Tie Dye Technique

Written by mary ylisela Google
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Tie Dye Technique
Tie dye crafts are enjoyed by children and adults alike. (tie dyed green image by Steve Mann from Fotolia.com)

Tie dye crafts, particularly making tie dye shirts, is a fabric craft that's enjoyed in homes, classrooms and children's camps around the country. The simple technique of tie dye lets children create a unique shirt or craft with the use of basic supplies and simple steps. Tie dye is a fun extra-curricular activity that offers educational benefits as it helps children learn how and why to use sequential order.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Large buckets
  • Fabric dye colours
  • Table salt
  • Spray bottles
  • Cotton T-shirts
  • Coins
  • Rubber bands
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic bag
  • White vinegar

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  1. 1

    Mix two colours of fabric dye in large buckets, following the directions on the fabric dye packaging. You may mix more than two colours if you choose.

  2. 2

    Pour 1 cup table salt into each bucket, and stir the salt into the fabric dye solution. The salt preserves the fabric dye colour once it's on the shirt.

  3. 3

    Pour each fabric dye solution into its own spray bottle.

    Tie Dye Technique
    Spray bottles give you more control over where the colours will go. (yellow spray bottle image by Igor Negovelov from Fotolia.com)
  4. 4

    Place a shirt on a flat surface, and put a coin underneath the cotton shirt. Hold on to the coin from the top of the shirt, and then twist the shirt so the coin is stuck in the top of the twisted portion of the shirt. Repeat with as many coins as desired.

    Tie Dye Technique
    Use coins to create a unique design in your tie dyed fabric. (coins image by Oleg Mitiukhin from Fotolia.com)
  5. 5

    Wrap a rubber band around the twisted fabric so the coin stays in place and the fabric remains twisted. Repeat this step for each coin twisted into the shirt.

    Tie Dye Technique
    Rubber bands secure the tie dye pattern until it's set. (Messy Rubber Bands image by MrGreenBug from Fotolia.com)
  6. 6

    Protect the skin on your hands from fabric dye by wearing rubber gloves.

  7. 7

    Spray a chosen area of the shirt thoroughly so the shirt is saturated by the fabric dye when you finish. Cover the entire shirt on both sides with the spray fabric dye. You can alternate between colours.

  8. 8

    Put the finished cotton shirt in a plastic storage bag, leaving the coins and rubber bands in place. Let the shirt sit in the storage bag for 24 hours.

  9. 9

    Take the tie dye shirt out of the plastic bag, and rinse it with cold water until the water runs clear.

  10. 10

    Unwind the rubber bands and remove them, along with the coins. Rinse the shirt in the areas where the rubber bands were removed.

  11. 11

    Pour 1 cup white vinegar into a bucket, and fill the rest of the bucket with cold water. Soak the tie-dyed shirt in the diluted vinegar for one hour to help set the colours.

  12. 12

    Wash the shirt in a washing machine using cold water and washing powder. Hang dry to prevent shrinkage.

Tips and warnings

  • Spray bottles give you control over where and how much colour is applied versus dunking the shirt in a bucket of fabric dye.
  • Fabric dye that is spilt can stain clothing and fingers. Wash as quickly as possible. Stained fingers or skin will be clean within a few days.

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