May 27, 2018

A new sink for the dyeing studio

No pretty pictures in this post, but if you dye fabric yourself or are interested in how it's done, here's a behind-the-scenes look at one key element of the process: the sink.

I'm lucky to have a large space available in my basement where I can do everything connected with dyeing fabric--my "wet studio." The basement has always had the double laundry sink shown in the photo on the left below. The sink was large enough to accommodate two large buckets (I often rinse in one bucket and soak in another), while also giving me the necessary space to wash out all the various containers and equipment that one uses. To the right of the sink, I have a large table with a waterproof covering.  This is where I mix up my dye solutions; there's also a dish rack for the containers/tools that I've washed out. All good, but you can see one problem in the photo below: the difference in height between the table (which is at a good working height) and the sink, which is low and deep, so I was always bending over when using it--not good for my back. Another inconvenience is that the faucets for hot and cold water were separate, so getting just the right temperatures for mixing dye solutions was always an awkward process of having to adjust from two taps. So, several months ago, after a particularly long (and painful) stretch of dyeing and printing napkins, I decided to treat myself to a new sink, shown below on the right.

old sink

new sink

The height of the sink is now even with the table, and the sink itself is less deep, so no need to bend over. The new sink is not as wide as the double sink, but because there's no divider, it didn't need to be. I saved some money by purchasing a less wide unit, but one still big enough to fit two large buckets.

I wanted two faucets so that I could easily fill up two buckets side by side. The faucet on the right (photo below) has a pull-down sprayer, with an easy toggle between a stream of water and a spray.  The faucet on the left is a simple gooseneck faucet. Both of these swing to the side if I need to move them out of the way. The spray faucet is helpful for washing some utensils, and great for washing out silk screens. I've included links above to the specific models, in case someone is considering a new sink of their own. (Ignore the white plastic pipe coming into the sink on the right; that's a drain from something else in the house that needed an exit point.)

Now, I am satisfied with sink as it worked out, but I made some mistakes along the way. Here are the things I didn't anticipate:

  • I ordered a 33" wide sink, thinking that was the measurement of the well of the sink (which is what it looked like on the drawing the plumber made for me). But it turns out that 33" is the measurement from edge to edge, including the rim, so the well of the sink is only about 27" wide.  The base unit had already been constructed, and holes cut in the sink for the faucets, so returning the sink wasn't an option. It turns out that it is still wide enough for my two large buckets, so I'm OK, but I would have liked another few inches. 
  • The water pressure in the spray faucet is not as strong as I had expected; it's less than in the simple faucet. I didn't know that there was variation in this from faucet to faucet; perhaps there was a different one that would have been better on this score. Again, it's workable as is--just takes a little longer to fill a bucket. 
  • The faucet on the left is cold water only; I didn't realize that this is what "single supply" meant in the description. This still works for me, since the main thing I do on the left is fill a bucket with cold water for soaking just-dyed fabrics. But if I'd realized it, I probably would have looked for a faucet with both cold and hot supply.
  • In designing the base, we didn't take into account that there's an input pipe coming out of the back wall, extending about 8 inches, so the unit stands away from the wall.  It's still perfectly functional, just means that soap bottles or sponges put on the back area are more likely to fall off onto the floor.
I will never be doing this again, but perhaps someone else can learn from my mistakes!  If I realized how much I didn't know (and how much the plumber didn't know--I later found out this was the first custom unit like this he had designed), I would have brought in a designer/contractor at the outset to help me think through everything.

If you're thinking of something like this and would like to know how much it cost, send me an e-mail and I'll be happy to let you know: pgold at knox dot edu


  1. Worth it's weight in "Gold" (see what I did there?)
    Love the sink!!

  2. This is definitely a much classier arrangement! And now you have a shelf underneath the sink for extra storage. Well done!