Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tie Dyed T-shirts

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Guess I missed out on the tie dye craze a few decades ago, so our granddaughters roped me in now.   When one of the girls suggested we have a girls’ bonding day to tie dye, I had no idea how to tie dye, what dyes to use or the array of design possibilities.  So being the type of person I am, I started researching tie dyeing so I would be prepared and not feel like a total dummy.  And there’s no better place to start than YouTube.  After watching several videos, I soon learned the basics, tying techniques for the different designs and also that there’s no wrong way to tie dye.  The possibilities are endless.

So off I go to buy shirts and dyes.  Walmart, the only department store in our town is where I found tie dye kits by Tulip.  The kits are prepackaged with dyes and bottles to mix with water, rubber bands, gloves and instructions.  Tulip dyes are advertised as being organic, so I would assume safer for people and safer for the environment.  What more could I ask for?  I also purchased the shirts at Walmart.  The dyes in the kits are fiber reactive so 100% cotton fabric is recommended.  Any fiber reactive dyes can be used, just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for their use.

Our first tie dye day arrived a couple weeks ago and we just had a blast. Earlier in the morning, I prewashed the shirts to rid them of the sizing in the fabric and applied the dyes while they were still damp.  I laid a plastic painter’s drop cloth over my counter for us to work on, laid our shirts on a couple of paper towels and we began our designs.  They all turned out really great. 

One thing I noticed is that most of the videos I watched and the instructions that came with the dye kits fail to emphasize that the shirts need to be turned over to apply color to the back side also.  One of the girls used different colors on the backside than on the front and came up with a gorgeous spiral shirt.

Fabric dyed with fiber reactive dyes need to set at room temperature to set the colors properly so the hardest part was waiting til the next day to see the results of our creations.  The Tulip instructions say to let set for 6-8 hours before rinsing but recommend up to 24 hours for more vibrant colors.  The rinsing and washing was pretty exciting.  However, after the excess dye is washed out, the colors aren’t near as vibrant as they are when wet.  I must stress to rinse in a sink until the water runs pretty much clear, do NOT wash in the washer until most of the excess dye has been previously rinsed out.  There is a lot of excess dye that doesn't get absorbed into the fabric and if washed before rinsing, a lot of the excess dye will be surging around in the washing machine, to get absorbed in places you don't want it to be.

We had so much fun and wanted more shirts so we planned another tie dye day when all three girls could get together.  On Sat, the 4 of us dyed 3 more shirts each.  Had another fun day, but not without incident….a bottle of dye got knocked off and onto the floor.  But it wiped up with wet paper towels without staining and all was well.  After our dyeing, there were a couple dribbles on the countertop but they cleaned right up by rubbing them with a wet paper towel and a shake of baking soda as a cleanser.  I don’t know how the dye would clean up after it dried but the dye on my fingers has already washed/worn off.  So all is well on that front too.

Enjoy the pictures.

This configuration makes the bulls eye pattern.  Decide where you want the bulls eye located, pinch both layers of fabric and grab it with your fingers.  Hold it up in the air and straighten the fabric as best as you can, section it off and wrap with rubber bands.  Add dye to each section.  On the thicker sections, make sure you saturate the fabric, squirting more dye into the folds, turn over and repeat the colors on the other side.

This method makes a spiral design.  Again decide where you want the spiral located on your shirt, grab both layers of fabric and tightly twist it around, making a circle.  Place rubber bands around the shirt as shown and apply dyes to each 'pie' shape.  Again squirt dye into the folds.   Turn over and repeat the colors on the back side.  Use a clean paper towel to prevent unwanted drips applying themselves to the wrong spots.

These are the dyeing results of the girls' shirts on our 2nd get together.  Look interesting, don't they?

These are the shirts from the group on the right hand side.  I think they're all great!
The kitty thinks so too.

These 3 came from the middle group in the picture above.  Pretty awesome.

These are the shirts we did on our 2nd day.  The double spirals are done by folding a bottom corner of the shirt up to the opposite shoulder seam, then twisting the same as for the single spiral.   The top 3 shirts are results of the first group in the photo above.  And the 2 on the right hand side are double spirals.  The one in the middle was dyed with different colors on the back side. 

These are the shirts from our first dyeing day.....just enough to make us want to do more.

P.S.  Here are a couple links from YouTube to help get you started.

Single spiral:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbjWkiQ5DtI&list=TLkqsBo7zhfZo

Double spiral:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZGwVMs5lBg

Bullseye:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nm0q5654AE