Back to the 60s: Tie Dyeing

As most of you who’ve followed my blog, you know I love to dye fabric. However, of that dyeing, I rarely tie dye although often people will mistake my ice dyeing for that craft.

However, this past week I’ve been knee deep in tie dyeing for a local Pride service. Here are a few bandanas I dyed to start.

Just in case you don’t know how to tie dye or have forgotten, I thought I’d write a short tutorial on it. When I think of tie dye, I think of the “traditional” tie dye I wore back in the 60s which included the primary colors: red, blue, and yellow. I’m using fiber reactive dyes in Cerulean Blue, Golden Yellow, and Fuchsia. You really can’t go wrong with this color combo.

Mix up the dyes. I’m mixing 10 grams of dye per 240 ml of water.

Be sure to wash your new shirt (100% cotton), and then soak it in soda ash solution for at least 15 minutes. For this project I’m dyeing the simple spiral.

Lay out the shirt flat. Grab the area where you want to start the spiral. For these shirts I start in the upper center of the shirt. However, you can put the spiral, or even spirals, any where you want on the shirt.

Continue to spiral until  you have something like this.

Add three rubber bands to bind it. You are placing them so that the fabric is divided into six sections.

Start adding the dye. I’m starting on this one with yellow, but you can choose any of the three colors. Place the dye on two wedges that are directly across from each other.

Now you can turn it over to make sure you have yellow all the way through, or dye the next sections. Either way works. Just make sure that you do turn it over and add the dye to the same sections.

If it’s a large shirt I like to scrunch it a bit to make sure dye has gotten into the folds. If you don’t do this, you may have more white then you like.

Because I’m touching the different dyes, I always have a container of water next to me where I can dip my hand in to clean off my glove between working with the colors.

Now it’s time to wrap up the t-shirt to keep it moist while it batches. You can use a plastic bag. If you don’t have any of those around (I had recycled all of ours prior to starting this project!), you can wrap it in plastic wrap.

And here it is all wrapped up.

I let them batch for 24 hours. You can wash them out sooner, but I want to make sure the dye has plenty of time to react.

After the batch time, I rinse the shirts in cold water. When the rinse water is almost clear, I add warm water and then increase to hot. Next I add Blue Dawn to hot water and let the shirts sit in there for 30 minutes or more.

If after this time, the water is not clear, I will do a little more hand rinsing. Then the fabric goes into the washing machine for a hot wash, and two rinses. I always peak in the washing machine on the second rinse to make sure the water is clear. Then they go to the dryer.

Here are just a few of the shirts I tie dyed.

Earlier I mention people often comment on my ice dyed shirts calling them tie dye. Anymore, I just thank them and quit defending the dyeing! One guy told me he’s never seen tie dye like that before. That was an opening for me to tell him that it wasn’t tied at all.

But tie dye is not just primary colors. I’ve mentioned this book before, but it’s worth repeating. Her designs and color combinations are absolutely stunning.

Tie Dye

Meanwhile, Puddin sits in her bed on top of a dyed blanket! She doesn’t seem to care whether it’s tie dyed or not!

Check out what others are creating at Off The Wall Friday.

Hope you’re having a colorful and fun day!