Here’s what you need to do tie-dye:
- Rubber Bands
- Something to tie-dye
Other helpful but optional items:
- Plastic Grocery Bags
- Plastic table covering
- Preservative (Like vinegar)
Here’s what you do:
1. Take your t-shirt (or whatever you’re tie-dying) and rubber band it according to which pattern you want. See below for the three I know how to do.
2. Soak your t-shirt in preservative (like vinegar). If you don’t have any, just soak it in water.
3. Use the bottled tie-dye (follow package instructions to prepare) to dye your shirt. You will need a lot of dye for your shirt to turn out well – even if every part of the shirt you can see is dyed, the rest of the shirt may not be. This is especially true for the swirl pattern. Any white showing means a lot of white showing when it’s unraveled later. So basically, the more dye the better. You might want to do this over a bucket to prevent spills, and even so, a disposable plastic table covering might help as well. Make sure you have gloves so your hands don’t end up looking like Easter eggs.
4. Place your shirt in a plastic bag to dry, or just leave it out somewhere (perhaps in a bucket) to dry.
5. Wash your shirt. If you have a washing machine available, wash the shirt by itself in cold water. I wouldn’t advise washing whites in the next load. If you don’t have a washing machine available, wash the shirt in a sink until the water runs clear. Don’t take the rubber bands out for this, as it will cause the dye to run to the white parts of your shirt. Leave shirt to dry again.
6. You’re done! You have a happy tie-dyed shirt.
Types of tie-dye:
- Swirl - This one is my personal favorite. It is the classic tie-dye look. To get this effect, lay the t-shirt (or other item) flat. Choose where you want the middle of the swirl to be, and pinch the fabric there. Twist your hand around so the fabric follows in a swirl pattern – don’t lift your hand as you go, and don’t force a pattern. The fabric should do it on its own. You may have to guide the sleeves into place though. Once you have a cinnamon-roll looking t-shirt, rubber band around it, as many times as you want, however you want. Picture below!
- Stripes – Accordion fold your t-shirt, and rubber band where you want each stripe to begin and end.
- Bulls-eyes – Pinch parts of the shirt up and rubber band them, so you have a bunch of rubber-glove-finger-looking-things all around the t-shirt. Wherever you do this, you will get a cool bulls-eye effect. You can also combine this with the swirl effect by swirling the middle and doing this on the outside.