Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I love tie dye. Every year in elementary school my daughter would have field day and we would tie-dye shirts according to the colors of the countries that the teams were representing.

My daughter's team was Italy and another year it was Mexico so the shirts were almost identical. However we did some other shirts that year with beautiful colors.

Here are some instructions to make your own shirts.

Pre-wash and dry the garment. This will remove any impurities and bring it to the correct size. If dying indoors, cut open and lay out a few garbage bags for potential stains. Newspaper can also be used, but is less effective. Wear clothes and old shoes that you don’t mind getting messy.

There are so many different ways to tie off a shirt. Even if you try the same technique, you’ll never get the same design twice. Experiment with the following:

  • Stripes: Gather your shirt up into a tube-like shape. You can twist it for lots of white wrinkles, or leave it as is. Strap rubber bands all the way down the tube. The more rubber bands you add, the more white stripes you will have when finished!
  • Center Circle: For a centered circle on the front of the shirt, first lay the shirt out on a flat surface. Pinch a section right in the middle of the shirt and pull up toward you to make a tee-pee shape. Pull up more of the fabric for a larger circle. Close one hand around the base of the tee-pee and then tie it off with a rubber band. Twist the fabric you’ve sectioned off, and then add rubber bands down the length of it. The more rubber bands, the more circles.
  • Many Small Circles: For lots of small circles, pinch up fabric about 2-3”, insert a large marble (or Styrofoam ball) and tie it off with a thick rubber band or string so that the marble is secure.
  • Sunburst: Tie off a marble as instructed above. Use your pinky to measure about ½ inch behind the last rubber band. Tie off two more sections about a pinky-width apart. Tie another section 1 finger width after the last one, and try the last one at two finger widths.
  • Spiral: For a spiral design, simply pinch up a section in the middle of the shirt and twist it. Continue twisting until you have a spiral. Lay the spiral down on the shirt and curl the rest of the shirt around it like a tight nest. Take two large rubber bands and secure the nest so that it stays put.
Get yourself some Ritz dye or fiber reactive dye. (I prefer Ritz as this is how we did them at school but it looks easier too with the fiber reactive dye.) I will add some You tube videos so you can actually see the process.
Good luck and have fun with color!!!

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