Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tie Dye

I recently helped my cub scouts tie dye shirts, and then helped my playgroup friends do it. It was such a big hit that I am going to post directions here.

You'll need:

Dylon Permanent Fabric Dye (I actually prefer Rainbow Rock brand, but it's impossible to find now. On the up side, I have discovered that the Dylon dyes contain soda ash, so that makes it a little more affordable)
kitchen salt

"sport top" water bottles (at least 16 oz, but 20 or 24 oz would be better)
Rubber or plastic gloves
elastic bands
Garbage bags or plastic grocery sacks (watch for holes in those though)
Clothes to dye- 100% cotton is best. The higher the cotton content, the better the dye will take. Something that is 100% polyester will probably not take the dye very well.

I have found the dylon dye at Walmart, Jo-Anne's, and Hobby Lobby. I can't speak for everywhere else, but Walmart was a dollar cheaper, but Hobby Lobby had the best selection.

To prepare the dye: Each dye packet will make four cups of dye. If you want to be really precise, you can make the dye in a pitcher (probably ought to not drink out of it again if you do that). If you do the whole thing at once, you have the entire packet of dye, 4 c. of water and 4 tbl. salt. If you are sloppy like me, do the following: Put 2 c. of water in the water bottle, 2 tbl. salt, and half of the dye into the bottle. Using a funnel makes it much easier. Just make sure that you rinse it off really well in between colors.

Wring the clothes out as much as you possibly can. Then use elastics to create your designs.

To make a swirl like these:

Start in the middle of the shirt, and take a pinch, making sure you get both layers of the shirt.
Start to twist it in a circle. Form a hurricane type looking design, like this:

Once the shirt is in a large swirled circle, use elastics to hold it into place.

To make dots, like this:

Take a pinch of fabric, and put the elastic like this. The smaller the pinch, the smaller the polka dot. The larger the pinch of fabric, the larger the spot.

To make this bulls' eye looking design:

Pick the center of the bullseye, and take a pinch. Pick the whole thing up, holding only that pinch. You will then add elastics like this: (the pinch is on the left)

To do horizontal stripes like this:You want to kind of accordian fold the shirt like this: Once it's all folded up, put the elastics along the shirt, so that it kind of looks like a snake. If you want to have vertical stripes, accordian fold the shirt starting at the bottom and work your way up.

Place the shirt in the bag, and put on your rubber gloves. Apply the dye to the clothes, squeezing the shirt every once in a while to make sure the dye is soaking through. Most people make the mistake of not applying quite enough dye, or not pressing it through to make sure the clothes are thoroughly soaked.

When finished, wrap the bag up, and let it soak, at least overnight. 24 hours is the best.

Take the shirt out of the bag, and rinse thoroughly, while removing the elastics. Rinse until the water runs clear.

Wash your tie dye clothes separately immediately after, and tumble dry. I've never separated them after that, but I don't advocate that for anyone else. I'd hate for it to inexplicably bleed colors on your clothes.