Tie dying is such a fun activity that everyone enjoys, it is great fun for kids, and a great way to personalize t-shirts, scarves, shoes, even sheets! Once your project is complete it is important to take good care of it so that it stays vibrant and colorful. Here are some great tips for getting great tie-dye results and keeping them beautiful!
The best way to tie dye-
First and foremost you want to start with the right supplies! There are several tie-dye kits on the market that are great to start out with. They come with rubber bands, dye and squirt bottles, everything you need to create beautiful creations. If you don’t want to buy a tie dye kit you can purchase what you’ll need indifucually. You’ll need dye- it comes in liquid or dye powder, you can pick and choose what colors you’d like and get as many as you want. You’ll also need rubber bands, and squeeze bottles are a great tool to have too.
Here are some of the best tie-dye kits we’ve found
Choosing the best tie dye project-
Most people start with t-shirts because let’s face it, there is nothing as classic as vibrant, colorful tie-dyed t-shirts! When you are choosing an item to tie dye you want to pay attention to what kind of fabric it is made of. Some fabrics, such as cotton, absorb color really well while others, such as polyester may not dye as easily!
Starting out with a basic white t-shirt is always a good bet, but you may have an older article of clothing you’re wanting to give a makeover and that can work really well! If this is your first time tie dying starting with something simple and white is a good way to go, it will be a great way to learn what techniques work the best and give you a great result!
If you are wanting to be creative with your tie dye project and need some great ideas check out this post with some really great ideas –
Follow the instructions-
With any tie dye kit, or individual dies you will find instructions. Most of the time they have tips for natural fiber or synthetic fiber to help you get the best result. They’ll also have easy step by step instructions to walk you through.
If you’re not using a kit head over here for a great tutorial
You’ll also want to figure out what you want your design to look like and carefully roll your fabric to create the patten you’re looking for. To find some great tutorials for different designs check out this site
Tips for tie-dye project success-
Wear old clothes – You don’t want to get dye on clothes that you wear often so make sure to wear something that won’t be ruined by splashes of dye
Wear gloves– multicolored tie-dye is fun, but multicolored hands arent! Slip on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands from the dye!
Protect your area– It is a great idea to cover your work area with plastic sheeting, a plastic table cloth or drop cloth is a great option. I like to work outside so that there is plenty of room and I don’t have to worry about dye getting on countertops or floors.
Get your supplies together– You’ll want to have your dye colors prepared, your item rolled and rubber-banded, paper towels, a nice flat surface to work on, make sure to have everything in your work space so that you’re ready to go from start to finish!
Use enough dye – Go ahead and saturate your project with dye, it may look darker than your desired result but the excess dye will rinse out later so don’t be shy.
Prep with soda ash– Many tie dye kits come with soda ash to help pretreat your fabric. It helps the fibers of your fabric to absorb the dye. If you haven’t purchased a kit you can get soda ash at most craft stores or on Amazon.
Wait to wash-
The first step to washing your newly tie dyed garment, is to wait! By waiting 24 hours your dye has a chance to set and soak into the fibers really well. I know it is tempting to wash and wear right away but giving it time to set really makes a difference in the longevity of the tie dye!
For the best results keep it wrapped up tight and let it sit a whole day before rinsing.
If you can’t want that length of time to rinse (I know you’re anxious to see your finished project) you can set the dye using the microwave! Just wrap your tie dyed garment in plastic wrap and microwave on high for 1-3 minutes, the heat helps set the dye. You’ll want to keep a close eye on your garment so that it doesn’t burn. Also make sure there are not grommets or zippers that could cause an issue in the microwave!
Time to rinse-
Once you’ve reached the 24 hour mark you’re ready to start the washing process- you’ll want to rinse it with cold water. Some people run it under the cold water in the kitchen sink or bathtub, but you can also spray it with a garden hose! Keep it wrapped up for this part of the process, and be prepared to have to rinse for about 20-30 minutes to get all of the excess dye out, you want the water to run clear to know it is finished. It is a great idea to use rubber gloves for this part so that you don’t end up with colorful hands!
Now take off your rubber bands unroll your t-shirt, wring out excess water and take a good look at how amazing it is!
Set the Dye-
The washing machine and dryer are the next step to set the dye in your tie dyed t-shirt or garment.
The first time you wash it you’ll want to wash it by itself .If you have several to do it would be worth it to do them in multiple loads. You don’t want them shedding their excess dye onto each other.
Hot water will set the dye, so set your washer on the hot setting, add regular laundry detergent and run it through a wash cycle. Some people recommend adding ½ a cup of salt and 1 cup of white vinegar to the first wash instead of detergent. Others recomend Synthrapol Sp detergent
(only for top loader washers) it is designed to help pull out extra dye .
If you have tie-dyed a material that will shrink in hot water then follow the washing instructions of that garment. Without being able to wash it in hot water and dry with high heat to set the dye it may leach dye for the first several washes to make sure to wash it on it’s own for awhile!
Once you’ve washed your t-shirt in hot water, put it in the dryer (again only with the other tie dyed items) and dry on high heat until fully dry.
There is no guarantee that one wash will get all of the excess dye out of your t-shirt so make sure to wash it with dark colors or other tie dyed garments the first several washes! Alternately you can wash it by itself for the next few washes, watch the rinse water and see if it is clear to tell if all of the excess dye is gone.
Keeping your tie dyed t-shirt vibrant-
After you’ve done everything possible to make sure your tie dye comes out beautifully you’ll want to keep it that way! Thankfully there are easy ways to preserve the pretty pattern, prevent bleeding, and prevent fading!
#1- Wash on the gentle cycle– You want to treat your tie-dyed shirt gently, wash it on the gentle cycle and avoid washing it with heavy items like jeans, the friction can cause fading.
#2- Turn it inside out– Turning your garment inside out helps protect the dye on the out side of the shirt from fading.
#3- Wash with cold water– Washing with cold water helps prevent bleeding of colors so to keep the colors vibrant and the white parts white you’ll want to wash in cold water.
#4- Air Dry if Possible– Air drying is the gentlest way to dry your tie dyed garment, it is best to hang them indoors and allow to dry. If you would rather use the dryer use the low or medium setting.
#5- Use a color safe detergent– There are great detergents like Woolite that are designed to preserve colors, using one instead of your regular detergent will help keep your tie dye bright and vibrant!
#6-Move from washer to dryer quickly– No matter if you are air drying or using the dryer you want to get your tie dye out of the washer and drying soon after it finishes washing. If it sits in the washer wet there is time for any excess color to bleed and transfer so get it out soon after the cycle ends.
#4- Be careful what you wash it with– After you are sure that your tie dye is no longer bleeding any color you can wash it with the rest of the laundry for all future washes . Make sure to wash it with like colors, in cold water, and with other soft fabrics and use fabric softner.
#5 Treating Stains – If your tie dye gets stained you’ll want to treat it right away. Use color safe stain treatment, don’t leave it longer than recommended and avoid bleach. After your shirt comes out of the wash hang it to dry to make sure the stain is gone. Drying with heat will set stains so don’t dry in the dryer until you are sure the stain is gone!
Like all clothing your tie dye will eventually fade but by following these tips it should have a long, colorful and vibrant life! Hopefully your project turns out beautifully and you can enjoy your new tie dye shirt for a long time!