How to Tie and Dye a Shirt.
• Wear gloves to keep your hands dye free.
• Dye outside, on plastic sheet, or shower curtain to keep from staining carpet or flooring.
STEP 1: Make stripes
• Lay your shirt out flat on a table. Roll it from the bottom hem to the neck, so that you end up with a long tube of shirt. Use string or rubber bands to tie loops around the shirt roll.
• If you are interested in creating horizontal strips, roll the shirt from left to right (or vice versa), and tie the strings along this direction.
STEP 2: Set up a work area
o Tie dying, or any fabric dying, is a very messy business. To prevent unwanted dye accidents, set up a table with a plastic covering (like a plastic tablecloth or garbage bags) outside or away from any furniture or carpet.
o Make sure that you have all your supplies gathered with you at your work area, so that you don’t have to run around with gloves on or worry about spilling anything in the process of moving things.
• Consider using a cookie drying rack to elevate your shirt above your workstation, to give you the best access to every angle of it.
• Be sure that you have extra paper towels or old rags handy to wipe up accidental spills.
STEP 3: Soak your shirt
• Many dye packages come with a soda ash solution, which helps the dye to bond with the fabric of your shirt. Dissolve the soda ash solution into a bowl of water, and let your shirt soak for around twenty minutes.
• If your dye did not come with soda ash, you can soak the shirt in lukewarm water. You can also choose to buy soda ash separate from your dye kit at a local craft store.
• Do not use cold or hot water, as they will make the dyes less effective.
• If you don’t want the dyes to spread very far on the shirt, don’t get it wet before adding the colour. Dying a damp shirt helps the colour to travel further, faster. So, if you want your colour to be relatively isolated, dye it while it’s dry.
STEP 4: Prepare your dyes
• Each dye package should come with directions listing specific amounts and proportions of dye to water. If you would rather wing it or don’t have your directions, mix your different dyes in bowls of lukewarm water as you like.
• To create colours that are more pastel or faded, use more water and less dye. To create a bright, vibrant colours, use most of the dye in the package and not so much water.
STEP 5: Dye your shirt
• Keep the dye in the bowls to do a layered dip tie dye, or carefully pour them into spray bottles. To do a dip dye, pick up your shirt and dunk it into the dye in different places. You can soak the whole shirt in a single colour, and then dip the shirt (after ringing the initial colour out) into other bowls of dye. Using a spray bottle to dye your shirt is easy; simply squirt the dye onto the desired area, layering colours if desired.
• If you plan on layering colours, always apply your lightest ones first. Applying a light colour over a dark one will only muddle them.
• If you mix complementary colours - colours opposite each other on the colour wheel - the places they meet will be a brownish hue. These include orange and blue, yellow and purple, and red and green.
• Don’t feel obligated to dye the entire shirt. You can do a few small sections of tie dye and allow the original shirt colour to show through on the rest of the area.
STEP 6: Let the dye set
• Wrap the shirt up in a plastic grocery bag or saran-wrap to keep it moist. Then, set it aside for 4-6 hours so that the dye has time to react with the cloth. Placing the shirt in a warm area will help the dye to cure faster.
STEP 7: Rinse out the dye
• Wearing rubber gloves, take the shirt out of the plastic bag and unwrap any string or rubber bands that you used. Then, rinse it with cold water in your sink to remove any excess dye. Be careful not to splash the water too much to avoid dying your clothes or countertops.
STEP 8: Wash your shirt
• Throw your shirt into your washing machine by itself. Put the wash setting on cold water, and wait for the process to finish. If you want, you can run your wash again with an empty cycle and a bit of soap to get rid of any dye that might have transferred to the inside of the machine.