the lid back on the funnel top and dump the drained shingles on the middle of the news papers.

Repeat the above instructions until the 1,000 shingles are dyed-always pouring the drained shingles on top of the last pile of shingles

When finished dying, leave the shingles in a pile for an hour.  The longer in the pile, the more intense the color.  Stir the shingles and push them on clean news paper to a depth of 1".  Stir them again every few hours the first day.  Stir them twice a day for a couple of days.  By the 5th day they are done.


When finished dying, pour the left over dye into a clean jar with a lid.  Mark jar with a label.  Put lid on tight and put into refrigerator.  Save the left over dye for touch ups on the shingles.

Rinse everything under water completely.  Comes off skin very eaily. 


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      7 years ago

      I found the pictures and directions very, very helpful. I just finished dying 1400 shingles. I am hoping that they get darker. In addition to your directions (latex gloves), I would recommend more than one pair of gloves. Vinyl gloves don't stand up at all. Saying that the job was messy is an understatement. Thanks again for all your help.


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      Kate Merchant 

      8 years ago

      Good grief I hope not. Sammy does not destroy much. Him is a good kitty.


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      8 years ago

      Hint: Dye a few extra shingles as you may need them if some get knocked off (or chewed off -- as in by your cat!)


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