Editors Note: I have scoured the internet gathering up some great articles on some Cool Tie Dye Designs. Although, these are written instructions, I will be posting some of my personal video tutorials very soon. But for now, I hope these articles by various authors at Ezine Articles, should give you some insight to what the art of tie dye is all about. And how you can achieve some amazing results, and most importantly just have fun! after all that's what tie dye is all about, getting together with family & friends and throwing down a fun filled Tie Dye Party creating unique works of art.
How to Tie Dye
By Bettina Bairley
Are you looking for a creative project that's fun, easy and fairly quick? Tie dying is a great activity for the whole family! The wonderful thing about tie dye is that you can't really mess it up and anyone can do it. Here are the things you'll need to gather before getting started:
Fabric to dye. You can dye t-shirts, bandannas, shorts, socks, underwear...whatever you'd like, as long as your fabric is 100% cotton, rayon, or other natural fiber, otherwise the dye won't hold. Inexpensive cotton t-shirts are perfect for beginners. You should pre-wash them to remove any finishes on the cloth that might interfere with the dying process.
Dye to color your fabric. The three primary colors for tie dye are fuchsia, yellow and turquoise. Other colors can be achieved by mixing two or three of these together, for example, fuchsia and yellow will give you orange. You can buy individual supplies but if this is your first time dying, I recommend a tie dye kit. You can get them in most stores that offer craft supplies or order them online. I've used the Tulip Dye Kits for birthday parties and the shirts turned out beautifully. My dyes of choice however, are Procion MX dyes. You can order kits online through stores such as Dharma Trading Company. I do not recommend using RIT dyes. I've found them to be very messy and the colors run and fade quickly.
Soda ash to pre-soak your shirts in. Some kits have it included. If not, you can find soda ash, (aka sodium carbonate); at any store that sells pool supplies. It comes in powder form and might say 'Ph Increaser' on the bottle.
A bucket to soak your shirts in. Old cat litter buckets work great!
String or rubber bands to tie your fabric.
Rubber gloves are a must when working with dyes otherwise you'll end up with multi-colored hands for the next several days. You can use thin latex gloves or thicker rubber gloves, it's up to you.
Plastic bags or cover to protect your work table.
Plastic squirt bottles to hold the dye, one per color (usually included in kits).
Plastic wrap or plastic grocery bags to wrap your cloth in after dying.
Face mask or cloth to cover your face when mixing the powder dyes.
Synthrapol is an optional detergent you can use to wash your fabric in after it is dyed.
To begin, add one cup of soda ash to your bucket then slowly stir in one gallon of warm water. (If you have a lot of fabric, add a second cup of soda ash and another gallon of water). After the soda ash is dissolved, dunk your fabric into the bucket and saturate it. Don't overload your bucket. Make sure the cloth is loose enough to allow the water to soak throughout. You might need to stir it around a bit and get all the air bubbles out. Let it soak for 15-30 minutes then squeeze out as much water as you can, allowing the soda ash water to run back into the bucket so you can use it again. You can spin out the cloth in your washer (spin only, don't rinse or it will wash away the soda ash) or hang it for a while if you prefer slightly damp cloth. The soda ash water acts as a 'resist' so the wetter your shirt is, the less dye it is going to soak up. You can dry the fabric completely but dry cloth is often more difficult to apply the dye to.
While your shirts are soaking, it's a good time to mix up your dyes according to the instructions. Be sure to use a face mask when working with powders. Another tip...the dyes break down fairly quickly, so you'll want to mix them right before you're ready to apply the dye.
Now that the shirts are pre-soaked and dyes are mixed, let the fun begin! Take your cloth and lay it flat on your protected table. There are an infinite number of tie dye patterns and techniques you can use to tie up your fabric. You can crumple it up and rubber band or tie it together; you can fold it in an accordion fold and tie it; you can place a fork on your shirt and twirl the cotton around and around, into a spiral, remove the fork and rubber band it. Once you've decided on what tie dye design to go with, arrange the fabric and tie it fairly tight with string or rubber bands. If you choose the swirl, secure with 2-3 rubber bands evenly spaced and let them criss-cross in the center of the circle so they form little pie wedges. This will make applying the dye much easier. Let your imagination run wild! There's no right or wrong in tie dye. The key is to fold, crumple or swirl your shirt and tie it securely with string or rubber bands so it doesn't fall apart. The tighter your folds, the more likely you are to leave some white in your cloth.
After you've secured your fabric it's time to add the dye. Choose the color you want to start with and apply it to part of the tied up shirt. If you're doing a swirl pattern, apply one color per wedge (duplicating colors is fine). Whatever tie dye technique you choose, when applying the dye, squirt enough dye to go about half way through the cloth. Occasionally lift your piece and check the underside. If you see the dye bleeding through, you're done so move on to another area/color. Once you've finished dying the top side, flip your cotton over and color the other side. Try to match the colors from side one, or not...it's your tie dye pattern. Again, don't over saturate the cloth or you'll end up with a muddy mess. Don't worry if your colors overlap, in fact I prefer it that way. It will create new colors.
Once you've finished applying the dye, take plastic wrap or plastic bag, wrap your cloth up and place it in a warm spot for at least 24 hours. This is what we call 'batching'. The cloth fibers will spend the next 24 hours reacting with the dyes and turning your white cloth into a tie dye masterpiece.
After a long 24 hours, it's finally time to untie your cloth and rinse it out. Rinse it in cold water until most of the excess dye is out. I partially fill my kitchen sink and agitate for a few minutes then drain the water and repeat until most of the dye is out. (Note that turquoise takes a little longer to rinse.) When the water is almost clear, put your fabric in the wash machine and wash in hot water (If you have more than one piece, you can wash them together). Set the machine for a second rinse if your machine allows. I prefer to wash my tie dye shirts in Synthrapol but it's your choice. If you get a kit from Dharma it or something comparable, is included.
After washing, you can dry in the dryer or hang dry and it's ready! Enjoy your new tie dye!
Bettina Bairley is a tie dye artist who combines a variety of tie dye techniques as well as shibori, and LWI to create one of a kind clothing. You can view her work at http://www.shopbstees.com. You're one of a kind, why shouldn't your clothing be?
Article Source: How to Tie Dye
Now go and create some of your very own unique and Cool Tie Dye Designs