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How do you color Squishmallow?


Squishmallows are super soft and squishy plush toys that have taken the world by storm in recent years. These round, colorful creatures come in a huge variety of sizes, shapes and designs. One of the most appealing things about Squishmallows is how bright and vibrant their colors are. This has led many Squishmallow fans to wonder – how exactly are Squishmallows colored? What types of dyes and techniques are used to achieve their signature rainbow bright hues?

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the Squishmallow coloring process. We’ll look at how the plush materials are dyed, the types of dyes used, and some tips for custom coloring or tie-dying your own Squishmallow at home. Whether you’re just curious about how these snuggly creatures get their lively colors or you want to bring your artistic talents to your Squishmallow collection, read on for the details!

Squishmallow Materials

Before we get into the coloring process, let’s first take a quick look at what Squishmallows are made of. Understanding the materials will give us insight into how the dyes interact with the plush.

The outer fabric of Squishmallows is made from ultra-soft polyester. This synthetic fabric is ideal for holding the bright, saturated colors from fabric dyes. The stuffing inside is made from a blend of polyester fibers and foam beads. This filling gives Squishmallows their distinctive soft, squishy texture.

Some key properties of polyester that impact the dyeing process include:

  • Absorbent – Polyester fibers readily absorb liquid dyes.
  • Colorfast – The dyes bond securely to polyester and resist fading or running.
  • Heat resistant – Polyester can withstand the high temperatures sometimes needed to set dyes.

Understanding these attributes will help explain some of the techniques used by Squishmallow manufacturers when coloring the plush.

Commercial Dyeing Process

Squishmallows are produced in large quantities at factories overseas. This allows the manufacturer to employ industrial equipment to dye the plush fabric in mass quantities.

There are a few common ways Squishmallows are dyed on the commercial scale:

Solution Dyeing

This method dyes the polyester fibers before the fabric is even made. The dye is added directly to the polymer solution used to produce the polyester. This results in fiber that is colored all the way through.

Solution dyeing leads to extremely consistent, colorfast results. It’s also a more eco-friendly option since less water, energy and dye is needed compared to post-production dyeing.

Vat Dyeing

In vat dyeing, the finished Squishmallow fabrics are submerged in large vats filled with dye. The fabric soaks up the dye to take on the desired hue.

Vat dyeing requires very high concentrations of dye along with heat to push the dye deep into the fibers. The fabrics are typically agitated or rotated in the vats to improve penetration.


For some Squishmallow designs and patterns, dye is directly applied to the surface of the fabric using a printing process. Digital printing, screen printing, and transfer printing may be used.

Printing allows for precise placement of multiple colors and artistic designs. However, the dye only colors the surface of the plush, not the interior fibers.

Dye Types Used

There are thousands of dye varieties used in fabric manufacturing. But only certain types are well-suited for use on polyester Squishmallow fabric. Here are some of the major dye categories:

Disperse Dyes

Disperse dyes are by far the most common dyes used for Squishmallows and polyester fabrics in general. The dyes are hydrophobic, meaning they have a low attraction to water. This allows them to easily migrate from the dyebath into the polyester fibers.

Disperse dyes bind securely inside the polyester polymer matrix. This makes the colors very wash-fast and lightfast. Disperse dyes create vivid hues and brilliant tones perfect for Squishmallows.

Acid Dyes

Under certain dyeing conditions, acid dyes can also be effective at coloring polyester fabrics like Squishmallows. Acid dyes are water-soluble anionic dyes that work best at acidic pH.

The molecular structure of acid dyes allows them to latch onto amine end groups on polyester polymer chains. This creates a strong, colorfast bond. Acid dyes can be used alone or in combination with disperse dyes.

Pigment Dyes

For printing Squishmallow fabric, pigment dyes are often chosen. Pigments provide very bold, concentrated color from the surface application.

Pigments differ from regular dyes because they are insoluble particles that rest on top of the fiber instead of bonding within. Pigments tend to fade faster than fiber-penetrating dyes. But the vivid color they provide is perfect for printed Squishmallow graphics.

Tie-Dyeing Squishmallows at Home

One fun way to customize a Squishmallow is to tie-dye it at home using fabric dyes designed for polyester. This allows you to create your own colorful, one-of-a-kind design. Here are some tips for tie-dyeing Squishmallows:

Supplies Needed

  • Polyester dye suitable for synthetics
  • Squeeze bottles for dye application
  • Rubber bands
  • Gloves
  • Plastic wrap or trash bags

Prepare Workspace

Cover work surface with plastic or trash bags to protect from spills. Work outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Wear gloves and old clothing you don’t mind staining.

Tie-Off Sections

Use rubber bands to tie off sections of the Squishmallow you want to dye different colors. The rubber bands will act as a resist, preventing the dye from reaching the tied-off parts.

Apply Dye

Put on gloves and squeeze dye directly onto the Squishmallow, concentrating on the exposed sections you want to color. Use twist ties or clips to hold pieces open if needed. Apply enough dye for full, bright coverage.

Seal In Dye

Once dye is applied, wrap the entire Squishmallow in plastic wrap or place in a trash bag. This helps set the dye by keeping it contained against the fabric.

Let it sit 1-2 hours, then rinse thoroughly in cool water until water runs clear. Air dry the Squishmallow, then remove rubber bands. Reveal your colorful tie-dye creation!

Other Coloring Techniques

Aside from tie-dyeing, there are a few other creative ways to customize the color of your Squishmallows:

Ombre Dyeing

Create a graduated ombre effect by dip dyeing a Squishmallow in a dye bath. Immerse just a portion of the plush, leaving the rest above the dye line. Rinse and repeat with different colors to build up a rainbow ombre.


Use fabric paints designed for polyester to hand paint designs right onto your Squishmallow. Let dry fully before use. For best results, heat set the paint with an iron.

Color Blocking

Mask off sections with painter’s tape to color block your Squishmallow. Dye each section a different bright tone. Remove the tape to reveal the color blocked design.

Spray Dye

Use an airbrush tool or fabric spray paint to apply dye to your Squishmallow for a mottled, gradated effect. Layer colors and let dry between coats.

Key Takeaways

– Squishmallows are made from ultra-soft polyester that readily absorbs dyes.

– Commercial production uses solution dyeing, vat dyeing and printing to achieve vibrant colors.

– Disperse, acid and pigment dyes are well-suited for polyester Squishmallow fabric.

– Tie-dyeing with fabric dye is a fun way to create your own colorful Squishmallow.

– Ombre dyeing, painting, color blocking and spray dyeing also let you customize your Squishmallow.

With the dyeing tricks that give Squishmallows their signature rainbow colors, you can now bring out your inner artist and create your own colorful custom Squishmallows!

Dyeing Method Description Pros Cons
Solution Dyeing Dye added to polymer solution before fibers are extruded
  • Very colorfast
  • Eco-friendly
  • Consistent results
  • Limited color options
Vat Dyeing Fabric immersed in heated dye bath
  • Vibrant colors
  • Wide color selection
  • High water usage
  • Dye can leak/bleed
Printing Direct surface application of dye to fabric
  • Precise color placement
  • Multi-color designs
  • Inconsistent quality
  • Fades faster


The vibrant rainbow colors of Squishmallows are created using specialized dyeing and printing techniques tailored for the plush polyester fabric. Solution dyeing, vat dyeing and printing each play a role in producing the varied designs and bright colors Squishmallow fans love. Understanding the dyeing process helps explain how Squishmallows get their signature soft, colorful look. With some basic supplies and techniques, even you can become a Squishmallow colorist right from home!