An evening of tie-dying shirts or other articles of clothing can be a fun way to spend time with friends and family. Making simple swirl patterns is easy and can be done without any special folding, but the star or "Mandala" pattern requires a series of specific folds to pull off correctly.
Purchase a container of soda ash and add it to a bucket full of water or use the soda ash that comes with a tie-dying kit, if you are using one (see Resources below). Place the shirt that you want to dye in the solution and allow it to soak for the amount of time indicated either in the kit you are using or on the back of the soda ash solution bottle.
Put on a pair of gloves and unfold the shirt completely on a flat surface such as a table. Fold the entire shirt in half lengthwise so that one sleeve is laying directly over the other.
Fold the shirt in half again, bringing the bottom up to the collar, so that when you are finished you have a small square with the sleeves sticking out. Fold the sleeves underneath the rest of the shirt so that there is only a square shape remaining.
Grab one end of the square and fold it forward so that it is laying about a third of the way across the shirt. Grab the opposite end and repeat the fold in the opposite direction so that you have a triangle shape that is shorter on the bottom side and should look similar to a paper aeroplane. Wrap three or four rubber bands around the shirt a few inches apart to bunch up the shirt and help prevent the dye from bleeding through to other layers.
Squirt the dye you want for the star just along the outer folded edges that are showing. Move the rubber bands up and down slightly and squirt underneath them to ensure that the lines of the star are unbroken. Choose another colour that will bleed into the original without clashing--you might use yellow if your star is blue, for example--and add any other patterns you want around or outside the star. Follow the instructions that came with the dye to determine how long to leave the dye in the shirt.
Complete the shirt by washing it under cold running water or in the washing machine.
The star pattern will be much easier to make and have less tendency to spread out if you use a shirt made of a thin material and add a thickening agent to your dyes, such as sodium alginate (see Resources below). Put 2 teaspoons of sodium alginate into the squirt bottle that contains the dye and mix it thoroughly.