Dear 'Ballet Moms', Ballerinas & Dance Enthusiasts:
You know how it is. You have your shoes and then you realize your ribbons are the wrong color.
And it's 'crunch time' and you know you won't get your order in time for an upcoming class or performance!
So what do you do? (When you're done weeping as you furiously 'google' every ballet supply house within a 90 mile radius, so you can there and back in the allotted time, that is!)
And will you even have TIME to sew on your elastics and/or ribbons, even if you manage to locate the right ones in European pink or Capezio pink or Freed peach or whatever color you need?
Well, relax, for I have a solution for you which is both quick and easy in emergency situations.
THE TEMPORARY FIX:
Simply drop some yellow food coloring into a few ounces of some 91% isopropyl alcohol at a concentration of three drops yellow coloring per 1 oz of alcohol (to get the color in the photo above). Be sure to stir the solution very well with a plastic spoon!
Yes, you can use 70% isopropyl alcohol, but the higher the percentage the 'better the wetting ability' of the final dye. Don't forget that your fingers have oils which transfer to everything and the alcohol will simply allow the coloring to permeate the ribbon better...especially if it is re-used ribbon.
Wear plastic gloves if you like and be sure to protect the surface on which you are working.
After you've made your solution, it is a simple matter to 'dip and swirl' your pink ribbon until the desired shade is reached.
Blot the excess off the ribbon that has just been dyed and check the color and re-dip if necessary. The ribbon will dry fairly quickly because the alcohol evaporates, but you can also use a blow-dryer on low to speed up the process.
Be sure to do some 'test samples' before you dip your good ribbons (or elastics-this method can be used to temporarily color elastics too.) The duration of dipping is not really long enough to radically affect most elastics available today...But again, EXPERIMENT.
Now I must emphasize that if these ribbons get wet, they will 'bleed' a bit. But one class (or even one standard dance on stage) is not likely to cause any major bleeding problems.
Indeed, it is desirable to keep the satin part of any pointe shoe dry so that 'spotting' does not occur.
Example number 1
Example number 2
When I figure this one out, I'll let you know what caused this discoloration!
But vigorous dancing causes a great deal of perspiration, of course, so this method of dyeing pink ballet ribbons to European peachy pink will only last for as long as the ribbons stay dry.
Still, for the budding ballerina (and more likely than not, her mom or other caring woman) it will definitely be useful.
I don't know how this would work out, but it should be just fine.
I haven't tried using 'Rit' or other permanent fabric dye (in yellow or light orange) as an experiment yet.
So if any of you want to try to do a permanent dye job, so to speak, just remember that we don't want anything toxic against the skin.
Since most wear tights, this won't be a problem, although some dancers prefer to be bare-footed for certain things so as to 'feel the floor better'.
So there you have it. I hope my suggestions will buy you some 'breathing room' when the clock is ticking and your ribbons are not the right color.
Please let me know how your experiments are going by commenting here or by emailing me at BarbaraKSexton@aol.com
Next up: Emergency gluing of ribbons when the clock has you pressured, with just some basic 'tacking' for safety with needle & thread (or dental floss, if that is your preference).
(Sssshhhh....I don't know if you want your Ballet Instructor/Mistress to know about this!)
Traditionalists may 'balk', but I'll be 'blow-drying' my TMT Bloch pointe shoes shortly (they are constructed with a heat-activated 'adhesive paste' that can be molded to the feet and then put in the fridge 'to set'.
I guess I love 'tradition' as much as I love scientific innovation...especially in all the good things in life, like ballet, that make our lives so much better and so much more enjoyable!
God Bless You
Rev. Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"