What is it?
Tie-Dye is the technique of twisting and binding a piece of a fabric, dying it and removing the binds to create a pattern. The designs are usually brightly coloured with bold motifs which make them stand out. Tie-dye is commonly used to decorate clothing, especially t-shirts and scarves, but can also be used to for wall hangings and other household textiles.
What do I need?
The basics you will need are; a plastic cover to protect your work surface, an apron, rubber gloves, various sizes of rubber bands, ziplock bag, cotton t-shirt, bucket/squeezy bottles, dye fixer and fabric dye. You can however buy Tie-Dye kits on Amazon in a wide range of colours which contain everything you need (aside from the fabric) which are less hassle.
How do I make it?
Depending on the type of dye you’re working with, you make have to soak your t-shirt in a dye fixing solution. Once your material is ready to work on, you need to decide which pattern you would like to make. The tighter you wrap your fabric, the larger the white area will be.
If you want to make a striped design for example, roll your t-shirt tightly from top to bottom or left to right, then wrap rubber bands along the length of the roll at intervals which will produce the stripes. By Stephanie Lynn has some great folding techniques you can follow.
Then make up your dyes according to the manufactures instructions. If you want your design to be all one colour, you can just soak it in a bucket of the dye. However, if you want different colours you will find it easier if you fill squeezy bottles with individual colours to dye each section more accurately.
Once you have finished, place your t-shirt into a plastic bag (ziplock bags are ideal) for several hours to allow the dyes to set. The longer you leave the dye, the brighter the colours will appear. When you’re ready, cut the elastic bands away and rinse the t-shirt until the water runs clear. Finally wash the t-shirt in a washing machine to remove any remaining dye and you’re done!
Why do you like it?
I can still remember my first experience with tie-dye, even though it was years ago now! I was in Primary school and our class got to dye a square of fabric each, mine was salmon pink with circles if I recall! I thought it was fascinating and I actually used the same technique again for some of my GCSE art pieces later on in Secondary school.
Have you used a tie-dye kit before? Are there any dyes you recommend? What’s your favourite pattern?