I’ve had some dye and t-shirts in my I-bought-this-to-do-something-but-haven’t-got-all-the-bits-yet-and-then-I-sort-of-forgot pile for a while.  So with three days off work I decided to get my act together and give tie-dyeing a try.

I collected my ‘ingredients’:

  • Two t-shirts (cotton as synthetic fabrics won’t dye)
  • Dye (duh!  I used Dylon)
  • Salt (I used Dylon salt but I have no idea if it’s actually different from regular table salt)
  • A large bucket (big enough for 6 litres of water)
  • A small bowl (big enough for 500ml of water)
  • Big, strong elastic bands
  • Some wooden rulers

The t-shirts need to be washed first, store bought clothes usually have ‘sizing’ on them which is a stupid name for the chemicals they used to keep the clothes clean and pressed in the shop.  It’s a god idea to wash it of before wearing as it can irritate your skin, but it will also stop the dye from penetrating the fabric.

I filled my bucket and bowl with warm water. Following the instructions on the back of the packet I dissolved the dye in 500ml of warm water. That took a bit of stirring in to make sure the powder wasn’t in big lumps at the bottom. I poured 250g of the salt into my big bucket of water, then added the dye and stirred.

I decided to try two different techniques.  For the first I attempted to fold it accordion style (and didn’t make a very neat job) before sandwiching it between two wooded rulers.  The rulers should block the dye and leave larger sections undyed.  I then wrapped elastic bands all the way along as tightly as I could.  Getting the bands all the way along was tricky, and the rulers also meant it didn’t fit in my bucket properly!

New folder.jpg

For the second t-shirt I randomly grabbed little sections front and back and wrapped the elastic bands around.

I submerged them in the dye.  The packet said to stir continuously for 15mins but I got bored after 7mins.  So they were under stirred.

Afterwards I poured the dye down the drain, then rinse them as much as possible in cold water.  I then used scissors to cut the elastic bands of and then rinse them until the water ran clear. They needed a lot of rinsing, and afterwards they need to go into the washing machine by themselves before been worn.

I was quite pleased with how they came out, the elastic bands were more successful than I thought they might be, and the ruler created an interesting effect too.  If I do it again I will think a little more about the placement of the elastic bands.

New folder5